Welsh Oaks #1
(Canadian, born Abbotsford, British Columbia, 1949)
226.1 x 182.9 cm (89 x 72 in.)
Purchase, Alfred Stieglitz Society Gifts, 2002
Rights and Reproduction:
© Rodney Graham
Not on view
Graham, an artist from Vancouver who works in a variety of mediums, built a giant pinhole camera and parked it in front of twelve different trees for one month in 1979. The public was invited to enter the camera to view the luminous image of the tree cast upside-down on the camera's back wall. In the early 1990s he again approached the subject, this time photographing ancient oaks in the English countryside. Inverted on gallery walls, the impressively large prints suspended the trees as if in the mind while insistently recalling the constructed aspect of all artistic representation. In 1998 Graham produced his definitive work on this theme, a series of seven monumental images of Welsh oaks printed on color paper to produce warm deep sepia and charcoal hues. The almost hallucinatory transformation wrought by the inversion of these images is profound, as disorienting as if the ground were to become transparent, branches become roots, and the sky fall.