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Keith lemley

This installation is a grove of objects that have been carved with my chainsaw out of dead ash trees I felled around my studio along the Cuyahoga River watershed. The emerald ash borer has devastated ash tree populations across the US and I personally have taken down many dead ash that have been wiped out by the borer’s larvae. The objects are a way to visualize the destruction and to remember something that is gone and will never be the same. Like the pandemic, what is lost cannot be brought back and we are forever changed. 

The shapes of the objects are based on the architecture and shapes of the trees themselves. A softer free-form geometry than some of my previous work, they visualize systems of layering, accumulation, connection, and transference. In some places I have left visible the distinctive trails of the borer. Hand-bent white neon tubes accentuate the shapes and surfaces of the wood while imparting an ethereal atmosphere. Light, as both particle and wave, is simultaneously an extension of the object and an experiential phenomenon of the viewer and their senses. The neon and wood objects combine to create a forest installation that serves as a monument to loss.

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