The idea for this portfolio was seeded when I came across a wooden disk, a slice of a tree some 15 inches in diameter and not quite 3 inches thick. It was an arborist’s specimen of an ash tree. I now call it the Ash Medallion.
What captured my interest were the concentric rings on the medallion’s face. Their irregular pattern resembled a fingerprint. I see in these rings a reflection of my own flesh and blood.
The medallion’s pattern may be unique and identify a particular tree, but it also speaks of a history shared by all trees in the surrounding woods. The very lines that differentiate one individual among many, also describe how the many are, collectively, one. And so it is with identity.
Life’s forces imprint upon each of us a traceable pattern. We come to know ourselves by this trace. These tree rings, this fingerprint, become inseparable from who we are.
Identity can express differentiation. But we humans are far more alike than we are different.
We also invest in identity to nurture a common interest. In focusing on the fleshiness, imperfection, worldliness, weathering, and implied gesture of human hands, I hope to find the forest in every tree.