P.P.O.W will present an installation of new paintings by Dotty Attie, which will be our ninth solo exhibtion with the artist. Since the 1970s, Attie’s multi-panel compositions have explored gender identity, politics, and culture through the re-imaging of well-known paintings and photography. This new group of paintings, based on an assortment of found photographs, are rendered in her signature palette of black, white, and grey highlighted with touches of flesh tones. In this series Attie turns her attention to the iconic actions of the popular heroic figure The Lone Ranger. In an attempt to un-mask this legendary American folk icon, Attie presents a host of images which suggest an alternate reality to the constructed version we are so accustomed to through television and film. With her recombinative process Attie makes power visible through the use of subtly subversive paintings and carefully composed text.
Lined up horizontally on the wall, these sequences of canvases create sentence-like structures reminiscent of scenes from a film. Each one portrays an image pertaining to The Lone Ranger and our expectations of his success. In the work “Masked Men” Attie paints portraits of a series of male figures – including baseball catchers, hockey players, batman, soldiers, and deep sea divers – all wearing an appropriate mask. The accompanying text tiles reveal: “Many tried to emulate the masked man’s success, but few were able to capture the public imagination.” Looking at the viewer, these masked men appear both ominous and ridiculous.
In other works, Attie continues to delve into the American radio show culture and early televison as another work states, “The Lone Ranger was always to be found wherever assistance was needed.” Attie accumulates images of violence: electric chairs, shootings, crashes, and other portentious scenarios documenting American history through photography and film noir. Again, Attie’s benign texts are juxtaposed with the violent and erotic images provided by a cultural heritage producing a seductive but disturbing experience.