One of the most photographed member of the Stuart Collection is the lead-enacased tree in front of the main library on campus. There are two other trees part of the installation which are hidden inside of a eucalyptus grove southwest of this tree. Together, they are part of the Trees by Terry Allen which were installed in 1986. Apparently the trees encased in lead were salvaged by the artist from a group of eucalyptus trees that were cut down for a new building on campus. The two trees that I didn’t take pictures of play music and speak poetry. But that would be hard to photograph, wouldn’t it?
This is an excellent kind of art in my opinion. It’s not too dense and obscure but isn’t too simple. The tree forces the viewer to look up from a distance to take in the whole thing. Up close there are other things to see, too. Of course all the Stuart collection items are meant to be touched, but this one perhaps more than others. The soft lead is very easy to make an impression upon, giving everyone input to the art.