Felice House, Liakesha Cooper in High Noon, 2013. Oil on canvas.

When imagining the Wild West, you’d think of boots and spurs, bars with sawdust covered floors, and dusty shootouts between cowboys? Right? Well think again.

Leeds College of Art kicks off a new year of exhibitions with a selection of works by American artist Felice House; featuring paintings of famous western actors such as Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, Gary Cooper and James Dean, reimagined as female cowboys.

Re/Western features seven large-scale portraits taken from iconic scenes from the western genre, but with the leading characters repainted as women. By projecting contemporary women into these heroic roles, House asks us to take a critical view of gender stereotypes and the access of women to power.

An accomplished figurative painter, Felice “strives, through her portraits of women, to provide a counterpoint to the passive representations found in art historical tradition. Her subjects are beautiful and observable, but they are not consumable.”

Felice comes from a long line of artists. Her grandmother is an award-winning Vermont weaver, her mother is a painter and her father has worked in computer graphics since its inception. When she walked into her first oil painting class at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 1998, holding a box of her mother’s old paints, she “felt like she had come home. She knew just what to do.”

Re/Western: Felice House takes place between 20 January and 24 March 2017 at Blenheim Walk Gallery, and is curated by Sharon Bainbridge with Joanna Craddock and Catriona McAra. A selection of the works below will be featured as part of the exhibition. For more details, visit leeds-art.ac.uk.

Via Creative Boom submissions | All images courtesy of the artist

Felice House, Karan and Nanc in Open Range, 2015. Oil on canvas.

Felice House, Karan and Nanc in Open Range, 2015. Oil on canvas.

Felice House, Rebekah Wayne in True Grit, 2015. Oil on canvas.

Felice House, Rebekah Wayne in True Grit, 2015. Oil on canvas.

Felice House, Stasha Dean in Giant, 2013. Oil on canvas.

Felice House, Stasha Dean in Giant, 2013. Oil on canvas.

Felice House, Virginia Eastwood in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, 2013. Oil on canvas.

Felice House, Virginia Eastwood in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, 2013. Oil on canvas.

Felice House, Liakesha Dean, Giant

Felice House, Liakesha Dean, Giant

Felice House, Julia Dean, Giant

Felice House, Julia Dean, Giant

Felice House, Krimmie Crowe, 310 Yuma

Felice House, Krimmie Crowe, 310 Yuma

Felice House, Krimmie Wayne, Searchers

Felice House, Krimmie Wayne, Searchers

Felice House, Virginia Wayne, Portrait

Felice House, Virginia Wayne, Portrait

Felice House, Julia Dean, Portrait

Felice House, Julia Dean, Portrait

Felice House, Liakesha Wayne, Portrait

Felice House, Liakesha Wayne, Portrait

Felice House, Virginia Banderas

Felice House, Virginia Banderas

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Author: Laura Collinson

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