Treeline is not a landscape scene. It is on the one hand a literal “lineup“ of some of the trees that grow near the northern limit of trees in the boreal forest. But it is also a response to what I am learning about changes that are occurring, in diverse and complicated ways, to the tree line in various parts of the circumpolar North. My painting doesn’t chart those changes, but is instead a kind of group portrait of some of the local arboreal characters in that unfolding drama.
These are far from botanical illustrations of species. They are personal portraits of specific, individual trees that I know and love, all of them within a short walk from my home.
Like Portal, my other painting in this exhibition, Treeline grew out of my nearly half-century love of the boreal forest, and it is a painterly meditation on the fate of trees that are growing in the circumpolar North.
Kesler Woodward has painted the boreal forest for 45 years, from Alaska to Hudson Bay in the Canadian Arctic and the Siberian coast. His solo exhibits include the University of Alaska Museum, Alaska State Museum, Anchorage Museum, Morris Museum of Art, Nevada Museum of Art, and public and galleries throughout the U.S. His paintings are included in all major public art collections in Alaska, and in museum, corporate and private collections on both coasts of the U.S.
In 2004 Woodward received the first Alaska Governor’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts. In 2012 he was awarded the Rasmuson Foundation’s Distinguished Artist Fellowship.