Friday, December 23, 2011

Moving a Tree

Moving a Tree was a performance art piece staged in a courtyard in front of the SCOPE tent at Art Basel in Miami Beach. There were a few couches set up in the gavel courtyard for an audience. I sat on a comfy cushion to sketch as everyone else explored the art inside.

This is what the artist, Avery Lawrence, had to say about "Moving a Tree."
"For the last five years, my family and I watched as dementia overcame my grandfather. The act of witnessing and attempting to slow down his decay brought us together. He died in January. In the 'Moving a Tree' film, installation and performance, I explore the process of creating an homage that honors his life, his passing, and the relationship he forged with my grandmother over sixty years of marriage."

"There was a dying walnut tree on my grandparents property in Central Virginia. Through the process of moving it, I created a physical struggle that enabled me to contemplate my grandparents efforts to create a whole loving family and maintain their own compassionate relationship. The characters I portray in 'Moving a Tree' represent my grandmother and grandfather, and the installation recreates my idea of their home."

I assumed the artist would be doing the performance piece non-stop. As soon as I started sketching, he stepped off and disappeared. Where was the struggle, the inner turmoil and endless contemplation? I blocked in the treadmill and all the background elements, then I went inside the tent to see some art. When I returned, he still wasn't there but I had faith that my struggle to complete the sketch would be fulfilled. As I was applying washes, he did return and I quickly sketched him in, knowing he might disappear at a moments notice.

The SCOPE tent had some of the most inspiring art I saw that weekend. I found the work of Karim Hamid and I took my time exploring his work. Karim is an excellent draftsman whose work is part collage and part expressive oil paintings. He fragments and partly abstracts the human face and form. I saw his work last year at Art Basel and this year the colors were a bit more garish.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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