Egyptian Land Crocodile
Green Woman (Primavera)
Oracle Tree
Barn Owl
Eve & Apple Tree
Palm Tree Tango
Tree of Hope & Despair
Tree of Hope & Despair
Hanging Man

Hagen home page || missionCREEP.com

Tree Carpet Project

Photos of the Tree Carpet at Boulder in March '02.

Introduction by Susan Hagen

After admiring it in passing many times, one day in 1997 I was astounded by a certain Persian tree carpet in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This epiphany occurred at about the same time that I had started to study some historical books on gardens, Medieval botanicals and natural histories, and Persian miniatures and carpets. The image of a flying carpet, a portable paradise, had also been lingering somewhere in the back of my mind for a while. The Persian tree carpet seemed to tie it all together for me, and, in particular, the strong emphasis on trees in this paradise coincided remarkably with my interest in trees and wood. I immediately began the project with a series of tree/human sculptures. The use of wood, not only as the material, but as the subject of my sculpture had also begun to fascinate me. I should mention that wood sculpture has been my primary medium since 1983.

So I began to work interpretively with the PMA Persian tree carpet as a framework for a three-dimensional projection of a contemporary garden of earthly delights. The carpet provides a schematic plan for the installation, a guiding and ordering framework. The goal of my project is to create an installation of sculptural woodcarvings growing upward from the schematic carpet, not as a strictly literal progression, but as a personal and organic growth process. It will contain carved animals and plants, along with allegorical figures of trees and humans. The symmetry of the Persian tree carpet as well as the geometric-organic forms are two of the formal devices that I plan to use to connect the carvings with the bases and/or floor. These sculptures explore the idea of the garden of earthly delight, using various species of trees combined with human attributes, in a landscape of flora and fauna. This is an interpretive program, aiming to represent a three-dimensional projection of the tree carpet, translated into my own language of symbols.

The idea behind the project is the incorporation of sculptural objects into an articulated architectural context; the way sculptures were fully integrated into a medieval European cathedral. I plan to construct a large theatrical and architectural installation and incorporate both carved and painted components into it. The installation will guide the viewer through the gallery space using constructed elements, which are painted to heighten the emotional content of the exhibition. My desire is to create a fully articulated three-dimensional experience for the viewer, while drawing him/her into the unfolding of the theme in a drama of growth and transformation.

Many of the ideas in the Tree Carpet Project grew out of my ongoing artistic concerns. I'm interested reinterpreting traditional mythological and religious subjects through the eyes of a woman in contemporary America. My work over the past few years explores these themes using quirky narratives combining animals, plant life, humans and the divine. My sculptures aim to show the essential rootedness and spiritual connectedness of human beings to the world we live. Animal, plant, and human forms are interwoven, interdependent and firmly based on the earth. The Tree Carpet Project uses personal and symbolic narratives to articulate ideas about mortality and the spirit.

Photos of the Tree Carpet at Boulder in March '02.

Email: hagen@missioncreep.com.

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Hagen home page || missionCREEP.com

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