Since 2010, over 100 million trees have died in California alone--ravaged by beetles, drought, fires and more. Humans and trees are bound in reciprocity. In addition to shade, shelter and food, trees produce oxygen and take up the carbon dioxide that we increasingly spew into the atmosphere. In many cultures, trees are a symbol of life itself. What does it mean that the trees are dying?
This exhibition chronicles the ecological changes in a few locations in southern California from Torrey Pines State Park, Cuyamaca State Park, Mount Cuchama, and Pine Creek Wilderness in San Diego County, to Joshua Tree, Walker Pass and Alta Sierra further north. Coastal chaparral, pines, juniper, oaks, and Tecate cypress are represented in sumptuous photomontages that express the dynamic qualities of these environments. As opposed to the grandiose sublime, these visuals encourage active exploration, offering glimpses, or incomplete views at a variety of scales evocative of the enchanted vibrancy of life.
The visual exploration is grounded science. Text provides insight into the complex intertwined impacts of urbanization, globalization, invasive species, and climate change that are causing the trees’ decline. A tree stump with an ipad displays diagrams of trees rings with historical data and models projecting climate to the year 2100. Tree rings are often labeled with historical events and pressing on selected rings reveals information about a local ecological event that has occurred or might occur in that year. (For tree stump could you also link to this URL? www.ruthwallen.net/listentothetrees
Visitors will be encouraged to interact with the work. Reminiscent of Jewish mourning rituals, outside the gallery, they may share their grief by writing of their losses on stones. Or they can write their suggestions for actions to effect change on leaves that will be placed on bare tree branches.
See also this article in San Diego City Beat:: http://sdcitybeat.com/culture/seen-local/ruth-wallen-remembers-the-trees-at-mesa-college/
Mesa College Art Gallery
Mesa College Drive, San Diego 92111
March 12 - April 3, 2018
Open M, T, W 11-4; Th 11-7