Canals Bring Ownership
graphite, oil stick, and encaustic / wood
Using two utopian communities, the Shakers and the Zoar Separatists, as examples of lived strongly ordered societies, these drawings play with the impact of the growth of the country on these small villages. The Ohio & Erie Canal brought great wealth to the Zoar Separatists, allowing them to pay off their debt but making them an exotic tourist destination. The railroad allowed Shakers access to clear finishes on their woodwork, freeing them from their dependence on colorful milk paints - the very finishes that are coveted by collectors.
Two romanticized peoples, the Zoarites and Shakers respectively chose to dissolve and were greatly diminished because of their inability to keep pace with an industrialized country, yet their aesthetics still today offer the fantasy of romantic insularity from change and ultimately death.