San Francisco

Susan Felter

Camerawork Gallery

In photographs made at western rodeos, Susan Felter displays a sure instinct for the mythic and erotic overtones of this American ritual. She photographs surface illusion, straight-faced macho cowboys in pink satin shirts and two toned leather chaps, and the kinetic colors and shapes of bronco riding. Her vision is in harmony with both the cowboys, who desire to project a ruggedly virile image, and the rodeo entrepreneurs, who fabricate spectacles.

The photographs are divided almost evenly between portraits, some of them posed, others frozen with strobe in mid-action, and movement studies, abstract in their use of form, but objective enough to allow for coherent reading. The portraits can almost be viewed as parodies of tobacco advertisements, the Marlboro man stripped of his ubiquitous cigarette. Felter’s sitters are archetypal, direct and often ironically situated against luminous night

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