Oak I, Volterra, Tuscany
Transmounted monochromatic C-Print
190,5 x 238,7 cm
Rodney Graham's inverted tree photographs refer to artist’s interest in the camera obscura, a camera that preceded conventional photography by several hundred years. A camera obscura inverts an image, this providing the inspiration for Graham’s work even though his photographs were taken with a conventional view camera and sharp lens.
The upside-down delivery is also rooted in Graham’s interest in symbolism. “I created an inverted tree because I wanted to talk about man’s skewed experience of nature inside a functional architectural space in the middle of a landscape,” he said in a 1992 interview for Art and Antiques magazine. Fellow artist Jeff Wall has also noted Graham’s interest in trees as being linked to the massive deforestation of British Columbia and the tree’s romantic symbol as unity with the natural world, as well as an emblem of the nobility of man within nature.