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Art

#acrylic painting
#climate crisis
#nature
#oil painting
#painting
#Shyama Golden
#trees

January 4, 2023

Kate Mothes

“Intertwined” (2020), acrylic on canvas, 48 x 48 inches. All images © Shyama Golden, shared with permission

On the banks of the Martha Brae River in Jamaica, artist Shyama Golden noticed greenery that appeared like lovers embracing. She “started to see these anthropomorphic vine-covered trees everywhere, taking on the forms of various archetypes.” The scenes inspired a series of paintings titled With or Without Us that merges facets of landscape and portrait painting into verdant works expressing nature as a social entity.

The Los Angeles-based artist’s practice is influenced by myriad sources, especially literature and everyday experiences. “Sometimes the idea can come from reading, and sometimes I take inspiration directly from life, but I often do research to add more details as I go, even if the original idea didn’t come from anything I read,” she tells Colossal. With or Without Us takes cues from Richard Powers’ 2019 novel The Overstoryan evocation of the natural world comprised of interlocking narratives in which each character is deeply connected to trees.

For this series, Golden was fascinated by the invisible means in which trees communicate with each other using a network of soil fungi, an ecological survival mechanism that is under threat from deforestation and impacts of the climate crisis. By combining recognizable portrait imagery redolent of family photographs, headshots, or the art historical vogue for reclining female figures, Golden reimagines the leafy denizens of forests as individuals with distinctive personalities and relationships.

Find more of Golden’s work on her website and Instagram.

 

A painted portrait of figures or trees cloaked in vines.

“Familiar Phantasm” (2021), oil on canvas, 60 x 60 inches

A painted portrait of figures or trees cloaked in vines.

Detail of “Familiar Phantasm”

A painted portrait of a figure or tree cloaked in vines.

“The Hero” (2021), oil on panel, 48 x 48 inches

A painted portrait of a reclining figure or tree cloaked in vines.

“The Muse” (2021), oil on canvas, 60 x 40 inches

A painted portrait of a figure or tree cloaked in vines.

“Blue” (2021), acrylic on canvas, 48 x 48 inches

A detail of a painted portrait of figures or trees cloaked in vines.

Detail of “Intertwined”

#acrylic painting
#climate crisis
#nature
#oil painting
#painting
#Shyama Golden
#trees

 

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