art imitates life – SOLC 2017 #8

What in the world?? This public art display in a nearby town caught my eye and caused me to question: What is it? Who made it? Why is it there?

It is across the street from the public library. When I asked someone about it, I was told there were more inside the library.

Hmmmm….

Another day, traveling some back roads we came across this sight:

So art imitates life. Plenty of similarities, including more cause to question:

Were the trees dead when they were cut? Why do such tall stumps remain?

I may never know about the tree stumps – the natural ones – but I did find out more about the manmade, more shapely versions. They were created by a Nashville artist named Alan LeQuire.

Really? I was impressed.

Before you appraise his talent based solely on his tree work, you should know that he is well respected in the Nashville area, and he was chosen to create the statue of Athena that graces the inside of the life-sized replica of ancient Greece’s Parthenon that is located in Nashville’s Centennial Park.

Yes, that is the artist next to the goddess in the picture.

Wow!

He also created the controversial “Musica” which is located in the Music Row roundabout in Nashville:

This sculpture is definitely representative of LeQuire’s talent, but it caused quite a stir at first because the figures are naked. It also caused several motorists to go ’round and ’round the roundabout.

But back to the trees. I finally did a little research and learned that this is part of a work called “Dream Forest.” According to the online newspaper Off the Duck, the inspiration for the sculptures came from LeQuire’s rural upbringing. Later in life he dreamed of the trees he saw as a child and he saw them as loving and supportive shapes. Three of the original plaster trees were displayed inside the library. The larger concrete structures are more sturdy and fit for public display.

Ah Hah!  Questions answered. And art appreciated!

I love this picture of the artist and the city mayor. The looks on their faces make me smile:

Here’s a nice touch: Excerpts of poetry are carved on the shapes and were printed for display on the library windows. There were also inked woodblocked prints of leaves as part of the display, created by LeQuire alongside the master printer from the famous Hatch Show Print in Nashville.

It was quite a coordinated effort for the community to bring the display to their town. But don’t go looking for these – they are no longer there. It was always meant to be a temporary display.

I wonder how long the tall stumps will remain in the backroad yard? Will nature eventually assure that they, too are a temporary display?

No doubt, in time, life will imitate art this time around.

10 thoughts on “art imitates life – SOLC 2017 #8

  1. Donna Smith says:

    I’ve been to Nashville a few times, as my daughter went to college there. I’ve seen the Musica sculpture once. The trees are really very interesting shapes to me. I’d like to see that. What did they do with them when they removed them from display??
    I’ll post a picture tomorrow of a tree sculpture we have here. Stop by! I’ll go do that shortly so I don’t forget!

  2. The sculptures were returned to the artist. No easy feat – 600-800 pounds each! Thanks for commenting.

  3. Kate Schwarz says:

    Those sculptures are beautiful! My daughter and her friends made a sort of “nest” in their woodsy school playground that made me so proud…creating art out of nature, just like those stumps did. Very neat!

  4. Alice Nine says:

    Very interesting! Thank you for your research. When I see strange sculptures, I always wondered about their backstories. I read your comment above and now I wonder what the artist did with the sculptures… not exactly the thing you would put in your yard. ?

  5. elsie says:

    A curious sight causes an investigation. Isn’t that the way we want kids to wonder about the world around them and discover the answers? I love how you spotted something similar in nature.

  6. I LOVE those and think it was a great idea to incorporate poetry with them, too. Now back to the real trees that have the top cut off and are just left…I just saw some on the way home and was scratching my head. Now if you want to read about some public art that ruffled a few tail feathers, check out the Seagull Cinderella! The sculpture lives in my small artsy community and it’s permanent home is her front lawn. It visited another city recently, and wasn’t so welcome! http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/07/25/this-is-the-seagull-cinderella-sculpture-outraging-massachusetts.html

  7. Fascinating! Just proves that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” and we all see things differently! Thanks so much for sharing this.

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