Works by UNE's Stephen Burt on display in upcoming Portland exhibition

Stephen Burt
Stephen Burt, B.F.A., M.F.A., associate professor of art

Stephen Burt, B.F.A., M.F.A., associate professor of art in the University of New England School of Arts and Humanities, is one of over a dozen artists to be featured in an upcoming local show exploring the wonder and grandeur of trees.

The exhibition, “Tree Speech,” opens Thursday, March 30, at Cove Street Arts in Portland, a multimedia space celebrating Maine's storied place in American art history. The show features 16 artists who pay tribute and give voice to the aesthetically pleasing and ecologically crucial organisms. The focus of the show is not on trees as component parts of a forest or landscape; rather, it emphasizes the unique presence and personality of them individually.

“I have always been inspired to draw and paint trees,” he remarked. “I love their presence and tenacity. They are the witnesses to our present folly of conspicuous consumption, and they are struggling. We cannot survive as a species without trees, yet there is rapid deforestation happening throughout the world. We need to take decisive action to preserve our forests and plant new ones if we are to avoid the worst damages of climate change. Our world is intricately interconnected. A tree is more than a tree; it is a whole universe that resonates with possibility.”

The show runs through Saturday, May 13, at the gallery, located at 71 Cove St. in Portland. An opening reception will be held Thursday, March 30, from 5 to 7 p.m. The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and is closed Sundays and Mondays.

"Highland Holly" by Stephen Burt