meditations (beneath the tree)

in 1989, i got out of grad school and began to make work on my own. the first body of works were titled “meditations (beneath the tree), and consisted of four paintings. the paintings were inspired by odilon redon’s pastel drawing of buddha beneath a tree. in each of the paintings i began with an appropriation of several bursts in the tree above the buddha’s head. at the time i was interested in taking things out of their original contexts and placing them within the context of my own work, so that the initial meanings might be destroyed and new meanings built within a new/different environment.

each painting contained not only the images taken from redon’s piece, but also then intuitively began to add other elements. i was very much torn at the time between working completely intuitively and working within a conceptual framework. intuitively, i struggled with too much freedom and with conceptual frameworks i was too tentative with my conceptual paths. nonetheless, they were the first seeds.

the paintings were meant to be seen on the floor, placed with a piece of wood underneath the top, so that the painting was on an angle facing up but not straight. it was important to me that the piece would shift as one moved around it; but more importantly – and simply – i wanted the painting to be a kind of reflection of the tree motif in redon’s pastel, thinking about these paintings as “pools” reflecting the sky onto the ground…