Tree Figures

Joseph Wheelwright’s catalog, Tree Figures
Featuring Fruitlands Ongoing Exhibition of Giant Tree Sculptures through 10/31/2010

Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, Massachusetts announces the release of Joseph Wheelwright’s catalog, Tree Figures, published by the Allan Stone Gallery in New York.

The catalog includes spectacular photos of the eight monumental sculptures installed at Fruitlands through November, 2010 as well as the smaller sculptures that form the Branching Out exhibit on display in the Ell Gallery at Fruitlands Museum Farmhouse.

"Joseph Wheelwright’s enigmatic sculpture has confounded critics since it first appeared more than thirty years ago in New England galleries. By turns whimsical and disturbing, the work eludes classification. But there is one thing everyone who spends time with it knows: it is uncanny. According to Webster’s Dictionary, the term means mysterious or unfamiliar, especially in such a way as to frighten or make uneasy; preternaturally strange; eerie; weird, and so good, acute, etc. as to seem preternatural; as uncanny shrewdness. Freud’s analysis comes closer still. In his 1919 article, 'The Uncanny,' he might have been describing Wheelwright’s art when he wrote of an ancient and deeply embedded 'aesthetic emotion' aroused by the animation of the inanimate, particularly when the familiar is transformed into the unfamiliar, as in the dread of dolls and manikins coming to life at night. This goes to the heart of Wheelwright’s genius, for he has always taken the most ordinary of objects and endowed them with a peculiar living presence. Whether his figures are made of boulders, branches, or whole trees, there is a creeping sense that when we turn our backs on them they move."

From Susan Landauer’s essay The Weird and Uncanny World of Joseph Wheelwright from Tree Figures.