Art Saturday: Graft by Roxy Paine, National Gallery of Art
A pleasure that visits to D.C. offer is the sculpture on the national mall. In the sculpture gardens there, an opportunity offers on good days in spring to Have It All, natural beauty and awesome art.
The National Gallery of Art displays the above sculpture all year around, but during the spring it’s enjoyable as a complete, luxurious basking in all that wonder. The sculpture can be viewed at the NGA site, as well.
Graft presents two fictive but distinct species of trees—one gnarled, twisting, and irregular, the other smooth, elegant, and rhythmic—joined to the same trunk. Among its rich associations, this sculpture evokes the persistent human desire to alter and recombine elements of nature, as well as the ever-present tension between order and chaos.
Paine’s first Dendroid, Impostor (1999), a 27-foot-tall sculpture, stands in a forest clearing at the Wanås Foundation in Knislinge, Sweden. Paine has since made 16 Dendroids, each unique and organized according to its own system. The works are installed in sylvan settings, urban environments, and landscaped urban parks. Trees have long been regarded a metaphor for human existence, and their forms evoke for Paine a range of natural and man-made systems from neurons to river networks, from taxonomic diagrams to genealogical charts.
The shining form can be seen from far and close up, and never fails to make me glad.