THE TREE OF LIFE
individual and traditional interpretations by:
Kim Abeles, Edith Abeyta, Sandy Abrams, Kelly Adachi, Craig Antrim,
Marshall Astor, Slater Barron, Veralee Bassler, Angie Bray, Georgette
Buckley, Scott Canty, Anna Christensen, Steve Comba, Joyce Dallal, Pirrko
De Bar, Ruth Dennis, Roger Dutton, Susan Elizalde-Holler,
Joel Glassman, Daniel Gonzales, Michael P. Griffin, Carleigh Hoff, Nancy
Kyes, Joyce Kohl, Eva Kolosvary-Stupler, Gina Lawson-Egan, Margaret
Lazzari, Betsy Lohrer Hall, Yvette Mangual, Peggy
Marsh-Ames, Russ McMillin, Freyda Miller, Michael Lewis Miller, Terry
Milobar, Dominique Moody, Nancy Mozur, Terry O’Donnell,
John Outterbridge, Felicia Page, David Patterson, Sarah Perry, Victor
Raphael, Tina M. Riggs, Roxene Rockwell, Nancy
Romero, Sonia Romero, Fred Rose,
Rosie Saenz, Anne Scheid, Olga Seem, Laura Stickney, Diane Streich,
George Two Horses, Linda Vallejo, Randall Von Bloomberg,
Pat Warner, Sam Watters, Nancy Webber, Lawrence Yun
and The Folk Tree
Oh, I who long to grow,
I look outside myself, and the tree
inside me grows
These lines from a poem written in 1914 by Rainer Maria Rilke reflect
the deep and all encompassing nature of the image of the tree. In many
cultures the icon of the tree serves as an axis that links the heavens
with the earth. For instance, the Cosmic Tree in Yggdrasil, from Scandinavian
lore, stands at the center of three cosmic planes--the underworld, the
Middle Earth or land of mortals and the heavenly world of the gods.
In Judeo-Christian paradise, there were two trees- the tree of life
and the tree of knowledge, each relating the consciousness of humankind.
Buddha attained enlightenment while seated beneath the Bodhi Tree. In
some shamanistic healing rituals the tree becomes a vehicle of travel
between upper and lower realms.
Throughout the history of man’s imagination, trees have been closely
associated with human anatomy and the energies that govern well being.
We refer to our arms as limbs our torsos as trunks, our bodies have
crotches and our teeth have roots. Both the energy centers or chakras
in the practice of Yoga, and the Kabalistic Sephiroth of Jewish mystical
tradition, form abstracted internal trees. The philosophical tree in
alchemy represents the process of movement of individual inner transformation.
Trees provide a blueprint for investigation of family ancestry. They
likewise suggest a structure for the exploration of genetics. Trees
shelter us and give us oxygen, fire, food, medicine, beauty and shade.
They furnish the raw materials that nourish our lives. Environmentalists
throughout the world argue the necessity that trees be nurtured and
protected as the guardians of the atmosphere.
The Tree of Life exhibition at El Camino College Art Gallery
celebrates the image of the tree in its myriad forms. More than fifty
artists present works using the tree as an archetype through which to
explore the personal. Painting, drawing sculpture, ceramics, video,
photography, digital media and books will be exhibited during this exhibition
which runs from November 21-December 16, 2005.
seems appropriate, at a time of global chaos, that we recognize the
tree as an image of growth and possible renewal.
Curator El Camino College Art Gallery