“Trees for me are a symbol of strength, a metaphor of hope.” – Gretchen Treitz
Trees are important in the work of Gretchen Treitz, the form providing compositional structure while also expressing a highly spiritual theme. Everyone has heard of druids, but Treitz is following a longer, more complicated tradition of using the tree as a religious symbol; their endless cycle of renewal allows an easy metaphor for life, and the evergreen has often represented the eternal or divine for precisely its lack of a cycle of change. No death or renewal, but constant and unending life.
“I am amazed how trees seem to personify a perfect being in adversity. My current series of trees is an attempt to explore a reality beyond appearances. Like many artists from the past, I use nature, light, and celestial luminosity to search for the divine. Painting trees with silver leaf not only highlights their shape but also calls forth the universal tension between matter and spirit. I engage trees to approach the spiritual realms of the wilderness, the cosmos, and the mysteries of the soul. Trees for me are a symbol of strength, a metaphor of hope. Silver leaf, white gold leaf, and aluminum leaf emulate a kind of ethereal light. I utilize these materials to represent the delicate vulnerability of sky, wind, atmosphere, and other environmental factors. Other times I manipulate these metal leaves and watercolor to embody the wonder of the life energy of a tree’s progression against these forces.”
Treitz was just a part of Painting Exhibition #1 at Galerie Hertz in Louisville, and in 2016 participated in Aqueous, Kentucky Watercolor Society, Actor’s Theater, Louisville, and in Horizon: Contemporary Landscape, Community Arts Center, Danville, KY.
The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn New York
National Westminster Bank, New York, New York
Hilliard-Lyons Collection, Louisville, KY
Holcomb Farm Permanent Collection, Granby, CT
Private Collections in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Michigan
Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Education: BFA, Stephens College, Columbia, MO; MFA, Brooklyn College, City University of New York
Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.