Object Record

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Object ID 2005.21.09
Object Name Print, Photographic
Date 04/19/2005
Description A printed photo that is a copy of painting done by artist Kathryn Freeman

see also Regeneration I, 2005.21.08.

Statement from artist:

The Fallen Tree Painting

For several years, I had been thinking about doing a painting that would symbolize the cycle of life through representing an ancient tree. A few years ago, at about 7 a.m., I heard a huge bang and the ground under my house in Chevy Chase actually shook. It was a clear and windless day, so I was curious about the noise. As I drove through the neighborhood on my way to the Corcoran, I saw what had happened. A huge tree had fallen on Beechwood Drive, straight across the street grazing a house on the opposite side. It was massive and lying on its side, looked like a fallen giant. I started thinking about all the generations of people in the Town that had known that tree either intimately or from afar and how one generation had planted the tree, several had watched it grow and now another had seen it fall. This experience inspired me to paint what I call " The Fallen Tree Paintings."
Both paintings depict a group of people representing all ages; from toddler to an older couple, gathered around the fallen tree. In Regeneration I, a child has just planted a young sapling, as an older woman stands and watches. Some young girls dance on the fallen tree, celebrating its longevity, while some young boys investigate its roots. To the left, several children try to stop a man with a chain saw from cutting it up and hauling it away. In Regeneration II, adolescent boys have dug a hole in the ground near the site of the fallen tree. An older couple hand a golden acorn, possible saved from the tree, to a little boy, who will plant it. A pregnant woman with some small children observes the ritual that is taking place, a simultaneous burial and rebirth. A tree falls, a seed is planted, and life continues.
The setting for both paintings was the Town of Chevy Chase. In Regeneration I, I used houses from Stanford Street and Walsh Street. Regeneration II is set in the front garden of a house at the corner of Leland Street and Meadow Lane. And as with all my paintings, the models are my neighbors.