Clear-cutting the American Mind: Wilderness, Survival, and the Desolation of the Axe

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In researching the history of wilderness in America I explored the idea that as Americans, our cultural attitude towards our natural environment has been shaped and influenced by the mindsets and actions of the pioneers and frontiersmen who came before us. I argue that their fearful and destructive stance towards uncultivated land is still imbued in the minds of many Americans who claim to be outdoors enthusiasts and yet deny climate change and support politicians who are actively campaigning against the protection and preservation of our environment. Through the creation of several sculptural works, as well as personal forays into "wilderness,” I attempt to understand and overcome the destructive masculine tendencies of my country’s frontier forefathers. Only through a changing of mindsets and an acceptance of co-existence can we accept and understand our place within the interconnected mesh of all living things.