Featured Artists: Sharon Levy, Louie Shirase, Britt Ransom.

Canopy by Sharon Levy, Abaca paper, string, wood, paint, Kee Klamp, hardware, pulley, rope.

A leafy branch on a bough swings upward making a crisp, rustling sound. For Canopy, Sharon Levy’s moving sculpture hung from the ceiling by wooden beams and wires, a trunkless foliage of handmade Abaca paper angles away like a lever releasing itself with an animatronic swivel. This piece brings to mind a few lines of verse:

“Not smart to be out under trees with the wind still high: billowing & breaking bring down stob ends” writes A.R. Ammons in the poem, “Picking up Equations.” “One thing’s certain, fall shadows the wind, ellipses spring, noding downwind to the arc including everything.”

Canopy exhibits for the SUPERCOLLIDER’s group show, Message in the Trees, presenting artworks by Sharon Levy, Louie Shirase, and Britt Ransom. Featuring traditional and new media of watercolors, 3D-printed sculptures, photographs, animated 3D scans, and a painting, this exhibition depicts plant life cycles and their inhabitants as stripped-down line-workings, imprinted codes, and leaf-like languages of layered branches.

“Shirase’s painting, Leaf, appears as a roadmap that tells a message of time passing via the discoloration and aging of the leaf itself,” curator Richelle Gribble explains. “It expresses an implied history in the object for which one can begin to create a story about a leaf. It becomes a message of changing time as the leaf absorbs water through its vascular system, growing and wilting simultaneously.”

Three photographs by Ransom, titled Tracks 1, Tracks 2, and Tracks 3, depict brightly lit trails along stumps of wood in the forest. The wood is carved by bark beetles’ feeding paths and movements as small beams of light wrapping around the wood. Through a process of slow exposure, the beetles’ imprints create streams of light that look like car traffic. Accompanying cast resin sculptures, titled Field Casts, Set 1, depict the wood left behind as stone-like artifacts of scripture written by beetles. Ransom’s other 3D prints and photogrammetry (3D scan) reveal a different part of the outlined bark through striated lines of color and texture showing the beetles’ pathway as anaglyphs of mesh.

“Of last year’s drought-wood that died way up in the branches, and a thwack of the noggin could drop you, no one around…you could just be dazzled and wander off down the road, wild: still don’t,” stirs Ammons’s poem.

The sensation of being swept away by a stormy climate surrounded by the marks of ravenous insects are non-verbal missives. This medium is the message: leafy forms communicate the fearsome speeds of nature’s architecture miraculously charged with progress and transformation as we seek to understand what nature tells us.

Writings: Janna Avner, ed. Richelle Gribble | Photo Credit (below): Dahn Gim