Trees hold an original knowledge we can reconnect with at their contact.
Gonzalo Bénard’s paintings capture this archetypal strength: grounded and steady, these trees at the same time have a kind of breathing energy. The artist explains how he came to create these artworks:
“Even though I am now living between the ocean and the mountains, surrounded by natural parks, I felt the need to create my own forest, as a tribute to nature, since I am not living in a rural area, and able to plant new trees as I used to do. These paintings came to fulfill that need, also as a prayer, like the Paleolithic men painted in the caves to bring them more preys.”
The process of creation sounds like blooming, as Gonzalo describes:
These 3 trees went through several moments and layers, like in nature. First seeding, transplant, grow, bloom… They started from a more abstract form, to blooming. They took several months of work before I finally felt they were ready to be by their own. I see trees as totems, connecting the Earth to Heavens. And from which we have so much to learn. When I was in the 3 days of brain death, I realized that as humans we are moving beings, so we have fixed consciousness. If you get amputated, most probably you will feel phantom limbs for all your life, since consciousness has memory by its own. However, a tree being a fixed being, have their consciousness freer than us, so if you cut a branch, their consciousness move to other parts of it.
In these paintings I started with a more abstract feeling, giving them freedom to grow out of the soil, to become one with nature. The last step was connecting them to Heavens, giving a more cosmic connection. They are painted in acrylic over canvas, with 150cm x 90cm. The last layer, the cosmic connection, was painted with the new pigment that came out in the market in March 2017: the Black 2.0… the blackest, mattest black now on the market. And it’s incredible how it changes and gives life to the whole tree. And now that I finally feel them completed, they can have a life of their own. They will no longer need me. They became free.”
In that sense, these 3 trees teach us how to reconnect with our true nature, how to grow and flourish. Indeed, their contours are so close to humans’ shapes that the viewer can’t help becoming aware of their similarity. Trees speak about life and nature which we as human being are part of, they remind us where we come from and who we are.
Our connection with trees, even not conscious or recognized as so, comes from the primitive times, actually it has always been there. And as Gonzalo states:
“Painting can be a way to connect with consciousness and universe.”
Through his creation, the artist makes us enter a cosmic dialogue.