Shinji Turner-Yamamoto at GRACE
The GRACE main gallery stands at the corner of a busy intersection in Reston Town Center. Its storefront windows open to sidewalk and street traffic passing day and night. In contrast to this bustling cityscape, from October 11 through November 14, 2008 Shinji Turner-Yamamoto transforms the GRACE interior gallery into a quiet, meditative space by introducing a natural element - a large dead dogwood tree, lying on its side across the room as though asleep. Along its trunk and branches, the artist will plant tiny fern seedlings which will grow and carpet the dead tree with lush, new foliage.The Greater Reston Art Center's fascinating new exhibit opens with a reception on Saturday, October 11 from 5-7PM.
Taking a tree out of its natural context –the forest floor – and placing it on the gallery floor, Turner-Yamamoto hopes that viewers experience nature in a novel and surprising way. His intention is to make the connections and similarities between plant life and humanity visible, emphasizing the interconnectedness of all life.
In an adjacent gallery, Turner-Yamamoto exhibits preparatory drawings, photographs, and a series of works developed in Finland during a residency preceding the exhibition. These two and three dimensional works incorporate the dogwood tree’s seeds, leaves, and twigs; red clay from around its roots is used as pigment. After the gallery exhibition, the tree will be moved to a woodland setting to continue its natural evolution.
Sleeping Tree is part of Turner-Yamamoto’s ongoing Global Tree Project, a series of site-specific installations mounted in India, Ireland, Japan, and now Virginia. Through these varied projects, the artist offers viewers a new way to see trees by illuminating the similarities in our life cycles as entities that grow, flourish, and leave the world enhanced for the next generation.