BOOK OF TEARS
Seek Will Feel Want Anticipate Envision Dream Strive Aspire Pursue Yearn Esteem Solace
Purpose Aim Belief Imagine Hope Wonder Sense Endure Onward Faith Trust Wish Promise
Fix Change Refrain Stop Halt Erase Override End Hinder Refuse Deter Counteract
Block Forgo Prevent Hush Avert Limit Never Renounce Cease Deflect Avoid Reject
Heart Mindful Certainty Oneness Accord Generous Trust Warmth Honor Embrace Peace Devotion
Love Fulfilled Purity Affection Just Exhilarate Tenderness Grace Realized Embody Attentive Calm
THE STORY OF RED TREES
A quarter mile of fabric
Over three-hundred stumps with red covers nailed on
The aerial view
a shroud made by the sun
Dirt, mold, cocoons, bug holes, nail holes, nature
Shrouds in my studio
The thought of an outdoor structure
The test on the roof
The metal water tower making use of varied sizes
What the wind can do
Much stitching came undone
The shrouds are purified in the lake water and dried on rocks
The four elements; earth, sun (fire), air (wind), and water
The element of ether contains all elements
RED TREES HISTORY, Phase I-V
A resident of the northwestern United States bought land that had first been sold for its logging rights. In August 2000, he made this land available for the installation despite having reservations about revealing what is less disquieting when concealed.
In phase I of Red Trees, fabric is laid and secured over approximately 300 tree stumps razed for consumption.
The bright red fabric elicits the memory of the forest's lost grandeur by positioning each tree in the imagination. It also acts as a shroud for the deceased or a protective cloth for a wound. The red coverings signify loss as well as life blood.
The tree stumps remained shrouded for one year, August 2000 through 2001.During that time, the fabric ages through exposure to the elements, especially the sun?s rays.
In August 2001, over 300 shrouds, altered by natural occurrences in varying degrees of decay, are returned to Chicago.
Each piece of fabric is imprinted with the unique impression of an individual tree, making visible that which was invisible.
In phase II of Red Trees, the shrouds are exhibited on the walls of my studio, which accommodates an abundant amount of them. Each shroud, fastened at the top, bellows in subtle currents of air that create a gently moving room.
The moving room of shrouds contains records of death, yet breathes with life. Destruction and loss are poignantly transformed into beauty and hope. The vulnerability and value of all life, including human life, is elicited metaphorically.
In phase III of Red Trees, the shrouds again are exposed to the elements, especially the wind. For ten days the fabric is softened by the breeze while hanging on a public structure several stories high.
A fully functioning metal water tower stand outside my studio door is used as the installation structure. Itself an icon, as most others have been dismantled, it lends new meaning and purpose to that which is thought to be exhausted.
In the fall of 2003, phase IV of Red Trees, the shrouds are exposed to the element of water. A pristine lake in Maine provides a scenic and serene environment to cleanse the fabric and honor historic rituals of purification with water.
The shrouds were laid over the warm rocks to dry in the morning sun. Again, we are reminded of that which is wounded and of that which can be startling in our natural landscapes.
In phase V of Red Trees, in the spring 2004, shrouds that are weakened and torn are offered to the element of the ethereal. The pieces of Red Trees are placed in a public garden, in a grove of bamboo, so to dissipate over time.
With each thread unraveling in the breeze it returns to that which it came. With it carries the thought, the hope and the prayer, that the passerby, the viewer, is touched to become more aware of protecting our living environment and their own unique power to bring forth change.
RED TREES PRAYERBOOK
All words stem from trees.
My name is Lee. In Sri Lanka my name means wood.
I fell to earth. I had not a choice as to where. I did not know what historical moments I was to witness. Before wood my name expressed the nautical, moving water and warmth started my life.
The position of the sun gave me direction, the moon told me secrets.
I was asked to remember my beginning.
(Such a difficult task)
I stood in a sea of many together. Our hands touching created a lace canopy.
Our feet, tangled gently, helped us not to fall. Such intimacy causes compassion and annoyance.
We grew up and we grew down. We saw light and felt dark.
(The stairway that you hear of)
While growing, there were many close calls to my life and how I was to be.
Sometimes drought came and I would wonder how to quench my thirst.
Rolling sweat of amber tears, those future jewels of elder sun, bore trails down my youthful body.
(I wanted to die, but did not know how)
And erosion that moves the earth affected me.
I got bitter cold and chapped by the shifting plates of rock and churning crust.
The skin of my roots became so sensitive that pain belonging to others seeped in.
(I knew how to die, but found it not right)
I was trampled upon many times, bent and pressed down. I did not stay.
I rose up, looking pathetic, but, this is what I am to do.
I saw slashing and burning, some trees began to cry and never stopped.
(Don't tell me you had not noticed)
To many this very nature is a threat. The response is controlling and shortsighted.
Tempting branches are snapped off as a belonging.
Collections are hidden under the dense pillows of those that continue in sleep.
(Sad, unwise yet true)
Others have plunged knives and metal teeth into myriads of fleshy torsos. They did not hear the screaming.
I yelled out the secrets of the moon, yet, they only heard their own laughter and
applause as they took parts of me and moved others out of the way.
(Somehow we find purpose from needless battles)
A dragon, snake or lizard would come to aid me and for this we all confirmed a truth about our origin.
A truth that is never to change and soon will be accepted by more than a few.
There is still time for conversion.
(you sense this)
Neglect traveled to many places in many forms, but, I am not discouraged.
We so determinedly and generously nurture with shade.
As expected, some shiver and choke and fade from view while under our care.
Others, influenced by darkness only, are angered by an unbalanced burden and withdraw to form an illusion of life.
But, thousands (millions) benefit greatly basking in low light,
growing strong themselves and ignoring all that is seen but the days that are created.
(focus, please see in your mind)
Sometimes there are storms that spill from above. This does not terrify me.
It is our strength. the lightning taps and releases a shock to the ground.
The wind whips about and tells the story of why we are here.
It is the only way to go, through dimness to where nothing is so much of something.
(Poets call it lunar knowledge)<
as my roots sliced the tight dirt, crushing rock to soften the center.
As I grew others joined me, some draped like soft laundry, others requiring effort, like a bloody animal skin hung to dry.
My bark becomes hard yet not so thick as to render me unavailable.
Many make wishes that moved me to thought. some even weep and kneel to grasp soils of our globe.
Others are blinded by their own needs, an ancient greed.
They walk with idle hands above the dust on an empty road lined with possessions.
They take my breath and curse my hollow void. I sink down and look upward to tolerate fruitless patience.
(Time is and must be so elusive)
Others, you, walk by quietly, like the silent river that I rest by.
They, you, know the secrets of the moon and have always one wish, forever.
They, you, watch the leaves, needles, cones and blossoms come and go.
We watch sunlight move deeply and see where it goes, and how all things are made, at once and together.
(So grateful you are here, aware, knowing what to do)
I was finally made wood.
I don't get scared anymore from the strange and unreasonable attachment to solid;
a temporary state not worthy of burning desire. Do not be concerned.
What follows can be most amazing.
(The wind has proven this)
What follows can not be said.
(The wind has explained)
My name is still the very old word, Lee.
Somewhere the word means glade, the space between the forests,
the shelter where wood is pushed through the air and made free as the light that pardons gravity.
I stood in the middle of it all and now you don't even see me. The courage of trees is here for you to follow.
(The moon shines to remind us that it is not over)
RED TREES CHRONICLE
The origin of Red Trees
The silent power of trees.
Years of history and knowing many things.
Influencing air, food and life
Holding the earth and trails of water in place.
A home to worlds big and small.
Staunch and sturdy
Cut without thought.
Today, hills shaven, stripped and bare.
Immense purpose and the beginning of red trees.
RETABLOS: HOW I GOT FROM HERE TO HERE
oil on metal
Stages of womanhood: Baby - Darling - Brat - Hostage - Scholar - Gifted - Saint - Workhorse - Woman
1. Infant: Defining a cosmology
I was born into the world just as I had planned it. Not the route intended, but here nonetheless.
There was a pink dog with me that seemed to remember our origins.
He would whisper "good night," "good morning," and "I love you."
He told me he was going to leave me one day and not to be afraid.
This I believed.
2. Darling: A childhood story
I started to grow. I was pretty and pleasant and played happily.
I learned to float across the floor in my socks.
I was pure and said pure things. I asked a bald man if he was humpty dumpty.
And I took ballet dressed like a bee.
I ate an entire watercress sandwich so that I could tour the Mayflower.
My audience travels with me.
3. Brat: Expression of universal grievances
Eventually, confusion set in. I learned that I was a girl.
It pissed me off to find that there were differences.
I became devious. In the bathtub, I would hold battles and sink all the ships.
I tossed pebbles from the roof and stuck game pieces up my nose.
Some people said that they saw horns. My grandmother told me that I was on the right track
My grandpa told me not to get pinned down by silly rules.
4. Hostage: Time travel adventures
One day I turned like Snow White.
I used frills and bows, rings and charms, perfumes and powders.
I always felt like a mess.
I collected pussiewillows for bouquets that brought spiders inside for the winter.
I walked in a blind haze. I ate lots of carrots.
No one noticed that I was lost. I thought that I was Eleanor Rigby.
5. Scholar: Theories and positions
Stupidity rings in like a hailstorm. I discovered that I did not know much.
I read books even though I did not understand it all.
I absorbed the words into the marrow of my bones.
The elementals were active and possibility was strong.
I focused on those that exceeded my expectations.
I found all my own answers to all the trick questions.
I loved who I was becoming.
6. Mystic: An account of otherworldliness
Sadness travels in with the fog. Carrying vultures that buzzed crazily about my head.
I moved slowly and worked with them for years.
The payoff to the pestering was that they shared their secrets;
trials blaze trails, and tears burrow roads.
My chin was up so not to choke. I hung on to my ideals.
Even when others behave badly.
7. Saint: A declaration of love
I saw love in the world and I saw that it was I. Everyone around me was love.
Holding tightly to this makes it forever.
That is how it all works and why the stars whir. Everyone is forgiving.
I love cab drivers and all the gentle ones at the Salvation Army.
8. Workhorse: Statements for visual artworks
No arms, no sight. I have lots to do and my sense of touch.
I bite off all that I can possibly handle plus more.
Everything gets done because time is only an idea.
I wear an apron trimmed with pearls from the sea to know there is no beginning.
9. Woman: A finale of becoming
Silence roars in quickly. Each thought is a breeze that lifts a lid open.
Public privacy joins inside with out.
Where I am to be and what I am to do is here. There is no need to race or wish.
Power passes without attention. Available, yet invisible.
linen with illustrations for Hearing, Heart, Mind, Voice, and touch,
Elliptic (hear, ear)
Galactic (see, eye)
Magnetic (intuition, heart)
Zenith (thoughts, mind)
Electric (speech, sound)
Gravity (touch, hand)
BOOKS OF SENSE
Mixed medium on cloth with embroidery and aged in stream for three seasons
DID YOU HEAR?
This is the place
No one is lost
You were born good
The world will never end
He will never leave you
Sparks fly from you
There is no stopping
Nobodys got you
You can lean further
The sand sings
How it repeats
Each can be
You can know things
That you are over it
You did the right things
Freedom is in you
It is time
Not to listen
HAVE YOU SEEN?
That the earth moves perfectly
The sun stays on
Clouds form neatly
waves splash on cue
The wind pass over
An awakening to touch
Stars reflect the distance
We are meant to travel light
All things work
Grace builds a way
A vision of a path
Together we share a day
The universe spin around
The doors in the ground
How natural it is
Tasks are adoring
Space filled with glory
Time turns us around
IS IT SAID?
We were ready
That this could be done
What breaks is fixed
Unity stirs giving
Mends restore hearts
Actions can move rocks
The earth changes shape
Long nights settle
Light rests in the shade
Life continues on
We raise our tones
Things happened all at once
It is inspiring to hear
A struggle worth enduring
We become our very best
It’s something pleasing
BOOK OF LEAVES
Apple, Ash, Aspen,
Elder, Elm, Eucalyptus,
Fig, Ginkgo, Hazel, Holly,
Maple, Oak, Olive, Palm, Pine, Willow
quilted book with photos printed on silk depicting elements
using Red Trees and World River cloth, printed tissue on textured paper, depicting symbols and packed into a birchbox.
circle, broken circle, 1/2 circle
moon, ying yang, spiral,
star, flower, everlasting
*alternative spelling, missing punctuation, and sequencing was
influenced by the letters and words available within the magazines and sometimes replied on phonetics.
Forthcoming: I Must Go, Reacts, Reasonings, Ladder Mantra,
Step Chants, Manuscript, Our Wedding words, Fane Manifesto
1990 Peppers, Seeds, and Rotting Vegetables
1996 What I painted when I could not paint
2005 For the Birds
2007 Butterflies are free
2011 The Year The Permafrost Softened
WORKS ON PAPER
1997 The Chase
1998 Dismantled Sketchbooks
1999 Ragdale Series
2000-2004 Collage Art
2000-2004 Figure Drawing
2000-2005 Project Art
2000 Spinning Plates
2002 Fan Collages
2001 Screaming In Places Where I Can't Be heard
2005-2006 The Story of the Universe
2008 Buddha Was Here
2009 Life On Hold (NFS)
2010-2016 The Demandments (NFS)
1995-1998 Sectioned panels
1997-1998 White Paintings and Furry Work
1998 Red Dot Series
2001-2009 Wax, Wire, Gold, Globe, and Glass
2001 How Things Pile Up
2002 Retablos, oil on metal
2002-present Project Items
Historic-present Fane Items
1550-1560 Ancestral Figure Drawings
2006 Negative to Positive
2007-present Four walls*
2010-present Teacups for Reading Tea Leaves
2000-present My Crates
2004 White Sands
2006 Blue Clouds
LIBRARY OF BOOKS 2000-present
Book of Days
The Ragdale Book
Box of Tears
Pocket Full of Cries
Retablos: How I Got From Here to Here
The Fane Pamphlet
Scroll of Influence
The Story of Red Trees
Red Trees History
Red Trees Chronicle
Red Trees Prayerbook
Red Trees Kakemono
Book of Leaves
Found: Journals from the future
Books of Sense
The Wedding Program
The Wedding Book
I Must Go
Book of Stairs*
The Studio Visit Playbill*
Flower Book 2*
Studio 1: Dayton and Blackhawk
Studio 2: Hubbard and House
Project scouting and on location
Works in progress
Exhibits, happenings, homes
Studio clippings and announcements
WORLD RIVERS PROJECT overview
World Rivers: Curtain
World Rivers: Participants
World Rivers: Rivers
World Rivers: Cloth
Visit the River Log
* documentation is forthcoming
This archive is a creative history spanning two decades.
The documentation is comprised of many technological
formats ranging from slides, 4x5s, photographs, and
straddles the introduction of digital formatting of the time.
The goal was to preserve images, whether high or low resolution.