Ann Wessmann: Gathering: Homage to Tree and Home

May 5-30, 2021
Opening Reception: (following socially distanced guidelines) Friday, May 7, 2021, 5:00-8:00 pm

  • Ann Wessmann

    Gathering #1, horse chestnut hulls and waxed linen thread, dimensions variable, approximately 108 x 50 x 12 inches, 2019.

    Gathering #1
  • Ann Wessmann

    Gathering #1 (side/back view), horse chestnut hulls/husks, 108 x 50 x 12 inches, 2019.

    Gathering #1
  • Ann Wessmann

    Gathering #2, horse chestnut leaf stems, waxed linen (woven), 25 x 30 x 2 inches, 2019.

    Gathering #2

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Artist Statement

In my studio practice, I explore themes relating to time, memory, beauty and the ephemeral, with a focus on the strength and fragility of human beings and the natural world. With a background in fiber and textile processes, I develop objects and installations through repetition and the accumulation of a variety of materials. Over the years materials have been chosen for their expressive potential; translucent vellum, various personal mementos such as locks of hair from family members, texts from family journals and letters, or collections of natural materials such as plants, shells, stones, or bones. The works have a strong relationship to text and textiles, pattern, transformation, order and chaos, landscape and the body.

I hope to engage the viewer through the physicality and often the emotional resonance of materials and through the use of scale. Viewers often confront works which mirror the human body. Larger scale installations may surround the viewer. In some cases small pieces are made requiring the viewer to look from a very close perspective.

While the work may begin as a personal commemoration of the life of a family member or a place or in the current work, a tree, my hope is that the work will have universality and will remind viewers of their own history and relationships.

In this small Project Space exhibition, Gathering: Homage to Tree & Home, I continue to explore and develop the content and ideas from my previous show in 2019, Gathering: An Homage. I pay tribute to trees in a broad sense, while focusing on a singular horse chestnut tree which is of particular importance to me. I have come to developing this body of work after going through a process of observation and discovery, gathering and sorting the many objects that fall to the ground from this special tree, such as leaves, flowers, twigs, nuts, hulls. These are important but generally overlooked and discarded materials and in fact the horse chestnut is sometimes referred to as a nuisance tree because there is so much debris that in a manicured home needs to be swept up.

The works in this show are all gathered from the various plant materials that fell from one of a pair of horse chestnut trees, in the yard of the home where I grew up in Scituate. These trees have been a part of my life for almost 68 years and the objects in this exhibition serve as homage to the trees that have existed for so many years, going through their cycle of life as I go through mine. The work also serves a memorial for one of the trees which after many years of decline died a couple of years ago.

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