Picture Show: Topsy Topiary
The San Francisco Bay Area is home to no shortage of natural beauty-from its rugged coastline to its lush hillsides to its...
The San Francisco Bay Area is home to no shortage of natural beauty-from its rugged coastline to its lush hillsides to its rain-covered mountains. However, it's also a densely populated metropolis, where the interaction between infrastructure and nature produces some seriously strange results. Take Alan George's photographic exploration, "Domesticated," for which he scoured the Bay Area in search of trees so removed from nature, so strangely manicured, so blatantly objectified, that their very presence seems utterly preposterous. The images not only evoke a sense of forlornness, but also reveal an odd functionality, one that helps to differentiate the series from other topiary explorations."I'm approaching it with a sort of German or deadpan perspective and aesthetic," says George. "When you look at the trees, you might even feel sorry for them, but then maybe you realize the ridiculousness of that. So I hope it's balanced by a bit of humor." Indeed, the images manage to toe a line between silliness and poignancy. But as absurd as some of these domesticated trees appear, tucked into crowded street corners in tiny plots of dirt, they nevertheless endure, growing proudly amid the backdrop of the city.
A version of this series (set to music) was recently shown at a San Fransisco edition of one of our favorite ongoing art projects, the Slideluck Potshow. Take a look here.