Corie Audette

Passages of Transcendence

      My art tends to be conceptual or focused on creating detailed narratives. I have always been respectful to and inspired by nature, from its infinite beauty to its association with cultural symbols. I am interested in the symbiotic circle or the mutual relationship we have with the world. However, in today’s society, I feel we are losing sight of how important it is for everyone to be responsible for nature. For this project, I wanted to make a statement about honoring nature, its inherent order and the passages we take throughout life and death.
      I specifically use trees (or tree branches) because of their rich symbolism. A tree is seen as an axis mundi or a multi-leveled outlet connecting into the different spiritual and physical realms. Trees are also beings able to transform with the seasons; growing, dying and then reborn once again. To me, trees are a passageway through transcendence and parallel humanity’s process of life, death and recreation through each generation. Even in contemporary culture we have a desire for transcendence and I believe the only way to achieve this is by becoming aware of the symbiotic connection we humans have with each other and nature. I use dead tree branches and wrap them in yarn to express the custom for respecting this circle of life and as a way of preservation with the intention of arising once again. The placement of the colors wrapping the tree branches is according to certain cultural meanings and their symbolic connection to the axis mundi. Located on the upper half of my piece is black to represent the beginning of life, fertility and the moment of expansion or development. In the middle region is grey, relating to life’s full extent, maturity or the moment of transition. The lower half is white as a connection to the underworld, which is where you spiritually travel to in death and is also the moment when you are physically consumed by the earth during burial. The arrangement of the tree branches is in a floating arch or circle shape to associate with these passages of life and death we all must take. Like the tree branches, we may each be unique individuals, but as a whole, we co-depend on each other.
      Cornelia Parker and Cornelia Konrads are influential artists to me because of the way they are able to resurrect materials that seem to have lost their potential in a fashion that makes them appear caught suspending in the moment of ascension. Philippa Lawrence and her Bound series influenced me to bind tree branches as a way to respect and connect to nature. Richard Long and Antony Gormley’s art inspired my whole arrangement, working with the branches’ natural forms and the relationship between the occupied and unoccupied spaces. Finally, one of the greatest artists I am inspired by is nature. For this piece, I especially admire the Great Bowerbird archway nests made from carefully chosen sticks and the male’s collection of specifically white objects to attract mates.