He Speaks For the Trees

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The Los Angeles City Beat looks at a new exhibition by underground artist Mark Ryden. Ryden’s new show at the Kohn Gallery is called “The Tree Show”, and as you might suspect, it makes trees a central theme.

“The Tree Show has something for everyone. From Ryden’s symbiotic relationship with Abraham Lincoln to his love of symbols, numerology, and historical references, to his kitsch diorama, you won’t leave unhappy. Confused, maybe, but art is supposed to make you think. Ryden’s trees are displayed as being both subjugated by and victorious over humanity.”

Considering the subject matter it isn’t too surprising that pagan themes pop up repeatedly in Ryden’s show. In the City Beat interview he seems to display a genuine sympathy for pagan ideas.

“Allegory of the Four Elements” by Mark Ryden

“Trees, like the giant sequoias, can inspire religious awe in people … The show is about our relationship to nature, when Christianity plowed over paganism, man was seen as dominant over nature, and we lost our spiritual connection to the natural world around us. The very first deities humans recognized were forest spirits…”

He even has a child-doll Cernunnos figure (which can be seen in this series of photos) as a central installation of the show (in addition to other horned-god and earth goddess imagery). More photos can be seen at Flickr. The show runs from March 10th to April 28th.