Sculptural assemblages made from cast-off tree branches by Therese Zemlin, who teaches in the art department at Phillips Academy and has a studio in Lawrence, are now on exhibit at the Gelb Exhibition Gallery in George Washington Hall at the Academy.
The exhibit is named "Return to the Place You Already Are" and opened April 8. It runs through May 11. An opening reception and gallery talk by the artists was held April 10.
Zemlin teams with artist Bob Erickson in the exhibit. Erickson taught printmaking, drawing, and contemporary art issues at the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point from 1990 to 2015. He currently lives and works as an independent artist in the Adirondack Park located in upstate New York.
Walking in the woods is clearly an artistic inspiration for both artists as they each present a unique, non-mundane look at walking in the woods and observing what surrounds them.
“I build most of the sculptural components for my assemblages and installations from cast-off tree branches collected on walks in the woods and across campus," Zemlin said. "The sticks and twigs become a part of my studio practice, reconfigured as geometric forms based on the five Platonic Solids, and as stand-ins for molecular structure, neurons, engineered plants, and the human hand as an interloper in the forces and balances of nature."
Erickson was less scientific in his description.
"When I walk in the woods, I see branches arching over a bed of moss as it clings to a granite outcropping," he said. "I feel a gust of wind and hear the cracking of hemlocks. I notice the morning sun on birch bark and the evening shadows on oak leaves. At the edge of a mountain brook, roots make their way through the black soil around splintered rocks and piles of pine needles. I smell life and death in the earth. I remember this time and all the times I have been in the woods."
IF YOU GO
WHAT: "Return to the Place You Already Are" exhibit
WHO: Artists Bob Erickson and Therese Zemlin
WHERE: Gelb Exhibition Gallery, George Washington Hall, Phillips Academy, 5 Chapel Ave., Andover
WHEN: Now through May 11
COST: Free admission; the gallery is open during school business hours and is accessible to all.