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OPEN SOURCE: Artist talk with Chris Barnard at Possible Futures
October 29 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Join us for an artist talk with Chris Barnard at Possible Futures!
Exhibition: Armillaria, Works by Chris Barnard is on view Aug 31, 2022- Oct 31, 2022
Open Tuesday – Saturday 11:00AM-6:00PM
Local artist, Chris Barnard, will talk about the paintings displayed together in the space – a cross-section of work from across many years, all tied together by the show’s title and conceptual anchor, Armillaria. You can read a bit more below and, if intrigued, join us!
Chris lives in the neighborhood and makes paintings in his studio in West Haven. He teaches painting and drawing to college students to pay the bills. He makes paintings whenever he can. His paintings are a mix of beautiful and terrible, a lot like the James Baldwin’s description of United States history. He also loves to garden and to grow and give away tomatoes and lavender.
Armillaria, more commonly know as root rot, is an apt metaphor for the particular and corrosive American affliction that is Whiteness.
Parasitic and affecting hundreds of species of plant in every one of these United States, armillaria’s impacts depend upon the severity of infection and the susceptibility of its hosts.
Passed from generation to generation, or from tree to tree when roots approach under cover of soil, it is most potent to those weakened by competition, pathogen, or climate stress. While some symptoms evade the eyes, for many a middling or still-majestic tree, they will sometimes manifest in yellowing and dried leaves, shriveling fruit, stunting of height, defoliation and dieback. They will almost always and readily reveal themselves at the tree’s base, where the disease earns more evidently via clusters of whitish mushrooms its colloquial name.
Being human, we have much in common with trees. We, too, are upright, limbed, crowned. We, too, need water, sunlight, air. The branching of our lungs, which keep us breathing on this planet,
is both delicate and resilient all at once, resembling in form and function the root systems keeping trees anchored and alive.
We are also humbled by trees, which carry deeper meaning for us, or at least they should. Not only do we rely on them—for oxygen, shade, shelter—in ways they do not rely on us, but they have borne witness to much of our brutality.
There were trees watching in Ferguson. Trees in along the last path Trayvon walked. Trees shading those front yards in McKinney, Texas. Trees planted into the Bay Street sidewalk on Staten Island, and larger ones in Thompsonville Park across the way. Trees in Cudell Recreation
Center, trees along University Drive in Prairie View, Texas, trees beyond the car windows in Falcon Heights. Just as there have been trees in Mississippi (“goddamn!”) and just about everywhere else, well before the kind of documentation and dissemination that technology allows…
From Armillaria & Art, by L. Anderson, published in the online magazine Entropy in 2017.