Horizongrabber (11. p.m., 2.05 a.m., 5.10 a.m., 
12.45 p.m., 5. p.m.)
48 x 426 in 
Watercolor on paper mounted on dibond

This 35 ½ foot-long landscape, comprised of five panels, presents a series of vignettes which the artist created by collaging together elements found in Ford Motor Company car advertisements spanning from the 1920s to the present. Dean has spent the last several years researching in the Ford archives and creating works that explore systems and effects of mass production as well as visual and ideological tropes of the company’s advertising. The work presents a sprawling environment, dominated by an endless stretch of highway, anchoring an ideology of landscape as an extension of Manifest Destiny and a product of the corporation’s exclusionary pitch to white, middle-class Americans. Dean’s compositional process begins by recombining visual elements from original Ford ads; by removing the shining cars and models, and recasting domesticated animals as wild, she transforms the previously idealized landscapes into hauntingly desolate, post-apocalyptic ones suggesting that humans have eradicated themselves. Details in the work’s foreground include artifacts from Christian, Igbo, and Native American burial customs, as well as technological detritus, disrupting any potential nostalgia one might associate with the idyllic landscapes. These elements serve as powerful indications of the human and environmental toll connected with the “American Dream,” which is often linked to the expansive vistas in the source materials. The painting’s horizontality recalls the assembly line used in car production. As viewers traverse the work from left to right, their movement echoes that of assembling a product, suggesting how advertising can function as a technology for organizing the collective imagination. 

Sources: Lincoln-Zephyr V-12, 1940; Ford Sportsman’s Convertible, 1946; Frazer Manhattan, 1950; Ford Edsel, 1957; Ford Thunderbird, 1959; Ford Mercury Marauder, 1964: Ford Thunderbird Hardtop / Thunder Jet V-8, 1968; Ford XL Fastback, 1968; Ford Maverick, 1970; Capri Sport Coupe, 1973; Ford Thunderbird, 1973; Ford Fairmont Futura, 1978; Ford LTD, 1983; Ford Kuga MK2, 2014; Ford EcoSport, 2018; Ford Bronco, 2021; Ford Endeavour, 2022

Included in exhibition:Horizongrabber, 47 Canal

11. p.m.

2.05 a.m.

5.10 a.m.

12.45 p.m.

5. p.m.
Image courtesy of the artist and 47 Canal, New York 
Photo: Joerg Lohse