“A tree against the sky possesses the same interest, the same character, the same expression as the figure of a human.”The trees have always been an integral part of my life and my artistic endeavours. I grew up among nature, surrounded by trees in my grandparents’ garden, which to a child that I was seemed truly magical. The trees transported me to a different reality, where I felt like in a fairy tale. After some time I started to treat them not so much as the elements of landscape, but as independent entities with their own souls, thoughts and feelings. They became for me what can be called Human Trees.
Now, living in the modern world and watching the fast pace of life, I still think the same about trees. They maintained those characteristics I remember from the past. However, my attitude towards them has changed and my feelings evolved. With time my innocent admiration for the trees turned into appreciation of the help and protection they offer until finally I began to feel small and insignificant when compared to or confronted with the majestic and ever-present beings. All these kinds of relations and feelings I tried to express in my “Human Trees” series of paintings.
The emotions depicted are especially relevant to two different life periods – childhood and adulthood. The boy standing in front of a great tree wall is trying to understand why the trees inside are so tall; he personifies them and in his eyes they become giant, rustling guards. Suddenly, a strange thought appears in the boy’s mind. He feels the amazing atmosphere and the fresh bright leaves attract him strongly. He just wants to be immersed in the act of smelling the blooming flowers, but he can’t for some reason. The brick wall creates a distance and separates the everyday world from one which is enchanted. This wall symbolizes obstacles we encounter later in our lives.
The diptych and triptych compositions are filled with plenty of greenish-yellow and bluish leaves and with brightly illuminated figures, which I associate with protection. The natural tree curtain in both light conditions – the strong sunset and the soft midday – provides a specific umbrella which guarantees safety. In this way, the relation with trees moves beyond a mere co-existence: we understand that our life depends on a particular tree.
The “Gardener” painting is the only one in which I wanted to show that sometimes the ways of humans and trees go in the same direction and create a new being. Arranging his own garden inside the forest, the gardener decided not to destroy the area he found, but to use trees as live helpers in his plant cultivation. His rose sprang out from the old trunk and a new beauty was born. The painting depicts more than a metaphysical dialogue with trees – it draws our attention to the mutual dependence between humans and trees.
Another diptych titled “Italy” tells the story of the passing time. The relation between man and trees is very mature here. The figures standing against the background of huge, old and noble cypresses identify with them. They are similar in their experience and know a lot about life, but they still cannot achieve complacency. Their green neighbours seem to have this wisdom. Out of all the trees depicted in my painting, the Italian cypresses seem most human to me because they take on the role of confidants.
All these thoughts urged me to take the “Human Trees” subject in this project. The situations presented in my paintings really happened in the past so they’re authentic. They left a trace in my mind and using my imagination I tried to transfer them onto the canvas to give a greater significance to them.