September 6, 2023
In watercolor and gouache, a world of wonder unfolds in surreal paintings by Graham Franciose (previously). In his current exhibition What Is Inside the Tree Is Inside of You, It’s Inside of Me at Gallery Ergo in Seattle, the artist considers the climate of the Pacific Northwest, where he’s lived since 2017 and regularly hikes through the region’s temperate rainforests. “The life-to-death-to-life cycle has never been more apparent and obvious to me as it is illustrated by the numerous ‘nurse logs’ you will encounter on most trails up here,” Franciose says in a statement. He continues:
A (nurse log is a) fallen tree, or stump of a giant logged tree that has, in its decomposition, nurtured new life into existence. A new sapling sprouts from the remains, and eventually its roots will reach the ground, and it will continue to grow up and around the deteriorating lump of organic matter that helped bring it into existence.
Franciose’s fascination with the circle of growth, decay, and regrowth led to a series of works that focus on the inherent symbiosis between humans and the rest of the natural world. Figures sit on enormous logs, sprout botanicals from their bodies, and reach out to commune with glowing annual growth rings in enigmatic, metaphysical narratives. He says, “The pieces in the collection of work are not really essays about this subject but more visual poems, with the underlying thread rooted in the connection we have with plants and animals and the natural world as a whole.”
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