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....
Trees and other Ramifications at the Spencer Museum features works of art and artifacts inspired by trees. Do you also have a tree inspired story to tell? Post an image or a description of the tree/trees (literally or figuratively) that touches your creativity and tell us about it!
In addition, several community exhibitions have been planned in association with the Spencer's exhibition.
The Spencer offers a wide range of engaging and educational programs for the community. These programs are all related to the Trees and other Ramifications exhibition.
In fall 2008, Prof. Michelle Heffner Hayes and students in her Dance 150: Improvisation course spent two weeks in Marvin Grove developing a structured improvisation inspired by the "branching" activity explored in the Spencer's Trees & Other Ramifications exhibition. Concurrently, graduate students from American Studies, Communication Studies, and Film in Prof. Sherrie Tucker's American Studies 998: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Music as Culture seminar recorded these experiments through sound and film, took ethnographic notes, interviewed the dancers about their experiences, and combined these elements in an interactive wiki—a database of Web pages which class members could edit live. Students in the parallel courses then added their own commentaries, and made choices about which photos, videos, sound recordings, and writings to include in different places on the wiki.
This project was made possible by the generous support of Elizabeth Schultz Environmental Fund of the Douglas County Community Foundation, GouldEvans and Arthur V. Neis.
This companion catalogue to the Spencer's spring 2009 exhibition Trees & Other Ramifications: Branches in Nature & Culture is the Museum's first full-length electronic book.
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: