Tree-Loving Photo Exhibition at Getty Center, Los Angeles

oak tree photo

Photo: Getty Centre William Henry Fox Talbot 1843

If you are in the Los Angeles, California area, run, don't walk to this tree-hugging exhibition of 40 photos of trees in all their glory.

Called In Focus: The Tree at the Getty Center, the show poetically surveys artists' responses to this primeval subject with shots ranging from the 1800's (above) to the very current (see after the fold).

new forest photo

Photo: Getty Centre Rhea Garen

The exhibition is drawn entirely from the J. Paul Getty Museum's permanent collection, and presents a range of photographs that depict all kinds of views and artistic visions of the concept of the tree. Photographers include both old masters and new acquisitions. The show is grouped into themes: single tree portraits, trees in the landscape, abstract forms drawn from trees, and daily uses of the tree.

For example, Rhea Garen's picture is of a large tree pressed up so close to a house that it seems to be growing out of it. The pile of chopped wood in the foreground contrasts man's need for shelter alongside the wilds of nature.

ho lee photo

Photo: Getty Center Myoung Ho Lee

South Korean artist Myoung Ho Lee worked outside in the snow, but photographed the tree against a large drop cloth, as if it was a formal portrait studio. The tree is shown in stark relief, while still surrounded by its natural environment.

forest gill photo

Photo: Getty Center Simryn Gill
Simryn Gill was born in Singapore and raised in Malaysia so she is coming from a different culture and perspective, and kind of tree, in her art. For these pictures she tore pages from books that she loved, shaped them into organic forms and then photographed them in tropical settings. In this print, "the trunk of a coconut tree is wrapped in paper strips that form rings around the bark, creating a visual pun that suggests both the history of the tree and the artist's own story."

The show continues until July 3, 2011 and would be well worth a visit. There may even be a good fridge magnet and post card in the shop. There is definitely a book.

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