Label Text: To create this painting, artist Jerry Kearns borrowed, or appropriated, two very different images—one from the world of comic book art and the other an influential American painting.
In 1875, Thomas Moran’s painting, The Mountain of the Holy Cross, embodied a powerful political idea in post-Civil War America. Popular opinion held that the Hand of God had marked Colorado’s Mountain of the Holy Cross as a sign Americans should explore and populate the Western territories.
Kearns often uses art to make political statements. Here, he outlines armed figures moving through a mountain landscape using the familiar visual shorthand style of the comic book. He superimposes the figures on an iconic symbol of Manifest Destiny, which was a 19th century view of the United States as a divinely favored nation with a mission to spread its institutions and values. Kearns adds another layer to his commentary by titling this painting Right of Way.