My intention with this work was to create
a place for contemplation, spiritual reflection — a place where one can re-connect
the earth and sky. I want visitors
to feel a sense of relationship with the earth, to smell the soil and feel
the atmosphere, the light. Ideally, it should be experienced in solitude.
I have nurtured these infant trees from seeds for this project and have been
documenting their growth. Tending them has been unexpectedly
profound and delightfully inspirational. As I wander the California landscape,
I have chosen special places to transplant these trees and continue following
The sky has been a continual source of inspiration for me, usually entering my
work in abstract, sometimes geometric form. This more representational work is
a departure from abstraction for me and an approach which now seems appropriately
direct and communicative. My hope is for the viewer to have a personal and visceral
sensory experience and allow their responses to come to a keen, intuitive awareness
rather than laboring to take away an intellectual understanding.
Of course, the work takes on multiple levels of significance as contemplation
enters into the process of art-making.
Many complex environmental issues persist and have required consideration as
I have worked on this project.
This show opens with fires burning in Topanga, Malibu and Laguna on some of the
very locations I intend for these trees. The irony is inescapable. I am reminded
yet again of the mysterious cycles of life from which we, in our urban lives,
are so removed. The ashes that have drifted from the sky have nourished these
trees with fresh minerals in my backyard and have already begun a new natural
order. They are recycling. They will return. I reflect on the pine forest humus
in which they are planted, it’s complex history and its chaotic future.
Another piece of the puzzle. I water the trees from my hose which I know has
harmful salts and additives which the trees will try to choke back and adapt
to. Am I killing them or feeding them? I feel the conflict between holding the
trees captive and nuturing them into freedom. Our skies, the atmosphere, gets
ignored, taken for granted and yet it, too, is fragile, chaotic and critical
to all life’s existence.
The Tree Book, a one-of-a-kind handmade book, is
my way of recording my day-to-day
existence, the surprises and the awe I have for the process and the miracle.
I have taken
hundreds of photographs and will continue to do so as a way of keeping in touch.
This book is a sampling of the trees and a sort of artistic nurturing with hand-painted
and white photographs.
“ So rests the sky against the earth.”