“The potter Paulus Berensohn spoke about ‘singing up the earth’, a phrase that has really inspired me. In this body of work I’m trying to find my own ‘tree songs’ using a variety of processes including embossing, linocuts, etching and chine collé .
Through these processes I’ve been exploring the outer and inner lives of trees. In these works I’ve tried to add to the dialogue between humans and trees by introducing figures and images from childhood stories. The Tin Woodman from the Wizard of Oz and a tree reminiscent of an image in The Little Prince, found their way into the works. I then chose to explore the Tin Woodman at the time in the story, when with rusted joints, despite being able to see, he is unable to move.
As I was working on this series, we encountered Covid-19, for which other aspects of the the Wizard of Oz story, the tornado and its disorientation effects in particular, have become familiar to us all. Flying Monkeys, houses, stepladders and ominous crows found their way into the clay works, with the swirling tree life- lines seeming to echo the inside of a tornado. This exhibition aims to express my deep appreciation for trees and to celebrate my hope that we are able to find ways to mobilize ourselves, and like the Tin Woodman, move again and find the way back to ourselves and to a better balance with nature. “ Tracy Witelson 2020