|Dimensions||30 × 0.1 × 36 cm|
Stump #160 (Guston’s Stump) is from an ongoing Series of nearly 200 Monoprints called the Tree Portraits.
Several previous Stumps had become more anthropomorphic & angular, I had previously christened a blood-red one as ‘Bacon’s Stump’; here, it seemed appropriate that this most Hood-like of Trees should be named ‘Guston’s Stump.
London’s Pollarded Street Trees (predominantly Lime & Plane, chosen for their resilience to pollution) have recently become something of a multi-valent representation of so many things we do/don’t know about Ecology to me; & Nature’s Real place in our world.
Their appearance defines an ongoing relationship with Man; indeed, many of them have a cartoon human appearance, with distinct heads, arms & bodies; and because of this back & forth, dynamic process of growth & removal over time the Trees seem to dance in a particular direction, as they struggle (vainly) to grow bigger, both outwards & upwards. They seem to me like huge Bonsai.
There are wonderful areas where growth & weight make the Trees bulge & the bark appears more like a liquid, flowing down around the younger pollarded areas with gravity. This can only really be appreciated from the base, looking straight up.
This gets more interesting to me regarding the process of printing them, & the subject, the longer I do them.
There’s a certain rhythm to doing these in such volume – I’ve tried to represent every tree in my surrounding Streets – the repetition of shapes, forms, movement & texture reminds me of a cruder form of Chinese Sung painting, where Artists would spend years representing birds, flowers & landscapes thousands of times, until the process takes over & that Subject metamorphoses, & almost becomes something else.
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