Sculptor's carved faces reveal the inner life of trees (Photos)

© Keith Jennings

In ancient times, our ancestors were firmly rooted in an animistic view of the world, believing that spirits inhabited all of the rocks, trees and rivers. Tapping into this primeval vein, American sculptor Keith Jennings carves wizened faces into the skins of trees, revealing a vision of their inner spirit.

© Keith Jennings
© Keith Jennings

Jennings began creating his "Tree Spirits" in 1982, starting with trees in his backyard which he sculpted with some hand tools. He's since parlayed his hobby into a series of commissioned works concentrated on St. Simons, an island off the coast of the state of Georgia.

Designed to blend into their surroundings, Jennings' carvings often have a pensive or enlightened feel to them.

© Keith Jennings
© Keith Jennings

According to My Modern Met, Jennings takes anywhere from two to four days to hew out these visages, which he insists (in the manner of Michelangelo) are already hidden there, but fully-formed, waiting to be revealed: "I don’t have that much to do with it. The wood speaks to you, ya know?”

© Keith Jennings

Jenning's Tree Spirit sculptures are dotted throughout the island on public and private property; visitors can check out their locations via this convenient Google Maps. More over at Keith Jenning's website.

Tags: Artists | Arts | United States