Trees for Life Exhibition

Nancy Stevens

Artist’s Statement:
Growing up in cities, my knowledge of trees was limited. I visited parks on the West Coast, marveling at the size of the great Douglas Firs, and regularly walked the groomed paths of Point Pleasant Park in Halifax. I was able to recognize different species and was aware that the forest was a place that pleasantly affected my physical senses and imagination but not my curiosity.
However, my home for the last 25 years has been in rural Nova Scotia where from every window I see trees.  I have planted trees, watched them grow and thrive and I have seen trees die, eventually returning to the forest floor and providing light and nourishment for seedlings to begin their life cycle.  Living where I do, where broad leaf and needle-bearing species are intermingled, I have also witnessed the effects of climate change.
As we experience the overwhelming effects of global warming, we know that our survival is dependent on the health of our forests.  Using my skills and imagination, I have completed ten paintings representing a variety of trees in the Acadian Forest region of the Maritime Provinces. The economical and ecological value of each species is indicated as well as their past glory and unknown future.  A single tree’s history is determined by soil conditions, environment, disease, weather events, and climate. 
Each painting focusses on one species and design elements are used to illustrate and question each one’s story.  The silhouette of the tree is encircled with a broad ring which can be seen as both symbolic and decorative.  Landscape imagery may be interpreted literally or politically, whereas layered colour and evolving patterns could be warning signs.
“Trees For Life”, my pathway through the Acadian Forest, has been a meditation on our planet’s future.
Nancy Stevens
The exhibition runs from October 15 to November 30, 2020.

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