Edie Winograde : Place and Time
Jun 20 – Aug 1, 2009
Robischon Gallery presents its first solo exhibition of Edie Winograde's ongoing photographic series entitled "Place and Time: Reenactment Pageant." The New York and Denver-based artist has been photographing historical re-enactment dramas throughout the United States for nearly ten years. Using events such as Custer's Last Stand, skirmishes between the British and American colonists or a retracing of the expeditionary route of Lewis and Clark, reenactment participants act out specific past events incorporating exacting standards of authenticity. Part theatrical entertainment and part education, the dramas also allow for a reconsideration or reclaiming of the mythological West of our collective memory. The dramas are deeply rooted within the history of the territory that encompassed the expanse of Manifest Destiny – sometimes even taking place at the actual sites where epic incidents unfolded. By using long distance views and long-exposure techniques, Winograde allows for an overarching view of the action.
At first glance, each re-enactment photograph seems to resemble a stereotypical movie still of the romanticized West. But further examination reveals out-of-place pick-up trucks and recreational vehicles and even a questionably-painted stage set depicting a landscape placed within the vast actual landscape. The photographs documenting the replayed events expose layered complexities of history that were once only publically characterized in narrow prescribed ways. Considering two Custer's Last Stand reenactments, the one portrayed from the soldier's perspective differs in spirit from the same event's reenactment by the Crow Indians – even though the ending of the actual event is not in dispute. In reality, the Crow, as enemies of the Sioux people, were actually known to be on Custer's side of the engagement, yet the pageantry overshadows historical discrepancies – even within the participants own strict adherence to authenticity. The land itself colors the dimension of the drama unfolding on reservation territory when at the conclusion of the Native American-sponsored reenactment, the audience is invited to take a symbolic dip in the river. The site that had just been the scene of a heated, mock battle commemorating a seminal American event is transformed into a place of healing. Seen through the photographer's lens, the heroic spectacles readily allow for a contemporary examination of one-sided, outdated or conflicting assessments of American history.
Edie Winograde received her M.F.A. from New York's School of Visual Arts. She has exhibited at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum; the Seattle Art Museum, Colorado Springs Fine Art Center, San Diego Museum of Art and the International Center of Photography, New York, along with showing in numerous other solo and group exhibitions both nationally and internationally.