I’ve been too busy too long, but I have accomplished one thing the last few weeks: with another artist, Kerry Corcoran, I submitted a proposal for an exhibit at a local public space. I got the idea when I realized that Kerry and I found the same subjects appealing: trees, especially bare ones. But we work in such different media—printmaking and photography—that the show becomes as interesting for the contrast of approach as for the intrinsic interest of the subject. Following are images from the abbreviated application (some of mine may look familiar from my Cottonwood series); the actual show (if accepted) would have about twice as many. For the moment, we’re calling it In Praise of Trees.
Here’s the statement we put together:
Trees matter. They root deeply in the earth and reach their limbs to the sky and move with the wind. They link branches with their neighbors or stand alone. They have histories and personalities, proclivities and idiosyncracies. In short, trees possess character. There’s something there you can get to know and perhaps love. Doesn’t everyone have a favorite tree?
This exhibit presents some trees we care about, ones we know well and revisit in imagination and in the world. We make them ours by making them art. The two of us work in different media: printmaking and photography. We use gestures of the hand or technical controls; build up elements into a personal representation, or leave elements outside of the captured frame; complement with subjective colors or remove objective color. Despite these different approaches, we recognize a common interest, a shared appreciation and understanding of trees. For both of us, trees matter. And for you?
The question is whether this combination amounts to anything more than the sum of its parts. Do these pictures talk to each other, or past each other? What does it take to make a show like this work?