“Rings” is a temporary site-specific environmental artwork that was inspired in part by the W.S. Merwin prose poem “Unchopping a Tree.” In the writing, the author gives instructions for putting back together a tree that has been cut down, an impossible task. The written description becomes a metaphor for human intervention into the landscape, the ecology of natural systems and our impact on the natural world. What we have taken away or altered can rarely, if ever, be replaced or repaired to its original state.
“Rings” represents the metaphorical putting back together of a tree. Although the tree or even the full branch no longer exists, its parts are utilized to create another structure. The form was created by placing equal-length sections of a variety of different tree branches in a circular shape on the ground. The circular arrangement, sections and ring patterns suggest a number of different designs found in the natural world. The overall shape and multiplicity of textures also becomes a visual element in the landscape – to be looked at from a variety of vantage points in relationship to the human and natural elements that surround it, such as the concrete plant and the WaterShed facilities as well as the nearby foothills, trees, land and sky.
The project was supported by the Boise City Department of Arts and History, the Boise WaterShed and the Boise City Community Forestry Department.