A fixture of roadside art sales and the canvases of "The Joy of Painting" host Bob Ross, trees are among the more accessible and soothing art subjects. Why that's the case is a subject that's been occupying the time of cousins Michelle Ishida and Tera Stockdale.
The two artists and musicians have explored the emotional connection between trees and humans in songs by their band, the Ginger Lees, and by organizing the exhibition "All the Pretty Trees," which opens Friday at the DIY art space It Looks Like It's Open.
A song on the band's upcoming CD inspired the title of the show (they'll perform at the reception), and their studies in ecopsychology contributed to the pieces they're presenting.
Ishida, whose body of work includes the tree-inspired fashion line Starfish Designs, will show a fabric wall hanging depicting one of her favorite trees, which was recently marked for removal.
"What really caught my ear about ecopsychology is the idea that nature affects our overall emotional state. We can get depressed when we see forests cut down," Ishida said.
"The part that I thought about is human alienation from nature and how artists interpret that," Stockdale said.
She's working on an interactive element in which visitors can personalize a wax paper leaf and leave it on the gallery floor. As the leaves accumulate, they'll mark the "life cycle" of the weekend-long exhibition.
Other works include photographs by David Ike of human-tree interaction in the form of carved expletives, wood sculpture and video by Casey Bradley, and stencil art by Stephanie Rond that will cover half of the building's exterior in trees. A total of 30 artists will take over the intimate space, promising a forest-like density of things to see.
As Stockdale explained, "That's how I had originally envisioned this: All these different interpretations of trees, so you feel like you're in a forest of artwork."