Ramesh Ramakrishnan Iyer and Joan Marie Kelly: Bark and Flesh

Two artists Ramesh Ramakrishnan Iyer, artist-in-resident and guest artist Joan Marie Kelly, share their work in a combined exhibition looking at interventions between the lives of humans and the lived experiences of trees. Both artists examine mankind’s shared habitat from a perspective of our reciprocal relationship with trees.  Cycles of birth, life, and transformation, are witnessed and depicted through the body of a tree. Unseen roots claim their own territory without man's rules and constraints. They hold securely, deep into the soil. Above the ground, vestige of tree bodies recount histories, memories and landscapes now reconfigured. Chopped, Sprayed, burnt, manicured or long forgotten the tree navigates man’s desires, false needs, and social standards.
Ramesh Ramakrishnan Iyer’s black and white photographs recount nightly expeditions into the urban tree’s witness of our lives. As we move past them with masks and ear plugs, they loom above us without our notice. They are flattened stumps, hacked into a diminished existence no longer able to provide homes for birds but instead provide rampant terrain for worms and insects and newly sprouted.

Joan Marie Kelly paints the tree’s relationship to human life, be it devastated landscape transforming into a new birth or the tree functioning as protection, storefront or products sold to support livelihoods. She reimagines her own state of mind and emotions embodied in the anatomy of a tree.

Together these two artists visualize a discourse and reconstruct the tree from observed experiences and noticed transformations while bringing attention the importance and value of forest, sapling seedling and shrub in the wilderness or the city street.


This exhibition ran from 17 October - 8 November 2020.