Charles Harlan: TREES
Somewhere beneath all the snaking vines and rhizomes of multiplicity there is a deeper layer of armature – the archetypal tree which through the ages has maintained a more eternal and venerable stature. Charles Harlan’s sculptures evoke something lost to time and strange growth, uncovered through a sort of archeology of the organic - that which didn’t quickly decompose but managed to cling to the longer half-lives of man-made materials. Set upon and pushing through the Euclidean grid forms of various types of industrial fencing, the tangle of nature persists towards a composition of opposites made to reconcile with one another. Harlan points out that there is no word, as of yet, for the action of a tree growing through a fence. So while we might not be able to quickly pinpoint this occurrence in language, visually and experientially we are drawn into the middle of these pieces; as humans who live in and manipulate the natural world, we are never so far removed that the pendulum of influence won’t swing back and forth across the path we tread. In these simultaneous moments of convergence, seemingly halted in a floating, static perpetuity that will somehow eventually decay, the energy still vibrates. These disparate elements twist their way forward, prompting through fusion a process of perception and understanding. And it is a wonderful irony when that which was designed as a form of separation becomes, through time, the instrument that props up the other.