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'For the Trees Contained the Entire Universe They Inhabited' by James Weingrod at YELLOW PERIL
Created over the past two years, starting with James Weingrod's time at the Robert Rauschenberg Residency in Captiva, the exhibition follows the artist's recent interest in working with trees.
This new series of works comes from a process that began on a winter's day in 2016 when a large maple tree in Weingrod's backyard was cut down. "When I saw various patterns of the trunk's grain and the incredible forms created by whatever had been feasting on the insides of the tree toward its trunk, I was immediately reminded of the type of astral phenomena I have been replicating in my paintings, sculptures and installations for years," he notes. "That same day I began researching how to dry, preserve and process wood." Weingrod has spent the better part of two years researching and conducting a series of experiments centering on different treatments and methods of drying, curing, preserving and finally cutting sections of the felled tree to, as he says, "reveal a universe" within. Each tree-based piece will imagine a different conceptual, structural and/or visual "model" of the universe.
The exhibition invites and challenges viewers to look at both trees and space (in multiple senses of the word) in a new light. "Trees have been watching the stars since long before humans existed," Weingrod observes. "Who's to say they don't understand it better than we do? Who knows what secrets of the universe they might reveal if we would look more closely?" he asks. "Instead we kill and consume them in endless ways, or even just remove them, clear them for a better view, burn whole forests of them to the ground to take their earth, the soil that they made of themselves over hundreds, thousands, millions or billions of years of life, death and rebirth. It is my intention to draw attention to the tree as a plausible window into the mysteries of the universe, not at as a mere source of lumber, fuel, or paper."
For the Trees Contained the Entire Universe They Inhabitedwill unveil a tiny sliver of the cosmos, embedded within a tree to remind viewers that there is still that which unites us. "What I aspire to achieve with my artwork is simply to create a space for the contemplation of space, a feeling of wonder, and a moment to remember that we are small," Weingrod shares. "We focus so intently on that which divides and separates us, on what makes us different—from one another, from animals, from trees… We do this in order to impose order on our world, to judge one another and exclude those whom and that which we fear from lack of understanding. The universe is not intimidated – it doesn't care; the universe does not judge, nor exclude, nor direct. The universe simply encompasses;
In the spirit of inclusion, For the Trees Contained the Entire Universe They Inhabited will be a "living" exhibition. Like the universe it inhabits –and the tree pieces in it – the structure of the exhibition will follow a cycle of life, death, rebirth and extinction. The first two weeks of the exhibition (May 26 to June 9) will serve as what Weingrod calls an "incubation"
The opening event, scheduled from 6PM – 9PM on Saturday, June 9, will feature an exhibition that is larger, brighter, and different than was the sum of its parts when the show opens on May 26. We invite you to visit YELLOW PERIL. during this two-week period to see the artist at work from 12PM – 5PM.
For the Trees Contained the Entire Universe They Inhabited will also include several public events in conjunction with the show, designed to engage with viewers and include them in the evolution of th einstallation. The exhibition will conclude Saturday, August 4. This is James Weingrod's first solo show at YELLOW PERIL.