Ellen Sayers
Tree Piece
Grounds of Pratt Institute through May 24

by Jeanne C. Wilkinson

Already overcome by the intense spring greens of trees and grass on the Pratt campus after the streets of Brooklyn, the vivid colors of this work overwhelmed me for a moment. I wasn't ready for the stunning array of greens plus vivid yellow, orange and red all the brilliant colors of fall appearing not in the upper reaches of the branches but on the tree trunks. It seemed as if the trunks, overcome by green sprouting out of limbs above, had grown their own bands of color in a fit of competitive spring exuberance.

It is a simple enough conceit, winding twine around tree trunks, a type of environmental or earth art, nothing particularly new, but marvelously effective nonetheless. The trunks become thicker, lumpier where the twine winds around their circumferences. Some areas of color are low on the tree, some higher; all are both organic additions to the tree form and shocking intrusions into our expectations of what a tree is. But ultimately words cannot convey the effect of the colors as they fight and merge with each other in this springtime display.

Copyright ©1997 Jeanne C. Wilkinson & REVIEW All Rights Reserved