Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas
Exhibition installation

Trees & other Ramifications:

Branches in Nature & Culture

March 5 - June 7, 2009 | Central Court, Natural History Museum, and The Commons at Spooner Hall

Back to TopExhibition Description

Trees and other Ramifications offers an open-ended look at some of the many ways that trees are meaningful to humanity and important in the natural world. The exhibition, predominantly of prints, drawings, books, and photographs drawn from University of Kansas and area collections, is not limited to works of art that were inspired by trees, but also includes images from the arts and sciences in which trees have served as a metaphor for real and imagined branching systems (ramifications). For example, you will find works about family trees, the tree of knowledge, and Darwin's evolutionary tree of life.

In alliance with other spring exhibitions and programs concerning climate change, the Natural History Museum/Biodiversity Research Center has contributed research on the species of trees seen in some of the exhibited works that allows us to predict the future geographic distribution of those species under different climate change models. The Biodiversity Research Center will also be sharing new research documentation of the remarkable Bowerbirds of New Guinea. As part of their courtship behavior, bowerbirds make elaborate structures that incorporate tree elements and that are sometimes built around saplings.

Trees is organized by Stephen Goddard, Senior Curator of Prints, working in cooperation with KU's Biodiversity Research Center and the Spencer Research Library. The exhibition is made possible in part by the generous support of the Elizabeth Schultz Environmental Fund of the Douglas County Foundation, Arthur V. Neis and Gould Evans Associates, LC.

The last month of Trees & other Ramifications will coincide with the arrival of world-renowned sculptor Patrick Dougherty. Hosted by the Spencer Museum in cooperation with The Commons, Dougherty will be an artist-in-residence during May, when he will create a tree-branch sculpture outside The Commons @ Spooner Hall. Dougherty has gained an international reputation for his structures and has created hundreds of monumental, site-specific sculptures around the world. His work is constructed from saplings gathered from local sources and shaped into massive, swirling forms as high as 40 feet. Dougherty's residency is made possible in part by the generous support of Reed and Stacey Dillon, the KU School of Architecture and Urban Planning, the Elizabeth Schultz Environmental Fund of the Douglas County Community Foundation, and corporate sponsor Capitol Federal Foundation.

Trees & other Ramifications: Branches in Nature & Culture has inspired several similarly themed shows, on and off campus. The Spencer Student Advisory Board will present Technology/Nature, a juried student art exhibition opening April 2 in the Kansas Union's SUA Gallery.

As well, two installations are planned at the Natural History Museum: the NHM Student Advisory Board will present Branching Systems, also opening April 2; and a new fossil tree display, tentatively titled Paleotrees, will open March 5. Paleotrees is curated by Bruce Scherting of the Natural History Museum with KU paleobotanist Rudolph Serbet.

In addition, several community exhibitions have been planned in association with the Spencer's exhibition, including:


Back to TopCommunity Exhibitions

3.6
Happy Tree Friends (or Standing: Tree as Agent, Index, Object of Desire) - Part I
Curated by Kate Hackman for the Charlotte Street Foundation, La Esquina Gallery, 1000 West 25th Kansas City, MO
Opening reception: March 6, 6-9pm
First Friday April reception: April 3, 6-9pm; talk with curator & artists at 6pm
Hours: Thursdays + Saturdays, 12-5pm and by appointment
March 6 - April 23 www.charlottestreet.org
  • Press Release ([an error occurred while processing this directive]B)
3.7
Hugh Cameron: Tree Hermit, Philosopher, and Civil War Veteran
Curated by The Watkins Community Museum of History, Lawrence,
March 7 - May 24 www.watkinsmuseum.org
3.14
Trees I Have Known
Curated by the Lawrence Corporation for the Advancement of the Visual Arts at the Lawrence Percolator,
March 14 - May 3 www.lcava.org
3.14
Trees
Curated by Sally Piller for 6 Gallery, Lawrence,
March 14 - April 17 www.6gallery.net
4.17
Happy Tree Friends - Part II
Curated by Kate Hackman for the Charlotte Street Foundation, Paragraph gallery, 23 East 12th Street Kansas City MO
Opening reception: April 17, 6-9pm
Third Friday May reception: May 15, 6-9pm
Hours: Thursdays + Saturdays, 12-5pm and by appointment
April 17 - June 4, 2009 www.charlottestreet.org
  • Press Release ([an error occurred while processing this directive]B)
 

Back to TopThis project was made possible by the generous support of:

Elizabeth Schultz Environmental Fund of the
Douglas County Community Foundation
Arthur V. Neis
Gould Evans