Tuesday, 9 November 2010
Work from The Thin Gray Line.
“The Gray Line, Kristine Potter’s first solo exhibition at Daniel Cooney Fine Art, culls from images made during the last four years as she has been mining her complex feelings toward the military, a subject which she has long, familial connection. For many generations most of the men in her family earned their living and defined their purpose as military officers. Growing up in this military culture, Potter’s childhood was saturated with orderliness, hierarchy, patriotism and a certain knowledge of “the enemy”. Being a child (and adult) interested in nuance, culture, progressive ideas and non-conformity, she was often at odds with the governing forces in her life. She says of her childhood, “True respect aside, I struggled to understand war and how one could take command to engage… I wanted to understand the organization of violence and power, and I yearned to humanize the tough exteriors of these men against all of the anxieties I felt when thinking of their jobs and of their structure.”
Despite the long line of military men in Potter’s family, her generation has declined to enroll, ending the long lineage.
Continuing her interest in large format portraiture, Kristine has garnered access to West Point Military Academy, an Academy that has trained a number of men in her family and has produced a greater number of high-ranking officers and politicians than any other U.S. military academy. She uses a view camera to produce images of cadets that explore ideas about masculinity, expectation, allegiance, sexuality, vulnerability and death, catching them before they are fully formed soldiers and officers. While traditional portraiture of soldiers serves to show their achievements, excellence and their sense of duty, Potter’s images describe the complicated psychologies under their developing personas. She extracts something uniquely emotional about each cadet while also imposing upon the images certain reservations and attractions she has about soldiers in training. The resulting images balance between the languages of the documentary and of the staged with an effect that provides a compelling counterweight to live-feed coverage of our wars and of traditional military portraiture.” – WIPNYC.