magdalena hill

mixed media Plywood holes I 2009 I Port Angeles

Plywood holes

(installed in Port Angeles)


Plywood Holes consists of a series of silhouettes or cut-outs derived from the standard square/rectangle form of ply-wood. I used simple (iconic) positions of the body as it seeks balance doing particular exercises/activities. These act as points of departure to explore larger issues of balance. Quite different but related to the balance of the human body is the “balance” of a tree—how does a tree stand up so to speak? Although we know there are roots (which replace an animals ability to shift weight for balance), we nevertheless see trees sometimes in awkward positions of balance. This may be caused by harsh winds over long periods of time, or neighboring trees looking for a little more underground real estate. In a similar vein there is of course the encroachment of man-made materials that affect the root system and therefore the balance and growth of trees.

Bending Bending (mock-up)

The idea of Plywood Holes is to play between and amongst the literal and metaphorical balancing of the human body (humankind) and the balancing of trees (nature). The placement of these “holes” asks who is supporting what and where is the balance--where does the gravity (of the situation) land? Although we see a silhouetted figure (a cut-out) in a plank of wood, we quickly understand that the figure is negative space—it is gone (something like in a ‘toon when the rabbit is led into a painted tunnel and crashes through the tree leaving the outline of their body). The (ply)wood is returned to the forest (for the trees) with the sign “I was here” which in this case is a position, a posture, a pose of support. The “working words” of this symbiosis might be support, wedge, stand up, lean, rooted, bend, link, cut, twine, here, there—all of which continue their individual yet intwined etymological journeys from the roots down to the roots up making up for lost trees.

Sitting Sitting (mock-up)