Shift

Pyrography, Colored Pencil, Birch
November 2017

Shift is intrinsically tied to my family’s current home, holding personal and symbolic significance. In 1928 (the year of my home’s construction), four birch trees were planted alongside the house. After a wind storm in 2012, one of these trees fell onto our neighbor’s home. In the ensuing months, my family faced the threat of a lawsuit, ultimately forcing us to cut down the other trees. The untimely death of these relics of time and place struck me as an injustice, although I had no power to stop these events from transpiring. Re-engaging with this object as more than a functional piece of lumber represented an act of acknowledgment of its life and the history it holds. Pyrography (wood burning) transforms the material; the burned marks on the wood use only the tree as a medium. Although the human hand remains apparent, this surface manipulation translates what already exists. In standing, the tree takes on a human-like presence while also denying functionality.

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