Sandeep Mukerjee, Tree Skins, Acrylic and acrylic ink on hand molded aluminum, 4 panels, each panel 6 x 4 feet, 2018
“My recent work has been investigating image as a slice of flowing matter that emphasizes a particular aspect of that flow. My process involves imaging an oak tree outside my studio using sheets of aluminum, my body and paint. All three are instances of flowing matter, although they are flowing at very different rates. My attempt is to image the physical encounter of my body with the tree by physically forming, pressing and molding the aluminum sheet/slice on the surface of the tree trunk. The recorded dimensional encounter captured on a human sized aluminum sheet is then painted with acrylic from spray bottles. The painting action mimics rain or mist as it erupts from the spray bottle projectile and falls on to the molded topography of the tree skin. Gravity, surface tension, evaporation speed and chemistry of the paint all play an important part in how the paint lands on the surface but also how it moves across the dimensional surface creating images and patterns. The process is continued on both sides until the surface is layered and transformed from aluminum to a kind of skin. The convex side of these skins is painted the colors of the earth, while the concave side takes on the color of skin and flesh. Four such skins map the tree trunk around its circumference.
The viewer can walk around the pieces and experience them as uncanny aspects of flesh, skin, stone, leaf soil, etc. as interwoven between the dimensions of material and historical experience. The hybrid skin becomes an image of the nurturing and violent aspects of our relationship to ourselves and the nature we construct in the process.”