American made steel cars and wild horses share a common fate: both are rapidly disappearing from the vista of the west. Just as native lands are usurped, plowed under and paved over; these symbols of the freedom of the open road and independent thought are restrained, remade and reborn into a new shadow of their former selves. The identities of indigenous chiefs and tribes and animals become the brand names of popular vehicles: Pontiac, Cherokee, and the Mustang. Sponsorships and cross-promotions are piled on top of these names creating a complex layering of ‘ownership’. The original identity is lost in the avalanche of manufactured cultural overlay.
The prominent placement of the battered corporate icon from a collection of 1950’s car parts is intentional. While cars built in the heyday of automotive excellence rust and pass into memory like the untamed ponies of old, the industrial pictographs carry on like hieroglyphs for some future generation to decipher. Imagine if every person or place were interpreted solely by brand names rather than the original character underneath. It is my fear that one day we may only see a vision of a truly wild America through the filter of company owned game reserves—places where nature fully is imprisoned by the synthetic. But this horse fights that subjugation. Woven into the muscular metal forms are shiny strips of reflective chrome, to remind the viewer that these emblems of freedom of the past--of the possibilities for adventure and optimism are available within themselves--independent of marketed “civilization”. It is my hope that the spirit of independence represented by this sculpture of steel and paint can inspire the town of Crested Butte to remain true to its nature in the face of external pressures.