Laurie Polster

  • Do Trees Have Nationality? Public Art project | video, website, event | |
  • Website homepage: Do Trees Have Nationality? |
  • "The Line of Questioning", mixed media installation, Addison Street Windows Gallery, Berkeley, CA
  • "The Falling", installation, Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, CA
  • "Vessels", mixed-media installation, San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, San Jose, CA
  • "Vessels", installation detail, San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, San Jose, CA
  • "Fossil no. 1" from the series, "Fossil Topographies," cherry, etched lead
  • "Markings II", installation view, Artist's studio
  • "She Held Close the Essential", installation detail, Jewish Community Center East Bay, Berkeley, CA
  • "Reflections in Stone", mixed media installation (detail), Pro Arts, Oakland, CA
  • archival photograph and text / "what is the border between who you once were and who you are now"
  • archival photograph and text / "we die twice, once when we do, the other when someone looks at a photo of us and doesn't know who we are"

I work across media, creating public art, installations, video and sound projects, sculpture and image/text pieces that address issues relating to culture, memory, natural phenomenon, ecology, and identity and representation.

My most recent public art project, Do Trees Have Nationality?, raises questions about environmental responsibility in the context of borders, conflict and nationalism, highlighting the destruction of olive trees in Palestine and the impact this has on ecological and social sustainability.

Video: Do Trees Have Nationality?

Website: Do Trees Have Nationality?


My interest lies in the precarious and restful states of stillness and balance, where the extraneous is shed and elements are left to their essential being.

The exploration of physical and metaphorical edges, as well as the less apparent spaces in between, is a major component of my work, shedding light on critical linkages in human understanding and socio-political and eco-systems.

I am drawn to issues surrounding container and containment— absence being as important as presence – what sounds, images and (his/her)stories are included and given space to resonate, what elements are excluded and rendered voice-less. Through juxtaposition, dichotomy and symbolism of materials and context, my work forces divergent ways of looking at common occurrence, at image and language, creating connections that lead to awareness.

I am currently searching for alternative ways to communicate, seeking more visceral, tactile, and subliminal modes of language that speak through non-narrative, non-didactic forms, to mine places that resonate beyond cognitive understanding. Given our fragile ecology and the overabundance of “stuff”, it seems also fitting for me to nurture a creative process grounded in the reuse, recycling, and re-contextualization of ideas and materials into alternative forms.

Public Art projects include:

Do Trees Have Nationality documenting the Olive Oil Tasting / Gift Exchange Picnic of Jesse Square in San Francisco, June 3, 2012.

The Line of Questioning
trees as a metaphor for ecological and social sustainability (Installation: Addison Street Windows Gallery, Berkeley, CA 2008)

Installation projects include:

Vessels an intersection of the natural and constructed world (SJICA, San Jose, CA 2005)

Fossil Topographies
refers to the idea of unearthed fossilized remains—bits of history and incomplete memory—embedded within precisely excavated sections of terrain. (Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, N.J. 2004)

The Falling explores the relationship of an avalanche to a waterfall and the duality and dichotomy of destruction and regeneration in natural occurrence (Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, CA 1999)

Spoons references the relationship of objects to memory, experience and culture (Braunstein/Quay Gallery, San Francisco, CA 1994)

Reflections in Stone evolved from an ongoing investigation into the symbolic nature of water (Pro Arts, Oakland, CA 1994)

In Search of My Grandmother’s Bread Bowl a search for history and identity, and the isolation and essence of moments. (Judah L. Magnes Museum, Berkeley, 1993)

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  • Artist Info

    • Oakland, CA
      US - Pacific
    • 510-595-0434

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