Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech

Yuken Teruya, Corner Forest (detail), 2005. Paper rolls, painted steel, and magnets; dimensions variable; private collection. Photo: Etienne Frossard.

January 31, 2019
January 24–March 23, 2019
Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech
190 Alumni Mall
Blacksburg, Virginia
United States of America
Hours: Wednesday–Friday 10am–5pm,
Saturday 10am–4pm

T 1 540 231 5300
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Opening: informal artist talks by Sam Krisch, Tom Nakashima, Linda Foard Roberts, and Eric Serritella. 

The Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech presents Arboreal, an exhibition featuring emerging, national, and internationally acclaimed artists from around the world who explore the metaphoric power of trees, one of the Earth’s most critical life forms. The exhibition presents the work of 14 artists from Australia, Italy, Israel, Japan, and the United States in a range of media including photography, video, painting, and works on paper, as well as ceramic, wood, and stainless steel sculpture.

Artists with work featured in Arboreal are Elizabeth Bradford, Diane Cook and Len Jenshel, Ori Gersht, Sam Krisch, Rosemary Laing, Jason Middlebrook, Tom Nakashima, Roxy Paine, Quayola, Linda Foard Roberts, Eric Serritella, Claire Sherman, Michele Sons, and Yuken Teruya.

The galleries and all related events are free and open to the public.

“With a diverse range of artistic approaches, artists in this exhibition explore the imagery and significance of trees—probing this iconic symbol and its allusions to significant and often profound ideas,” said Margo Ann Crutchfield, the Moss Arts Center’s curator at large. “At once majestic, sustaining, and enduring, trees, for these artists, are also deeply connected to concepts related to beauty, nature, time, and our relationship to an increasingly vulnerable environment.”

Engaging with notions of nature’s beauty but also its vulnerability are Yuken Teruya’s miniature cut out paper trees, Eric Serritella’s hyperreal ceramic sculptures of birch trees, Elizabeth Bradford’s paintings of bucolic scenes in the Carolinas, and Claire Sherman’s large-scale, dynamic paintings of archetypal forest scenes. Among the photographic works represented are Michele Sons’ images of pristine, ice-laden Appalachian trees, and Linda Foard Roberts’ silver gelatin prints of venerable trees that allude to the pained history of the Southern landscape. Trees as a witness to history is a theme shared by Diana Cook and Len Jenshel in their mural-sized photographic image of “Emancipation Oak,” with its reference to freedom and the end of slavery.

Jason Middlebrook’s mesmerizing hybrid plank sculptures and Roxy Paine’s tabletop “Dendroid” stainless steel sculptures engage ideas about the evolving fusion or invasion of the industrial and manufactured with the organic, and technology with nature. Time is the subject of Sam Krisch’s photographs of remote wintery scenes in Japan, as well as in videos created by Quayola and Ori Gersht that merge past and present in meditations on history. The art in the exhibition is visually compelling, even beautiful, while infused with philosophical, moral, and environmental concerns.

The exhibition, curated by Crutchfield, is accompanied with a full color exhibition brochure.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Moss Arts Center offers a series of gallery talks. During the opening reception on January 24, exhibiting artists Sam Krisch, Tom Nakashima, Linda Foard Roberts, and Eric Serritella will give informal gallery talks. Throughout the spring, several talks featuring Virginia Tech faculty members will explore a broad variety of topics relating to the world of trees, from sustainability and conservation to dendrochronology and invasive species.

The schedule of gallery talks includes:

Wednesday, January 30, 6:30pm
“The Forest as a Workplace,” Carolyn Copenheaver, associate professor of forest ecology, College of Natural Resources and Environment

Saturday, February 16, 5:30pm
“Art Through the Eyes of an Arborist,” Eric Wiseman, associate professor of urban forestry and arboriculture, College of Natural Resources and Environment

Wednesday, March 6, 6:30pm
“Charismatic Trees,” Lynn Resler, associate professor of geography, College of Natural Resources and Environment

Tuesday, March 19, 6:30pm
“Invasive Species—Trees as Victim and Victor,” Jacob Barney, associate professor of plant pathology, physiology, and weed science; College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

The Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech presents renowned artists from around the globe and from close to home, with a special focus on experiences that expand cultural awareness and deepen understanding.

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Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech
January 31, 2019

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