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The country landscape is a time-honored tradition in both painting and photography. Bucolic scenes of rolling hills beckon the rural artist. But what of the urban landscape artist? In Kristin Holcomb’s new photographic series Boundaries, the photographer explores the urban environment where the landscape is often defined by walls, fences, corrugated metal, even barbed or razor wire creating both physical and visual limits that serve as barricades – literally boundaries. We’re not only prevented from crossing into our neighbor’s spaces we aren’t even allowed to see into their yards.
Holcomb grew up in the country where neighbors built precarious footbridges across streams to make their route to each other’s yards more direct. They trimmed the trees to wave to each other from their kitchen sinks. In the city, and even the suburbs, we wall ourselves in; barricade ourselves from our neighbors.
Why do we build these barriers? Are we afraid? Does “the other” make us fear for our lives? Or do we fear for our possessions; our things? Or, are we simply looking for privacy in an ever more crowded environment?
During the last century the West has experienced dramatic transformations. The era of private ranches has all but disappeared as corporate conglomerates have swallowed them up. As a result, the cowboy life has undergone a great metamorphosis.
In the summer of 2015, Bruce Cohen had the opportunity to visit two of the remaining privately-owned ranches in New Mexico. He spent time speaking with the owners, the cowboys and their families, witnessing firsthand their uncanny strength and the simplicity of their lifestyles. Cohen says, “I fell in love with the cowboy experience: the horses and the cattle.”
Cohen photographed his interaction with the cowboys, using his images to create an extension of their story. This exhibition is a tiny sampling of an extensive body of work he calls Cowboy Dreams: A View of the Old West through East Coast Eyes.