Tree Reflections, 2016
Clay, mosaics, mixed media
May 3, 2016 – May 31, 2016
Tree Reflections, Cast and Formed celebrates the tensile power of an Osage Orange tree in Marcus Garvey Park. It’s interwoven fibers secured this tree’s prominence in our nation’s expansion. The orange color is unusual, hiding the secrets to it’s rot and insect resistance. Our country rolled forward on this tree, provider of wagon wheels for the migration West. Tree Reflections, Cast and Formed will include Clay Drawings pressed from the Osage Orange tree opposite to the fence where it will be installed. Acting as a mirror to the living tree, it will include mosaics in front of the branches that lie behind the fence from the Osage Orange tree. Their composition of smalti with gold tile will emphasize the value of the tree, park and people.
Using Appardurai’s construct, this tree is part of the historical ideoscape linking images to the state and changing technology. Besides wagon wheels the Osage Orange tree was also used as fencing in the newly “acquired territory”. These trees were planted closely to make an impenetrable fence.
I have an ongoing diary of trees pressed in clay from Marcus Garvey Park. Both trees and parks are symbolic of urban life. My daily life includes walks in the park. During these walks I find trees with unusual bark patterns that I would like to “see” in clay. Tree bark has some of the same properties as human skin revealing a story of race, age, damage and survival. This tree has remarkable patterns.
Socially my work addresses the parallel life of 2 species that exist together in the urban environment. People tend and cull the trees which provide breath for us.
A rising understanding of trees underpins our current efforts to exist in cities. Politicians need to provide quality of life for all residents. Trees provide carbon capture, soil retention, oxygen production, added humidity and lower surface temperatures. Economics fueled the Million Trees planting in NYC after a Bloomberg study found that neighborhoods with established trees had higher value and quality of life.
Guided by touch, viewers will participate in a discovery. Visual growth is slow in trees but power is magnified. You sense this when you touch a tree.
There will be a QR code by the fence that shows samples of other Osage Orange trees and gives information about the wagon wheels and fences that built the West. The bending forms of this Osage Orange Tree in Marcus Garvey Park will help viewers realize that its light, shadow, and shape are part of our history.
This work is part of the Cast and Formed exhibition, courtesy of ODETTA gallery.
Susan Stair’s artwork examines the surface of components of the landscape, such as rocks and trees. There is a discovery of how each material determined its place in our shared history. Her present “Tree” series represents a sort of “Life Casting” from living plants and trees. She studies different species, each with identifiers akin to our markings of age and race.
Susan Stair has worked in the US and Asia exploring the landscape. From textile and mixed media collage to works on paper, her pieces create a sense of space and place in the tradition of landscape painting. Her mural for the Percent for art program continued to push the landscape tradition, including a bench where students sit next to Rosa Parks.
Stair spent 10 years in Asia creating collaged paintings and installations. Her exhibitions were at Galleria Duemila and the US Embassy in Manila, the Fringe Gallery with an installation at the Hong Kong Cultural Center titled, “Primarily an Issue of Color”, and The Tokyo Design Center.
In the US Stair has exhibited in group and individual shows in NYC and Rochester, NY. In 2009 she finished “By the Waters” a 9’x18’ mosaic mixed media mural for the Rosa Parks School in the Bronx thru the Sites for Students program. In 2012 she was in the Emerge International Art Fair in Washington DC. She installed a mosaic in a tree in Stone Quarry Art Park during a residency in 2014 and installed a 2nd tree mosaic commissioned in Rochester.
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