“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity, and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.” - William Blake, 1799.
Conversations with Trees is a collaboration between artist Yeo Shih Yun and trees across Singapore. The works were first presented at Esplanade’s Jendela Visual Arts Space in Singapore in February 2011 and subsequently at the Singapore Art Museum in 2012. The exhibition featured a multi-media presentation of drawings, photographs, films, silkscreen paintings, and a video installation.
In this project, Shih Yun tests the influence of external physical and metaphysical forces - wind and chance - on the glorious mark-making process. At random intervals, she attaches Chinese brushes dipped in Chinese ink to the tips of branches of trees in various settings across Singapore and allows the movement of the wind to create the marks. The resulting “tree drawings” are then selected and transferred onto silkscreens. The silkscreens are subsequently used to create abstract paintings on linen of various sizes.
This series of works continues to explore the mystical aspects of the drawing process (accidental and impermanent manifestations) in her works. Each work in Conversations with Trees celebrates nature, the medium, and playfulness. It invites contemplation of the process and what the viewer imprints onto them.