Exhibit: Tree Of Life: Connecting The World
Traverse City artist Mary Fortuna explores the Tree Of Life | Connecting The World in a mixed media installation at the Glen Arbor Arts Center. This small show runs January 5 – April 25, 2024 in the GAAC Lobby Gallery.
Fortuna’s years-long exploration of the mythic Tree Of Life continues with this rendition of the ancient image. The tree symbolizes the many ways in which life is connected. “Stories of a great tree that symbolizes our connection to the world around us, and to the supernatural world, appear everywhere throughout our history,” she said. The Tree Of Life that will “grow” in the GAAC’s Lobby Gallery is populated with animals, birds and insects. Each one is a hand-sewn soft sculpture.
“The hours of repetitive hand stitching, embroidery and beading are as close as I come to a spiritual or meditative practice,” she said. Fortuna’s creatures are an unmistakable celebration of hand work, each one articulated using layers of thick wool felt, silk, and other fabrics, embellished with appliqué, embroidery and beading. The tree, itself, is drawn with Sumi ink on Japanese paper.
Mary Fortuna draws on a number of inner resources to fuel her creative work — chief among which might be a self-identified weirdness. Today, Mary translates weirdness into an array of soft sculpture beasts, insects, demons, and other fiber works. “I’ve always been drawn to the weird,” she said. Read more about Mary Fortuna in this archived Creativity Q+A interview — a library of interviews with creative practitioners about process, materials and the influence of place on their work. The interview is https://glenarborart.org/creativity-qa-with-mary-fortuna/.