Mapping the Trees in “Witnesses”

By admin on May 31, 2018

The woodland subjects and the compositions in Lucy Kalian’s “Witnesses” are noticeably bare—the trees hold no leaves, and every figure is surrounded by a vast stretch of white, negative space. While the pieces seem otherworldly with their remarkable beauty and ethereal qualities, Kalian’s works are inspired by real-life woodland figures. For example, after walking in the woods five years ago, Kalian found her subject for “Woodwind Tree,” a drawing which then inspired Kalian to create her entire “Witnesses” series.

Like “Woodland Tree,” every background in the “Witnesses” series is purposely empty in order to emphasize the details, personalities, and solitude of each figure. But looking more closely at some of the drawings, one notices that Kalian wrote additional notations alongside the title.



Lucy Kalian, Independents, graphite on paper, 54 x 42”

“Independents,” “Every Which Way,” and “Lost in the Storm” all feature the coordinates where Lucy Kalian found her subjects. Each tree can be found in Kalian’s resident state of New Jersey, with “Independents” and “Every Which Way” being nearly right next to each other!


Lucy Kalian, Every Which Way, graphite on paper, 54 x 42”

With these hidden features, “Witnesses” can become an exciting way to locate some truly beautiful woodland figures in nature. But if you can’t see these trees in person, you can see them on view in the Upper Gallery until June 17th!


Lucy Kalian, Lost in the Storm, graphite on paper, 28 x 42”

Lucy Kalian, Woodwind Tree, graphite on paper, 14 x 16”


Banner Image:  Lucy Kalian, Independents, graphite on paper, 54 x 42”, detail