FROM, DAWN. – an exhibition of new work by Kenzie Sitterud

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A key critical component of Sitterud’s work is an uncompromising, yet playful interrogation of authentic individual identity, navigating within the established structures and pervasive tropes of traditional American Western culture. Sitterud deconstructs identity, illuminating both the internal and external conflicts that arise when one is expected to operate within an iconic culture that can be both dismissive and disparaging toward those who do not conform to its romanticized, albeit restrictive, ideology. 

Guest attendees to the opening reception are encouraged to don their favorite Western attire, and be sure to bring plenty of single dollar bills so they can tip local Go-go Dancer, Connie Love, who will be performing several times throughout the evening.

An artist talk with a live music performance by Sitterud will also take place at some point during the run of the exhibition. Specific details will follow. 

Read Debra Thimmesch‘s article on ff2media here

OPENING RECEPTION: Saturday, August 5th, 2023 7pm – 11pm.

ONGOING EXHIBITION: Saturday, August 5th, through Saturday, September 16th, 2023. All Leon exhibitions are FREE and open to the public.


Wednesday – Friday 10am – 6pm

Saturday – Sunday 12pm-5pm

Artist Statement:

From, Dawn is inspired by both Walter Benjamin’s theory of mechanical reproduction and my own historical narrative of the land into which I grew up on – Capitol Reef Desert in Emery County, Utah, the ancestral lands of the Timpanogos, and Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute) Nations. It is a unique landscape; the type of land that draws the attention of the parallels of time, trauma, existence, and perspectives and has led me to find myself fixated on the American West, specifically the Western Cowboy boot, an American symbol of heroism with a surprising and hidden history of queerness. 

From, Dawn consists of large scale paintings of deconstructed cowboy boots using flat plains of color suggested by Josef Albers color theory. This show includes a collection of minimalist oil landscape paintings, performance video art, and a series of cast ceramic cowboy boots as an installation. Through the replication of the cowboy boot, the work considers the juxtaposition of the binary through color association of the effeminate displayed on the masculine icon of the American west, the cowboy boot.

The pink painted ceramic boots are replicas of my grandfather’s last pair of black leather church boots. His identity was formed by watching American cowboy movies, and internalizing the ideals of hard work, individual freedom and masculinity which he held onto until his very last breath. He grew up on the farm and he died there –  pursuing the American dream. As a child, I soaked up this hyper masculinity, while at the same time, was bombarded with images of the women in my family taking on the quintessential role of the woman in the kitchen. This was a perpetuated narrative that neither fit nor was accepting of my queer identity and expression. Yet, I am still nostalgic for the Utah desert.

Artist Bio: 

Kenzie Sitterud, Born in Cleveland Utah in 1986, currently works and resides in Denver, CO. Sitterud is a multimedia artist who works primarily in large-scale installation, commercial art, and public art environments. Sitterud’s installations are designed to create the same dysphoric environment experienced by the queer community who exist in a society that is not designed for and is not inclusive of them.  This body of work contains The Bathroom, The Kitchen Table, The Wardrobe, The Powder Room and The Bedroom. 

Kenzie’s work has been featured at the Denver Art Museum, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Meow Wolf Denver, Breck Create, Platteforum, and various galleries around the art districts of Denver. Sitterud was an Artist-in-Residence at RedLine Contemporary Art Center from 2017-2019. While at Redline, they were a Colorado Creative Industries and NEAA recipient for the 2017 Career Advancement Grant. Sitterud received a 2019 P.S. You are Here Grant through Denver Arts & Venues to complete a commissioned public project for Design Workshop Foundation.