On Trees as Subject Matter

My artist statement describes in detail the fascination I have with trees and forests in my work. What I feel compelled to share are insights regarding my use of trees in comparison to the use of the human figure. Trees are figures themselves, presenting endless possibilities in pose, form, design, gesture, etc.  Therefore, I can explore painting more directly with them, which I have been doing more of recently.  In treating the tree as a figure in this way I have simplified my content and focused on shape, line, contour, and form.  These things have always interested me but now I feel this purpose is more clear.

I prefer trees to the figure because they do not come with the baggage, sentimentality, and human associations that are unavoidably made with figure painting.  There is nothing wrong with these associations and I think it makes figure painting very profound and critical to artistic tradition.  These feelings simply do not interest me in terms of my work.  I do not deny that there is baggage yet with the trees, as there would be with any representational form, and I embrace it.  The final most important thing to note is that trees do not move, at least not in the way the figure moves.   Even though a two dimensional painting only captures a still image, ( I know this point is arguable but not the purpose of my writing today) the potential movement in a figure painting will always be something very different from my tree paintings.  My trees are more finite, solid, and fixed.  The gesture comes from their growth and pattern, but their movement or any sense of it will remain limited.

I intend to explore this idea further, and continue to investigate the idea of the tree as a figure in both my writing and painting.