Jannette Jwahir Hawkins – Tree Sculptures

2 minute read

Trees have always held a fascination for me. I admire the organic forms represented in the tree, and the rhythm in the way a tree grows, and releases to the earth. A sense of undulation is almost always involved.

The multilayered visual rhythmic movement in trees engages me on sight. Trees energetically signal for me to look closer at the branch, root, slab, bark, stump, or trunk waiting to be picked up. On my forages, my seasoned eye seeks out specific shapes, sizes, and densities in the trees with which I want to work. Collaboration starts to take place almost immediately, random and deliberate.

In my studio, I get a feel for the way the tree can exist in space by allowing it to move in my hands, on the ground, in the air or against the wall until I find and understand the place where it naturally comes to rest. Gradually, I grasp the way the tree is weighted, curved, and bent; I search for the burrs, crevices and protrusions of the tree as these anomalies establish points where one tree can lean, support or balance against another. There is interplay between the planned and the spontaneous.

I use the tree as a medium because it is a blank canvas filled with so many possibilities, as if a composition will instantly appear wherever I touch my brush. The tree provides a platform where I can speak in a clear voice and efficiently communicate. Variety, which is important to me, seems endless with the tree.

In my work, I find it most satisfying at the juncture where the strength of my personality meets the strength of the personality of the tree. In this type of collaboration, there is incentive to continually seek ways to transform the tree’s natural beauty, which I want to emphasize and exploit. Finally, the tree is both fragile and strong, a dichotomy my work relies on for a gestalt of compositions.