THE GIVING TREE

Ron Fondaw's work "The Giving Tree" belongs to a distinguished and extensive group of adobe structures that the artist has created over the years. This work is a site-specific sculpture, its form is inspired by the shape of the tree around which it is built. Its three walls are related to the three main branches that extend from the lower part of the trunk, and these walls could almost be seen as supporting the massive growth of the tree. From one side the sculpture offers an extensive, fragmented and intensely pigmented expanse of wall, on the other side the structure forms two chambers that alternate bare and colored areas of wall whose surface is enlivened with pieces of branches or twigs that seem to grow out of it. The use of pigment does not only serve as a visual element, but also has a meterial quality. The artist has worked the natural pigment into a layer of wet plaster that provides body to the color and as such allows it to function as a sculptural element of the whole structure. The work is temporary; it is made from materials such as dirt and straw that weather quickly. As a result the sculpture will chamge its appearance over time, colors will fade or alter, pieces might fall off. This process is intended and reflects the artist's concept of the impermanent nature of the world we live in. Also the fragmented appearance of the walls, their compartmentalized appearance, stems directly from the artist's view of life and nature. He sees everything as part of a greater whole, but we are only able to absorb this world in small pieces. Our mind constructs memory in fragments and we are only capable to retain details of our past experience.

Cornelia Homburg
Curator of Modern Art
The Saint Louis Art Museum Catalog