chicago

Kirsten Stoltmann

1R Gallery

A certain fantasy of the American Southwest as barren, inhospitable, timeless, stony, and impassive—Mars with sagebrush—has long held a grip on the American imagination. Kirsten Stoltmann, who lived in the Midwest before her recent relocation to California, assesses and reinforces this mythography with the fascination of an outsider. For her video projection Renegade (all works 2003), Stoltmann literally embedded herself in the denuded landscape, using a hidden armature that suspended her horizontally between, say, two outcroppings or two boulders. In a series of extended, meditative not-quite-vignettes, she appears amid the desolate scrub as simply another feature of the landscape. Both of and not of her surroundings, Stoltmann appears to hover or levitate and occasionally, as the camera leisurely pans in or out, slowly raises an arm as if in a trance. This near rigor mortis functions as

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