tree rings

So it all began with a trip to the Guggenheim. I was on a glorious solo trip to NYC (I walk miles and miles! I saw art! I saw HAMILTON!) The exhibition was Visionaries: Creating a Modern Guggenheim and it was an incredible array of work that inspired and made me smile. Now, I’ve created a series of works over the last year or two using tree rings as a template for tape drawings. I am drawn to the tree rings form because, well, they’re beautiful, but also they appeal to the reader in me, the lover of stories. So I was delighted - thrilled - to come across the Brancusi sculpture ‘Adam and Eve’ , in which a perfect tree rings pattern is revealed in the wood. I photographed it and that pattern is what I used as my template for this piece, ‘origins / tree of life’.

I am fascinated by origin stories, but I am not a religious person and I believe in evolution, not creationism. But of course the title of the piece refers to origins, which got me looking through my copy of Darwin’s ‘On the Origin of Species’ for reference to trees. Did you know that the only illustration in the book is that of a ‘tree of life’?! Synchronicity like this is the kind of shit that THRILLS me. From the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History web site:

Darwin sketched a tree of life to illustrate his idea of descent with modification. It is the only illustration in On the Origin of the Species.

“The affinities of all the beings of the same class have sometimes been represented by a great tree. I believe this simile largely speaks the truth. The green and budding twigs may represent existing species; and those produced during each former year may represent the long succession of extinct species.” -On the Origin of Species

Here are some images of the source of inspiration for the piece, along with some detail shots and in-progress / in-studio pics.....

origins / tree of life

clockwise from top left: Brancusi’s ‘Adam and Eve’ / in-progress pic with the ‘Visionaries’ exhibition catalog / in-studio progress pic / detail of copper half of finished piece / close-up of the tree rings on Brancusi’s ‘Adam and Eve’ / detail of pink half of finished piece / tree of life illustration from Darwin’s ‘On the Origin of Species’ / in-progress pic