I think the tree is an element of regeneration which in itself is a concept of time
~Joseph Beuys

Persephone Says 06-09-2011

This work is in part a response to On Kawaras Today series of paintings.

I am moved by Kawaras commitment to a project which will occupy the rest of his working life as an artist and  wanted to create a work which embodied the devotional and meditative qualities implied in such a commitment.

As an atheist I have no religion or God but in contemplating this project it occurred to me as an artist I am able to compensate for this through my attention to this work. The tree becomes a personal shrine, and the acts of watering and caring for it are the focus of my devotions and meditation upon the ideas I have decided  it represents.

I ate the fruit from which the seed was taken and so the tree is part of me as I am part of it through my continued attention to its needs and well-being.

The pomegranate was chosen because of its association with spiritual and physical rebirth. In the myths Persephone is bound to periodically return to Hades when she is tricked into eating some pomegranate seeds by Pluto. The reemergence of Demeter , the mother of Persephone , from mourning her lost daughter  leads to spring and rebirth in the natural world.

The Bible is an attempt to incorporate my understanding of the concept of Logos into the work  using the bible to stand in for the divine spark that moves through all creation or as language and text being an essence from which the tree is growing.

I was always interested in bonsai trees and despite several unsuccessful attempts at caring for shop bought examples in the past, as a Japanese artform,  it seemed an appropriate medium through which I could frame a response to a Japanese artists work.

It occurred to me use a tree to make art when I saw Marc Quinn discussing using the DNA of a scientist he had been commissioned to make a portrait of. He first planned to join the scientists DNA with that of the plants the scientist worked with and the resulting plant would form the portrait. The idea had to be abandoned because to create a genetic hybrid of this kind was against the law.

Living trees have been used by several artists whose work I have  admired such as Yoko Ono,  Joseph Beuys and David Nash. This knowledge gives me confidence in the idea of using a tree.

The tree depends on my attentions for its continued existence and so I am obliged to work through periods of self doubt and lack of confidence in my ideas.


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