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  • Writer's pictureJason Jenn

What Is It About Trees – Mandala

I am pleased to share the results of my work for the exhibition “What Is It About Trees” at El Camino College Art Gallery from Feb 18 – March 12 (now extended through April 3).

My installation for the show evolved from a process of visiting the trees on the El Camino campus between November through January in order to observe and meditate underneath the trees. About once a week or so, I spent time with several different types of trees on the campus, using a range of techniques and methods for centering myself and slowing down. This was a most welcome change of pace from a typically hectic schedule, and I am grateful the campus is not too far from my home and the Torrance Art Museum where I work.

As a result of the meditation, a vision of a mandala made from the tree leaves came to mind. I saw clearly a distinct ring of gold-leaf sycamore leaves creating an outer halo – with various smaller leaves creating the inner circle. That vision became the guide for collecting fallen leaves from the trees and applying them with both gold and bronze leaf in certain places to create a vibrant accent – but the leaves themselves were already such beautiful works of art. Once the installation was underway, it became obvious that the mandala could also serve as a meditation spot inviting people to have a seat on a stump and reflect upon their relationship with trees and to view the accompanying installation by Vojislav Radovanovic across the way. It also served as a “selfie station” (as much as I can be against those, why resist it in this case?), so the stump was also adorned with gold and bronze leaves to match the mandala.

This post focuses on the “El Camino Tree Mandala” created site-specifically in a special room of the gallery across from Vojislav Radovanovic’s installation “House for Angels” – the two pieces were a lovely conversation, which was described as “honoring the energy of sun (my mandala) and the moon (Vojislav’s work which were in shades of white, black, silver, and blue).” See another post which focuses on the video art piece that was created as a result of the meditation process as well.

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