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You Are Forgiven, Installation in Cherry Creek, Denver, 3 digital prints on billboards, approximately 3’ x 8’  2006

Stories and images of saloon girls and rakish cowboys, stalwart women and gold-digger towns with  get-rich quick schemes, coupled with sweeping mountain vistas and the rugged pioneer spirit, have been not only represented over and over as a part of the popular mythology of the American West, but also canonized as heroic fact in the Hollywood genre of western films. The installation/digital series You Are Forgiven uses still images taken from three iconic western films of the 1960’s: John Huston’s The Unforgiven, John Ford’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence, and Elliot Silverstein’s Cat Ballou  to explore these mythologies and stereotypes.

Excerpts from the three films have been chosen for their stereotypical viewpoints of women and of the environment. Using images of three film heroines, as portrayed by Audrey Hepburn, Vera Miles and Jane Fonda, You Are Forgiven reconfigures and simplifies the typical western narrative--set, of course, in spectacular western landscapes--thus prompting viewers to examine how the  themes and myths represented endure in contemporary western life.

This work was commissioned for the outdoor exhibition “Confluence,” sponsored by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, situated at the historic confluence of the Platte and Cherry Creek rivers on which the City of Denver was founded.