Speak for the Trees
published by Marquand Books in collaboration with the Friesen Gallery
Speak for the Trees is a 12″ x 11″ hardcover coffee table book with 180 pages celebrating 70 artists from around the world. Each artist is showcased on a two page spread featuring a full page/color image of their work of art [all mediums will be represented; painting, sculpture, photography, glass, etc]. The opposing page offers two elements, the first being the artist’s statement on one or all of the following; the specific work of art featured, their body of work on trees, or their thoughts on trees.
The third component to the spread will be a piece of writing chosen by the artist on the unifying theme of trees. These poems, haiku, concepts, questions, or quotes are sure to span centuries; crossing cultural and geographical barriers to combine a collective series of thoughts, observations and philosophies about trees. From Lao-Tzu to Warren Buffett – this third element is what takes the book out of the contemporary, placing it into the timeless. The Gallery has organized talented artists holding a sincere, deep connection with trees. It is important to recognize that fine artists were not sought out to paint or sculpt trees, rather the call was made to artists who have either in the past or present chosen to work with tree imagery.
The beginning of the book will include an essay authored by Dorothy Maclean/Findhorn Co-Founder and the book’s foreword will be from Michael Murphy/Esalen Co-Founder. Realizing this book is meant to quite literally, Speak For The Trees, supreme care has been taken with its production. All of the paper will be made from recycled/sustainable materials and the ink will be soy based. Dorothy Maclean, on the book Speak For The Trees: “If ever there was a time in our evolution of consciousness – the ground is prepared for this planting.”
Speak for the Trees is not an environmental book, nor is it about spirituality, philosophy, or the arts, . it’s all of it. It is a collaboration of these elements and more, and this – the far reaching, ever growing capacity of the subject matter is what makes the book so powerful, giving it the ability to touch all people.
Artists to be included David Hockney, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Robert Longo, The Starn Brothers, Stephen Hannock, Broomberg & Chanarin, Julie Heffernan, Rona Pondick, Andrew Millner, April Gornik, Didier Massard, Janis Miltenberger, Mark Ryden, Patrick Dougherty, Katie Holten, Kim Keever, Yoko Ono, Lucas Reiner, Christopher Brown, Jason Middlebrook, Robert Weins, Jennifer Bolande, John Fincher and Tanya Marcuse, Kim Abeles, and Linda Vallejo.
When you enter a grove peopled with ancient trees, higher than the ordinary, and shutting out the sky with their thickly inter-twined branches, do not the stately shadows of the wood, the stillness of the place, and the awful gloom of this doomed cavern then strike you with the presence of a deity? – Seneca
In many Native American and indigenous traditions the “sacred tree” is the center of ceremony and a symbol of life itself. Trees and the wood they provide make it possible to build ceremonial fires allowing the people to make offerings and pray for all their relations. Native people often thank the trees for their sacrifice and pray for the forests and the groves. The tree is a “sacred old being” that imparts knowledge and wisdom, and provides warmth, nourishment, and protection.
For the Lakota the cottonwood tree symbolizes the “way of the people” and is treated as a beloved relative. For California native people the oak’s acorns provide sustenance, and the tree is an ancient symbol of constancy, commitment, and strength. For Mexican indigenous peoples the Tree of Life portrays the hierarchy of heaven and earth, with the gods, humanity, and all of nature intertwined in and protected by the limbs of the “sacred tree.”
My Electric Oaks tell the story of how the “sacred tree” listens, speaks, and remembers. Each oak is surrounded by reverberating, glowing colors representing a “sacred voice” and begging the questions, Can you see yourself in the oak? Can you hear its voice? Does it speak to you? What does it tell you? The oaks have spoken to me, and their message has taught me that nature is sacred, that life without nature is barren, and that the beauty of the trees is timeless.