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Blood of the Iron Horse

36"x44"
collage--postage stamps, paint, varnish
8/91
$1,700

(see Artist's Statement below)

Blood of the Iron Horse
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View 2

Artist's Statement

The concept for Blood of the Iron Horse came about after I placed a Buffalo Bill stamp next to a Red Cloud stamp on several letters. I was struck by the irony of our government's simultaneous commemoration of a man who epitomized the Manifest Destiny doctrine and a man who was a leader of the victims of that doctrine. I decided to use those stamps along with stamps representing various vehicles of westward expansion, to depict a dying Bison-another victim of the Manifest Destiny doctrine.

The belief that we have a right to that which we can conquer is deep-rooted. It is often couched in terms of religion, economics, progress, or nationalism, but ultimately it is greed. It is an attitude that, throughout history, has been applied to land, animals, and people.

An analogous belief is that growth equals progress. A frequently heard variation, usually applied to business, is "grow or die". Those who espouse these beliefs tend to view growth with a narrow field of vision. It is rare that growth or change has only positive consequences. Those who stand to benefit from the change may present only the positive side, but as a society we must take a broader point of view.


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