Reluctant Sculptures

One of the first series I began to work on that grew out of my ideas about domestication was concerned with the strange forms that trees took on in the unnatural environment. As in the Pattern Recognition series and many others to follow, my subject was so obvious that it largely went unnoticed, and by concentrating on this specific theme it allowed me to see these trees almost as if for the first time.

It had occurred to me that the trees I saw all around were not very tree-like at all, at least in the sense of how most of us would expect one to be. Some were just trunks, others had knobbly branches that protruded like mangled and broken arms, and all were scarred from being systematically cut and shaped to fit into their foster homes.

If I asked you to draw a tree without looking at one, many people would no doubt produce some kind of visual symbol, not a perfect reconstruction from memory. The strange thing is that the trees in my series have been cut so that once the new shoots form and grow leaves, they will eventually look more like their symbolic counterparts. In the meantime, their bare and deformed torsos stand exposed before an uninterested public.

What appears to be happening is that nature and its natural forms, is being replaced by the idealised symbols of man.