Tree, Stone, Echo

Tree, Stone, Echo and  Sky, Earth, Water: Reliquary, were created for the Earth Reflections exhibition. They are based on sites on the North Shore – from Deep Cove in North Vancouver to Whytecliffe Park in West Vancouver. I wanted to provide viewers with basic information on how they could access the sites I’d visited. With this in mind I overlaid a map (left) of the North Shore with an infinity symbol. The infinity symbol signifies the constantly evolving universe, the cycles of life including nature’s cycle of birth, death and regeneration. This line intersected many parks and nature areas, I chose to work at 12 of them: Bridgeman, Cates, Deep Cove, Seymour, Lynn Headwaters, Capilano, Dundareve, Lighthouse, Eagleridge, Whytecliffe, Cypress and Mahon Parks.

Numerology, a metaphysical system based on the esoteric relationships between numbers and physical objects or living beings, often enters my work. After contemplating many different numbers I decided to work with the number 12. There are 12 months in a calendar year, in China a 12 cycle system called Earthly Branches is used for time reckoning. The day is divided into two 12 hour sections, ancient measurement systems are based on 12. Astrology is based on time being divided into 12 zodiac signs and in China 12 animals. The bible has many references to including the 12 tribes of Israel, 12 Apostles and 12 Angels.

Tree-Stone Echo – is deeply connected to the Sky: Earth: Water: Reliquary and references a trip to Lynn Headwaters made last year with Joan. We came across a series of windblown trees, remnants of the windstorms of 2006, and under each of the giant root balls stones were coming free, falling to the ground, creating a pile of, what I call, stone-eggs. They are waiting to be reclaimed by another tree’s root system, where they will help anchor a new tree to the Earth. Stones are the oldest beings on Earth and have been here since the Earth was formed, it is said that they carry memories within them. Imagine being 96 million years old, like many of the rocks on the North Shore, and what you would remember.

For the installation I gathered 120 stones from each of the 12 sites. I patiently waited for the spring thaws to bring a tree-log down the river, but the waters were running far too swiftly to leave anything on the shores and instead took all their offerings to the waiting sea. A few days before the opening I had a feeling to go to Cates Park, where I finally found the tree-log on the beach. No doubt it had been brought down one of the North Shore rivers, joined the tide, and then been thrown back upon the shore. The tree-log pierces the gallery wall – the root ball hovers over the 1440 stones collected at the sites. Viewers are invited, and encouraged, to choose a stone to take with them and in return to leave a comment that will be taken back to the site, creating a circle, an echo. The comment can be a prayer or wish for the Earth, or just an acknowledgement of your knowing that you are connected to the Earth, the Sky, the Water. 

Perhaps through this gesture you will become one of the memories stored within the stone. 

Special thanks to Johnny Walker, Doug Phillips and Amy, Matthew and Roland for the return of the log to the ocean.

Earth Reflections Exhibition, CityScape Gallery, North Vancouver, BC, 2008