Wreck City: Lea Bucknell and my Good Byes

Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors

Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors

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Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors

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Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors

My son and I attended Wreck City yesterday afternoon.  It was my good-bye to the houses.  Things have changed and have evolved since opening night.  I felt a certain sadness yesterday…but then, I’m sad lately anyway, so that was ok.  Saying good-bye is always difficult…a cliche, but true.  I was able to talk to Lane, however briefly, and also with the artist-gent who kept the Giving Tree fire going all these evenings.  Those conversations helped.

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Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors

I climbed all of the ladders and did all the crawling and discovering that I hadn’t done on opening night because of spatial constraints and a huge public presence.  I particularly loved Lea Bucknell’s camera obscura.

I also felt such peace, being up in the bird nest in the sunshine and spring breeze.  I have gathered so many different images that I am going to keep them in my archive and use them, over time, to illustrate my posts and poems.  Thank you to all who had anything to do with Wreck City…the artist curators, artists and visionaries.  Thanks to Awesome Foundation Calgary.  You could not have donated $1000.00 to a more current and abiding vision.

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Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors

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Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors

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The Tree As Symbol: Writing My Mind

Nailed to the Tree

A seed has been planted in the human spirit to nurture creativity and facilitate its perpetuation.  Fundamentally, the visual arts have, since human beginnings, provided for this end.  The artist experiences satisfaction of the deepest sense as the creative process leads to blossoming and the giving forth of fruits, (it is a commitment to the work to get there) whether emotional, physical or cognitive.  Creativity brings the mind to life and conversely, life generates creativity.  The seed, embedded in fertile soil, gives life to a plant.  It’s spreading branches and foliage reach to the heavens.  The roots, deeply founded, seek the earthly core and the trunk serves as a link between the world of Heaven and that of Hell.

Imagination, an essential prerequisite to creativity, I think, serves to generate connections between the conscious world and that of the subconscious.  I could be wrong here…I am not an expert on either imagination OR creativity.  These are merely my thoughts. 

Some of the good stuff I've read on creativity.

In essence, I believe that the imagination, like a tree, unites Heaven with Earth as it draws images from a mundane experience of sensory perception, while bringing to light all that is mystical and awe-inspiring.  Somehow, the tree has become of the most essential of traditional symbols and because it is culturally universal, artists of every background have sought to represent its meaning in the context of their own lives and art.  In doing some basic research on the exploration of ‘the tree’ in art, I also found much in the way of  written interpretation and in some cases even the artist took on the mantle/metaphor of the tree.  A quote from Roger Cook…

Fir Tree 1940 Paul Klee

I use an image created by Paul Klee in 1940.  In fact, it is said in Roger Cook’s The Tree of Life: Symbol of the Centre that Paul Klee, in a famous public lecture published On Modern Art and delivered in 1924,  “used the image of the tree to show how the artist is a medium or channel for the transformative processes of nature. ‘From the roots the sap rises up into the artist, flows through him and his eyes.  He is the trunk of the tree.  Seized and moved by the force of the current, he directs his vision into his work.  Visible on all sides, the crown of the tree unfolds in space and time.  And so with the work.’  In this drawing Klee places the upright of the K in his signature through the centre of the trunk of the tree, thus symbolically uniting his own creative powers with those of nature herself.”  This drawing is in Felix Klee’s collection in Berne.

In Klee’s work,  it is easy to discover or re-discover the world of childlike dreams and imaginings.  The symbol of ‘tree’ reoccurs often in his work and it is easily noted that beneath the surface of symbols such as bird, cross, house, fish and tree, it is possible to discover all sorts of alternative worlds.  We are invited as adults to explore, once again, the naivete of a child, a time when creativity and imagination were ‘on the surface’ of everything.  Subsequent to that, Paul Klee’s use of colour, texture and symbolic images evoke a response from the viewer that represents a very particular time or season of great significance. It tweeks memory. Wow!  Art has such power and it reminds us of who we are and how we relate with our world.  How does this tweek me?

So, I was out on yet another off-leash experience with Max this afternoon when I began to formulate an idea for another piece at St. Albert the Great church…a Giving Tree.  I’m writing about the ‘jag’ (the initial action that follows a lengthy period of incubation for the artist) because it was so inspiring and so immediate.  I wondered about the physical volume of or presence of a thousand golden leaves and I began instinctively to pick them up in piles of a hundred, only the yellow ones, freshly fallen today.  Below, you will see three photographs of 100 leaves; 300 leaves.  I will have to collect another 700.  I will dehydrate these and then paint each leaf with metallic gold acrylic and later apply them as collage to the Giving Tree.  There is something really ‘magical’ about gradually building up textures and layers.  It is a truly satisfying process.

100 Poplar Leaves

100 Poplar Leaves

100 Poplar Leaves

 It was these leaves that also inspired me to write this afternoon.  While I only consider this a beginning to my exploration of the tree as symbol in artists’ works, it is a beginning.  I would love to have you share your thoughts with me on this topic.  Let me know if you have explored this symbol in your own work.  Time for me to go and do some sanding in the studio.  Next, writing about Piet Mondrian.