Sudden Oak Death, Dog Mauling 2001

mixed media

This piece was created in response to the sudden oak tree bacteria that has been rapidly killing oak trees in California. I was first drawn to understand more about the diseased trees when I read an article in the newspaper. Next to the oak tree article was a story about a San Francisco women who was mauled to death by a dog. These two violent acts were happening concurrently by two predators that appeared to be relatively harmless, that blended into their communities, and from what seemed like nowhere, attacked another life form. I created the installation as a means to tie the two occurrences together. The piece consisted of 12 photographs of oak trees on 13” circular disk mounted on the wall as floating cells or memory bubbles. The cube of oak circles satisfied my desire to demonstrate the transformative power of materials by the decomposition of one structure as the means to build another. The white double-cone sculpture is what the bacteria resemble when looked at under a microscope and the miniature cast dog (sized by level of destruction as compared to that of the fungi) sat on a carpet made of over 2,500 silk leaves.

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