Ulmeus Communitas/ Elm Community by Frank Livingston
Opening: March 10, 7:30pm
In the past five years, three young Winnipeg artists have been making their presence known in the community and have developed impressive lists of exhibits and collections. We are pleased to show some of their current work at the Gallery.
artworks are a response to the loss of trees in his neighbourhood. He says, “Ulmeus Communitas/Elm Community" began as a series of street art interventions – wheat pastes of trees – in Winnipeg’s Wolseley neighbourhood. Motivated by a desire to commemorate the loss of historic elm trees (from Dutch Elm Disease) I sought to reflect on this organic demise with representational trees. The sites I chose for the placement of these trees were the abject and benighted surfaces that populate our neighborhoods such as dumpsters, signal boxes and transformer boxes. Each wheat paste tree was drawn by hand in sections with separate trunks and clusters of leaves that would form the canopy. The trunks and leaves were filled with stylized design elements, many of them geometric, rendered with permanent marker, which re-inscribes the built and constructed nature of trees and landscape. Painted with watercolour in a range of green hues, autumnal yellows, oranges, pinks, and reds the leaves were applied separately.
The ripples and bubbles of the wheat-paste are intentional gestures to the original street art. Those works were done quickly, stealthily, and in the dark. I did not want to lose that sense of urgency by creating smooth and exacting decoupage. As a result I worked quickly, duplicating as best I could the method and process of the street art.
The paintings that form Ulmeus Communitas reference their street art origins in their construction, materials, and dimensions. These trees are not realist representations but rather references to trees as iconic forms. All the tree trunks are decorated with non-organic designs that gesture to the manufactured and manipulated conditions that structures bio-organic life in the contemporary world.”