Larch, Spruce, Fir, Birch, Hand,
Blast Hole Pond Road, Newfoundland 2007– (ongoing)


medium: a series of black & white photographs, selenium-toned silver prints.
dimensions: image size each 10½ x 15½ inches (27 x 39 cm); framed 20 x 24 inches (51 x 61 cm).
collection: Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Provincial Art Bank.

My greatest aspirations are presently constituted by the six acres of boreal forest that I inhabit, and I'm slowly tuning my body and my reflexes to its details. I'm coming to know this habitat by engaging with it in various ways: corporally, emotionally, intellectually, instinctively, linguistically, and in astonishment.

This series of black and white photographs concerns the inter-relationship of three entities: first, individual native trees; second, their context in the collective of the forest system; and third, the human perceiver, as manifested by the gesture of my hand touching the tree trunks.

I'm interested in the particularity of each tree - its "thisness" (haecceitas) — and the circumstances that bring me to discern certain trees amongst the thousands in this forest. Even when I'm being my most attentive, there are still many trees I have not yet noticed enough to remember as individuals.

This work harkens back to one I did in 1983 when I photographed my hand — which was 24 years younger — on 22 ancient standing stones on various islands of the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. Now, instead of travelling to distant sites to find subject matter, I'm paying attention over a long period of time to the place where I live and familiarizing myself with the multitude of trees here.

I believe that aesthetics plays an important role in environmental considerations, and vice versa. Trying to integrate my life and my artwork has resulted in the deliberate slightness of my artistic gesture. My aim is to achieve an aesthetic stance in collaboration with the landscape that surrounds me. In responding to this landscape, I'm becoming more and more sensitive to the vivid, ephemeral nature of being.

Each year I continue the series of photographs with about nine trees that have come to my attention. But what I should say is my attention has come to them—either because of their location or because of something that happened.

Marlene Creates, 2007 & 2010

A live-art film including this work is available:
The Tolt, the Droke, and the Blast Hole Pond River with Marlene Creates