In awe of Her power, 2006
ink on Shoji paper
Photo courtesy of the artist
The tree occupies a central role in many cultures and is deeply connected to personal and collective memory. It is especially meaningful in this country where
the single tree has been a symbol of the solitary individual in nature and historically
significant in the vocabulary of nation-building. In the early 20th century, the Group
of Seven produced images of trees that articulated ideas of Canadian nationhood as
bold breaks with British tradition. More recently, artists have referenced the tree in
order to make visible the forces that shape today’s interpretations of the landscape.
The exhibition begins with images of the forest as a subject that inspires awe and
instills reverence for the power of nature. This association with the spiritual and
sublime is inherent in the historical work of Emily Carr and is further investigated by
contemporary artists such as Ed Pien and Kevin Schmidt.
This exhibition was prompted by a recent donation of a photographic series by Jochen
Gerz and includes works from the permanent collection by Vikky Alexander, Sybil
Andrews, Patricia Deadman, Rodney Graham, Lorraine Gilbert, Gordon Smith, Jeff
Wall, Ian Wallace and others. It is amplified by key loans from contemporary artists
Karin Bubaš, Andrew Dadson, Kirsten Everberg, Maximo Gonzalez, Nestor Kruger,
Liz Magor, Aernout Mik, Ed Pien, Pedro Reyes, Althea Thauberger, Mungo Thomson,
Stephen Waddell, Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun and features a major new site specific
installation by Gabriela Albergaria.
The Tree: From the Sublime to the Social
is organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and curated by Daina Augaitis,
chief curator/associate director with assistant curator, Emmy Lee.