When I was a child I climbed trees. To me, a tree was the most wonderful, organic climbing apparatus. In my child's mind, trees existed for my own personal use. By the time I was ten years old, trees became my first subjects. I drew them, painted them, and was in awe of them. They were gorgeous creatures of varying shape, color, size, contour, texture, and pattern. They were stoic, yet graceful.
As I grew as an artist, I explored a variety of subject matter, thinking that I was leaving my childhood playthings, my trees, behind. I explored a variety of media as well, broadening my perspective and range of artistic vocabulary. Over the years, however, I found myself constantly longing for my very first and favorite. But now, I could approach this subject matter as an adult and professional painter. I began to study the history of trees and mankind's relationship to trees.
Mankind's relationship with nature has been very complicated. Man has created myths, theologies, folklore, art, photography, and literature depicting nature as God. All the while man has feared nature and tried to control nature to serve man's needs. Nowhere is this more apparent than Western culture, where man has seen himself as the highest order of species with all other forms of life existing to serve him. This is the most evident with man's relationship to trees.
Trees are the giants of the vegetation world. They are responsible for multiple interactions with nature. They hold the soil; they are habitats for insects and birds; they are purifiers of the air holding large amounts of carbon. Without trees, the planet would be in grave danger. Humankind has used trees for fuel, homes, transportation, and food for centuries. Although the destruction of trees by humans has gone on for centuries, the awareness of the implications of this destruction only occurred toward the latter part of the twentieth century. Large-scale efforts have been made to save trees since the 1970's continuing to this day. Despite these efforts there remain skeptics in the market place who believe that the race to become "world class competitors" entitles them to use their natural resources with abandon. As an artist, I have assumed responsibility for heightening others‚ awareness by using visual images filled with content that reflect the majesty and grandeur of one of the greatest gifts of nature: trees.
born: 1949, Berlin Wisconsin
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, MFA, 1975
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, BFA, 1971
selected group shows
View Points, Studio Montclair, Alijira Center for Contemporary arts, Newark, New Jersey, June 1-25 2011.
Kentucky National, A national exhibition of Contemporary Art, Clara M. Eagle Gallery, Murray State University, Murray Kentucky. Gallery, February 2011.
Imagine Everywhere. Columbia College Chicago, Averill and Bernard Leviton A + D Gallery, September 2010.
Human Nature. Columbia College Chicago, Averill and Bernard Leviton A + D Gallery, September 2008.