This spring, the Palo Alto Art Center presented “Rooted: Trees in Contemporary Art” in partnership with Canopy, a Palo Alto-based non-profit organization focused on tree planting and stewardship, education, and advocacy in communities where people do not have a thriving urban forest.
In this unique exhibit, artists from around the world use trees as subject, symbol, and medium to illuminate the world around us. Together, they offer a beautiful testament to the significance of trees in our environment, our communities, and our lives.
Since the Art Center is now closed as part of COVID-19 prevention, we wanted to offer a virtual glimpse of this inspiring exhibition.
About the Exhibit:
Perhaps more than any other elements of the landscape, trees represent nature.
Their greenery breaks up the hardscape of our suburban or urban environments, reminding us of the natural world. Trees remain the largest living organisms on earth. They also serve as relics of a prehistoric world, with some trees in California dated at about 5,000 years old. For the reasons and more, trees have continued to inspire artists, generating artwork that encourages us to consider the power of trees in our lives and communities.
Trees provide a variety of benefits to people and our larger ecosystem. They trap dust and air pollution, shading harmful solar radiation. Trees absorb carbon dioxide as they grow, reducing the overall concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and slowing climate change. They are natural air conditioners, reducing summer temperatures. Trees help people live longer, healthier, and ultimately happier lives, averting an estimated $6.8B in health care costs. Research indicates that exposure to trees reduces blood pressure, slowing heart rates and reducing stress.
Artistic approaches to trees are as diverse as the trees around us. In this exhibition, you will see works of art that address the unique abilities of trees to survive, to regenerate, and transform. Works in the exhibition showcase the power of trees to reflect age, to serve as memorials or tools of healing, and to evoke spirituality. Throughout, you will see creative collaborations in which artists work with trees to create unique works of art.