Join us for a conversation with Kenzie Sitterud about their exhibition of new work, From, Dawn.
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.