The sacred tree : a visual investigation into the tree as a symbol of life, death and regeneration.
thesisposted on 2023-05-26, 04:03 authored by Delrue, C
This research project is a visual investigation of 'the sacredness of nature' utilising the tree as a metaphor for the mystery of life, death and regeneration. The project developed into a journey through history, exploring ecological and spiritual concerns as well as personal issues of migration and adoption of a new country. The project aims to create a contemplative experience through the use of a symbolic visual language. Combining an installation approach with drawing, I look at ways of expressing my relationship with my adopted country without losing my rich European cultural background. Drawing represents one of the earliest forms of image making and connects us in an unbroken line with the first human who drew in the dirt or on a wall in a cave. In the work, I explore a variety of visual languages: figurative/narrative, referring to a traditional European perception of nature and the spiritual, combined with an abstract as well as a process-orientated language where the material is the signifier. Within this context, the research examines the long tradition of artists using nature, the tree and the forest to express connection with the sacred. For many of these artists drawing has been of great importance to their practice. Precursors include, amongst many others, Caspar David Friedrich, John Glover, Anselm Kiefer, Wolfgang Laib, John Wolseley, Peter Booth and Kiki Smith. Contemporary theories relating to the subject underpin the project. Foremost have been: David Suzuki, Simon Schama, Robert Harrison-Pogue, David Tacey and Mircea Eliade. The visual outcome of the project is a series of symbolic works which have been produced using materials from the trees: charcoal for drawings and installation work; dyes distilled from leaves; flowers and bark from trees to create works on paper and to dye wool. These works are installed in rooms and form connections with each other and with the space, evoking an atmosphere of contemplation. They reflect the diversity of life and its celebration as well as meditations upon death and regeneration
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