In early spring, my dad and I cut down a staghorn sumac tree which was tangling with electrical wire in my parents' backyard. I cut the tree into pieces, labeling each one, and brought them to my studio.
With the help of my assistants, I made an individual mold of each branch and cast the branches in Forton MG, which is a safe, durable substitute for resin.
We drove the tree, in parts, to Fort Adams in Newport and (re)assembled the tree on site, using bolts to attach the branches to the trunk.
When I first saw the interior of Fort Adams, I was struck by the quiet power of the space. Fort Adams has a rich history which may not be visible, but is still apparent to the senses. Interior spaces, when emptied, reverberate with the presence of what is no longer there.
I decided to make a horizontal tree to express a sense of repose, of suspended animation. The ghost-like quality of the material makes the tree seem solid, but only delicately so. In a way, it is a shadow of itself – a memento of things past.
This marble-like memorial snakes through space like a curving whale skeleton, bones arranged with steel supports to show the fragile framework of what lies beneath thick skin.