Title: Impossible Sites for Growth (a temporary installation, no longer on site)


Artist: E. J. Lightman   Exhibition year: 2007

...E.J. Lightman's Impossible Sites for Growth, an installational work mounted at The Tree Museum in the summer of 2007, sheds some light on our (mis)-understanding of a historic work like Spiral Jetty, the piece that set an early course for artists working directly with nature. Lightmans work addressed the issue at the heart of the Smithson dilemma and consequently encompasses issues relevant to any discussion of art that directly responds to the contexts of nature. Between two trees on a slope of land that leads down to a lake abutting The Tree Museum property, Lightman strung up two banners, back to back, each depicting a different photographic image of trees growing from rocky outcroppings of the Canadian Shield somewhere else on the site. Out here, in an admittedly reshaped version of the natural world, the view is overridden by, well, a view. Impossible Sites for Growth (which Lightman has stated was born of her fascination with trees that grew from the rocks, cracking open small fissures with their roots so they could somehow survive in a difficult place5) experientially displaces what we understand as being natural with what we recognize as decidedly artifactual: images of what it displaces, representations (photographs) of the thing, and not the thing (the natural world) itself... 
GilMcElroy, "New of Difference" The Tree Museum (The Tree Museum)

E.J. LIGHTMAN, an artist based in Toronto, is a founding member of The Tree Museum (1997) and co-curator and organizer of the site-specific outdoor installations at The Tree Museum, Gravenhurst, Ont. She has exhibited in Canada, the United States, Europe, Central and South America, and Mexico. Lightman was an active member of WorkScene Gallery in Toronto from its inception in 1989, curating several group shows, including Art & Technology (1994). She also co-curated Myths from Cyberspace (1996/97) with Carolyn Bell Farrell at the Koffler Centre, Toronto. Exhibitions include mixed media works Natural Icons (Tusk Gallery, Toronto, 2001) and The Tree Museum Collective: An Alternative Site (Visual Arts York Quay Centre, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto, Ontario, 2002), and site-specific installations at The Tree Museum (2005 and 2007), the Visual Art Centre in Clarington, Ontario, and Oeno Gallery in Prince Edward County, Ontario. (2007).