(MFA Mid-Program Review - Minneapolis College of Art and Design 3/24/2023 to 4/2/2023)
As a sculptor, I want to introduce people to trees, to the forest; I want to make the forest familiar, like family. The elements in my exhibit bring a realization of the personality of trees. Removing the natural tree shape, color and environment emphasizes what is left - the texture. The fascinating bark texture is like the wrinkles on a face that speak of what an individual has experienced throughout their life. That texture is meant to be touched and experienced.
I encourage people to fully experience my work using the senses of sight, touch, hearing and smell. As one walks through the installation, navigating fragments of trees, they can discover wood and tree bark transformed into a charred print block, permanent tactile bronze castings and fragile plaster, ceramic or salt castings. The shiny, ceramic cube, “Red Pine,” has been transformed into an unnatural shape and color, yet it is still recognizable as tree bark. Imperfections in plaster bark are highlighted with metal leaf, referencing the resilience of trees. Two of the bronze sculptures represent the transformation of trees into construction materials for beavers and housing for pileated woodpeckers (and later squirrels). Trees are very well known to forest animals. Maple bark cast in salt alludes to the effects of Hurricane Sandy and salt water on red maple and London plane trees in Brooklyn and Queens as documented by my brother, Richard Hallett et al. The fragmented, breakable salt pieces are striking and refer to the fragility of trees and the environment.
I hope viewers take a renewed interest in trees just outside the window.