The experience, earlier this year, of wrapping large paintings around live trees was so personally and artistically exciting that I applied to the Center on Contemporary Art’s annual Heaven and Earth outdoor exhibit. I was very surprised, since I have almost no cred as an installation artist, to be accepted. Here is my proposal sketch:
I plan to wrap trees with a variety of materials that suggest what trees could become:
- wood chips, for trees used in landscaping
- invasive species, one of the many threats to biodiversity
- wood veneer, to stand for all the lumber used in construction, furniture etc.
- kraft paper, corrugated cardboard, for the wood used in paper products of all kinds
- fire-scarring, for those trees lost to humans and other species through fire. (I’m having a 6′ x 30″ banner made from a section of Burned at the Base for this)
- artificial grass, for all the forest lost to agriculture and development
- layers of workgloves, to commend all the volunteers who protect and care for trees and forests
One colleague noted that it was a new direction for me. While I grant it’s a new kind of medium — public art, exterior installation, sculptural — it’s such a direct outgrowth of all my burned forest paintings that it feels both strange — no permanent artifact — and completely familiar.