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Flat Iron Offers Forest of Life, Respite from Holiday Chaos

Dozens of interpretations of the “tree of life” line the halls the Paramount Center for the Arts Upper Gallery this month.

Twisted limbs, colorful flowers, skeletal figures and old photographs are just some of the elements that 75 area artists incorporated into their interpretations of the Tree of Life.

The Tree of Life is the theme of the sixth annual holiday show, currently on display in the , created and curated by Flat Iron Director Wendie Garber.

“I chose the tree of life because I thought it was a theme that everyone could relate to, including the young and the old,” said Flat Iron Director Wendie Garber. “Its something I thought artists could interpret in so many ways…trees are figurative, they are universal symbols…representing people, growth and the stages of life.”

Each year Garber chooses a theme that she invites artists to interpret. She tends to chose themes that create a peaceful atmosphere, hoping to offer some calm in the midst of the hectic holiday season.

The Flat Iron Gallery donates twenty percent of the sales back to the Paramount to help support them. This year so far Garber has sold two paintings.

Several artists interpreted the theme very literally and used watercolors to paint twisted wooden tree trucks, trees blossoming in the spring or landscapes featuring trees in a valley. Others depicted human bodies as the tree with abstract figures or faces floating around them.

Artist Cecelia Yaghoubi used an almost life-size torso as the trunk of a tree with antique photographs as leaves in her “Fruits of Love” mixed media piece.

“I was very pleased to see people could have a little more fantasy with the pieces. And they were fun to hang because it was pretty diverse,” Garber said.

A few of the 75 pieces of art are coupled with poems written by Mary Crescenzo.

Crescenzo is a local musician, writer and poet who has been visiting Garber's holiday exhibits for the last three years to write poems about particular pieces that inspired her. Crescenzo goes home, writes her poems and comes back to post them on the wall beside the paintings. 

This year's exhibit opened on Nov. 4 and will close on Jan. 21, 2012. Theatergoers are able to walk upstairs to view the artwork during shows and it is open when the box office is open: Wednesday through Fridays from 12 to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and during intermissions of live performances.

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