Subthemes

 

For me the theme,  "Tree of Life" appears to be too general a theme to grasp and make a meaningful work.  I felt  that the theme is so rich,  many different aspects of this theme can be investigated and developed as work of art.  So to be effective and examine many  different angles this theme can take,  I have found that it's best to work through developing various subthemes. Over many years,  over ten subthemes have come to exist in my Tree of Life works. Some subthemes like "Parts of the Tree" explore the visual shape  of  this Tree.  Others like "Mankind" and "People of the Tree" series speculate the relationship of Man with the Tree. Still in others like "Everyday Scenes-" , the commentaries on various subjects as politics, religion and cultures are discuss through fictional characters that reside in imaginary domain of the Tree of Life".

 

Here are subthemes that  have been developed to this date:

 

  1. Visions of the Tree of Life

  2. Parts of the Tree

  3. Forms from the Tree of Life

  4. Face Fruits

  5. Mankind

  6. People of the Tree

  7. Creatures of Past, Present and Futures to Come

  9. Scenes from the Everyday Life

10. Harvest Time

11. Tree of Life in All Seasons

12. Partial Views of the Tree of Life

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This photo shows a retrospective exhibition of my works in Japan. In it you could see examples of various subtheme that were stated above.  In front is a dinosaur that is part of "Creatures-" and also a part of "Partial View -". To the left behind a viewer is  a Leaf of "Parts of the Tree".  Tall orange figure belongs to "Mankind" series, and white figures in the backare part of " People of  the Tree".  Drawings on the wall are of  "Visions-" series and giant face and many small sculptures on the tablea are  "Face Fruit" .

 

 

Branches of the Tree- Vision of the Tree of Life (ink and wash on paper )
Branches of the Tree- Vision of the Tree of Life (ink and wash on paper )

1. Visions of the Tree of Life


These are group of two dimensional works such as drawings in ink and pencil or works in gouache and acrylic paints that attempt to visualize the forms or nature of the Tree of Life. Some of these are somewhat abstract, still others are quite surreal. Sometimes they come as narrative with illustrations. Most of the " Vision" works were done in the late 80's and throughout 90's, but I am in the mood to make some more in near future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trunk and a Plant of the Tree of Life
Trunk and a Plant of the Tree of Life

 2. Parts of the Tree of Life


Since Tree of Life is so large and so mythical, I have found it difficult to visualize so I have decided to sculpt various parts of the Tree.  Some of the forms you may be able to see as a part of tree, but other sculptures may look to you as something else.  They are only attempts so at first some images are too abstract and too vague to resemble parts of tree.  Overall, these tree parts tend to be organic and perhaps primeval in shape.  Most of these pieces were made in the late 90's. 

 

 

"Forms from the Tree of Life:Magical Dancer"  ; mixed medi including clay, branches and cotton fiber and cord, 2000
"Forms from the Tree of Life:Magical Dancer" ; mixed medi including clay, branches and cotton fiber and cord, 2000

3. Forms from the Tree of Life

 

This group consists of various works that have only a vague resemblance to the Tree of Life.  It includes somewht abstract forms that reminds one of leaves and branches.  It also include sculpture works such as "Talismans" and "Magical Knives made from the Tree of Life" that hints at supernaturalness of the Tree.  These are pieces that I make without too much thoughts behind them, but are fun to make.  Although not a major part of the Tree of Life works,  these pieces I believe do extend and provide additional dimension to the sculptural myth of Tree of Life that I am creating.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"J.J. Rosenbaum, class valedictorian", Face Fruits 2005-6 mixed media including clay, cotton cloth and cotton cord
"J.J. Rosenbaum, class valedictorian", Face Fruits 2005-6 mixed media including clay, cotton cloth and cotton cord

4. Face Fruits


Face Fuits' are one of the major subtheme in my Tree of Life works. They are the main product of my Tree of Life. They represent you and me and everyone else who has lived, is living and will live in futures to come.

 

I have been making Face Fruits since about 1998, and must have made colse to 150 pieces by now.  The pieces that I made in Japan are made of non-firing clay with cotton fibersand cotton cords and fillings and structural material inside.  Several groups of these were  made with the difference in exterior coating.  For example, some were finished with dominantly warnut color stain while others were finished with mahogany color. The most recent Face Fruits were made of mixture of cotton with wood glue.  These were then tied to a piece of wooden branches.

 

 

 

"On the Hill"  mixed media with clay, cotton fiber and a cotton cord, 2005
"On the Hill" mixed media with clay, cotton fiber and a cotton cord, 2005

5.Mankind


It will not be a story with just the Tree of Life which is basically a symbol for nature.  To be a story, interaction with mankind is needed; hece, this group of work.  In these works Man posed doing everyday  human activity.  Figures I have created for this series  appear to me as something in between sculpture and doll like form.  Each figure is  proportionionally exaggerated  to provide a certain expressive effect. For head to body relationship maybe 1to10 compare to more common 1:7or 1:8.   Among others, I had an image of medieval figures and Manneistic painting figures in mind when I made these pieces; however, I am not totally satisfied with the form and proportion I have given to Mankind piecesso far.  Most this group of works were done around 2001-5.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Minister walking a dog" mixed media with clay,  cotton cloth and cotton cord, 2007
"Minister walking a dog" mixed media with clay, cotton cloth and cotton cord, 2007

 6. People of the Tree


I have placed people in a Tree of Life setting with other creatures and and called this group of work, "People of the Tree".   Instead of being separate from nature as was the "Mankind" series, with these works, I wanted to relate mankind with nature.  In pieces  I have completed in Japan,  I sculpted branches as loopy organic form that encircles man, but in those that I am currently creating here in the United States, I am using actual branches of  trees and shrubs that are grown in my yard.   The works I've done in Japan of this series are from 2006 to early 2008.

 

 

 

 

 

"Crocodile of coming Future" about 5' in length, mix media, mostly clay with metal armature, 2006-7
"Crocodile of coming Future" about 5' in length, mix media, mostly clay with metal armature, 2006-7

7. Creatures of Past, Present and Futures to Come

 

Animals and other creatures are needed any 'story' about Tree of Life.  In this series various creatures both of present and past as well as of future are depicted.  So far there have only been few pieces in this series completed, and these depicted in fairly realistic manner.  In future, I hope to add other creatures, but perhaps not as realistically.  In addition, I hope to include creatures of imagination and of myths and tales as well into this group of work.

 

 

 

"Partial View of the Tree of Life " , 2011
"Partial View of the Tree of Life " , 2011

8. Partial View of the Tree of Life

 

Only few works of this type in sculpture have been created so far.  However, seven  2-d works on this theme were recently made. In these works, viewers are presented as though one  is peeking between branches or through a small segment of the Tree of Life.  As with other works of mine,  this type of work keeps evolving so each "Partial View -" piece may differ considerably from one another.

Detail of "Partial View of the Tree of Life#1" , ink, acrylic gouache, 2013
Detail of "Partial View of the Tree of Life#1" , ink, acrylic gouache, 2013

 

 

9. Scenes from Everyday Life of the Leaves and Branches of the Tree of Life

 

Scenes from Everyday Life is different than other works of mine in that each piece consists of sculpture, drawing (s) and a story.  The sculpture depicts a brief story which is my commentary on subjects such as religion, politics and culture. Characters from myths and scriptures as well as those of my inventions are introduced in these works both for the effect and to lighten the comment. The story is told as though incidents are occurring in a  world of the Tree.

In this example of Everyday Life work, " Empathy, Not Books Heal Myopia",  three pieces, the drawing above left, the sculpture above right and a story below together form one single piece. In these pieces, Sculpture usually depicts the Story itself, but  Drawing illustrates either prologue or epilogue of  the story.

The Story for " Empathy, Not Books heal Myopia"
The Story for " Empathy, Not Books heal Myopia"
"Face Fruits and Leaves and Branches of the Tree of Life-third version Harvest Time"
"Face Fruits and Leaves and Branches of the Tree of Life-third version Harvest Time"

 

 

10. Harvest Time

 

This is an image that I have been repeating number of times both as an object sculpture  and as an installation piece.  It refers to a time when all the Face Fruits ripens and the Tree of Life has a rich harvest.  In my myth, its a symbolical reference to the time in future when all souls mature and lights the heavenly sky.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Tree of Life in All Seasons- Summer"
"Tree of Life in All Seasons- Summer"

11.Tree of Life in All Seasons

 

Various types of Tree of Life are depicted to show how Tree looks  in various time of the year. Because of mini- scale, some parts such as tree branches are minute scale where as parts such as fruits and leaves are huge .This is reminiscent of  Japanese Bonsai Tree.