Branching Out: Botanically Inspired Works

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Branching Out: Botanically Inspired Works
Curated by: Susanna Meiers

16007 Crenshaw Blvd.
Torrance, CA 90506
March 29th, 2010 - April 30th, 2010
Opening: April 6th, 2010 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

beach cities/south bay
Mon-Tue 10-3, Wed-Thu 10-8, Fri 10-2
El Camino College
digital, installation, sculpture
free, on campus parking is $2



Botanically inspired works by:

Maddy LeMel, Ann Page, Pierre Picot, Fred Rose and Jamie Sweetman

Branching Out is comprised of 5 artists, whose works are stimulated by images of botanical growth-and more specifically, by tree branching.  These works range broadly in terms of media, from photography, drawing, painting and sculpture to rapid proto-typed 3-D pieces and mixed media installation.  Branching is used as metaphor for growth and proliferation, for connectivity and for the lightning movement of thought and intuition.  Although botanically inspired, each artist herein travels a divergent route that splits, and splits again, within his or her own progression. Sometimes the images mirror biological systems, sometimes mapping and at other moments bearing reference to architecture and systemic patterns of the human brain.

Maddy LeMel focuses upon the timeless sense of spiritual kinship between humans and trees in her large-scale sculptural work, Finding a Pulse (9’x7’x7’) constructed in wire, plastic and mixed media.  Additionally she exhibits a 3 dimensional series titled Pulp Music using manufactured elements including antique paper player piano rolls. In relationship to this series LeMel muses that humans have long turned trees into instruments and in the music we’ve made with wooden instruments we have heard the harmonies of nature. 

Ann Page exhibits found botanical forms, captured via digital photo, scanning or traditional drawing, merged into visually associative compositional tropes. These 2-D images mutate into geometric configurations and finally emerge as fully 3-D forms through the use of a rapid proto-typing machine. In displaying these 2 and 3 dimensional forms geometric grids in some fashion underlie all the resulting imagery, Page references the idea of diversity as nothing more than aggregated knots, slivers and twigs of the generating whole. These diptychs correlate to the bi-lateral functioning of the human brain and to the rational and sensorial aspects of this artist’s being. 

Pierre Picot displays his painting, 2nd Nature, a swirling forested landscape inspired loosely by French countryside combined with extravagant flights of imagination and rapidly alternating drawing/painting styles. Picot says; In the forest, order and chaos exist in perfect balance, an echo of the precarious reality of daily life. He installs this fantastical work in a room with rust and mustard- colored walls along with pieces of his own highly stylized, wooden, modernist furniture accompanied by black and white ink on paper drawings of the French forest and glade. 

In The Stump Complicated Series, quirky Victorian confabulations by Fred Rose, parallels are drawn between the nature of trees and human flesh.  Rose explores the historic language of woodworking and combines both diverse woods and disparate images into one object whose meaning is found through this collision of references and craftsmanship.  In The Tea House of Indecision at the Fork in the Road, Rose references branch-based construction found in Japanese farmhouses while simultaneously referring to other branching structures such as geographic mapping and neuron paths.  

In her delicate drawings in colored pencil and gouache on Duralar Jamie Sweetman layers the human circulatory system and botanical vines, entwining one upon the other, connecting botanical and biological worlds. Sweetman says, My artwork has been influenced by my studies in human dissection. When you look inside the human body you soon find repeating patterns among the shapes of the body and those in nature…Viewing a cross section of the cerebellum of the human brain reveals the shape of a tree.  The similarity continues when you look at lightning, tree branches, root systems, a river bed as seen from above.