María Elena González’s Forest (2022) is a three-channel audio and video installation commissioned by the Vincent Price Art Museum at East Los Angeles College. The installation coalesces both the materials and lines of thinking present throughout the artist’s Tree Talk series. It incorporates three original audio and video recordings from the artist’s Skowhegan Birch series, each presented on an individual vertical monitor representing a tree on its own, to assemble a new conceptual object: a sonic forest. As the installation’s three audio files play over and over, they fall out of sync to produce a polyphonic and asynchronous melody, a truly unique and never-ending composition of nature anchored within the gallery.
While Tree Talk inspired numerous artworks by González, it also provided an opportunity for a sustained reflection on nature, listening deeply to the earth to understand the importance of environmental sustainability and our collective role in the planet’s stewardship.
Moreover, Forest serves as a model for combating excessive waste, particularly within the art world. The installation, consisting of three monitors and materials borrowed from the museum’s existing inventory, was disassembled after the exhibition with all parts returned to the museum, ready for usage for future exhibitions and programs.
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