‘Hank Waddell: Tree Bones’

The brightly painted dead or decaying limbs in Hank Waddell's exhibit 'Tree Bones 'draws viewers' attention to the effect people have on the health of the environment

Arts Review

Hank Waddell: Tree Bones

Artillery Gallery, through April 30

Sculptor Hank Waddell views environmental health as a two-way street: The environment affects the health of people, and people are affecting the health of the environment. Waddell describes his sculptures as "that place and time turned into a concrete acknowledgment of the unpredictable ramifications of our arrogance, our ego, and our need for more."

The works in Tree Bones consist primarily of dead or decaying large tree limbs, some left as they were found, some reduced and reassembled, and others coated with automotive urethanes. The use of metal flakes, pearls, and candies tease out Waddell's concerns and makes the death of the trees powerful and dignified. His attack is not necessarily limited to the automotive industry, though there is plenty to be concerned about. He is equally concerned with the "throwaway" mentality of consumers. Environmental legislation encourages industry to consider sustainable development beyond short-term economic gains, but a clear message is emerging: Growing consumption levels are overtaking environmental gains.

The integration of best practices into mainstream business decision-making doesn't seem to affect a consumer mentality that views shiny things as better. Waddell notes that his works did not gain much recognition until he began using the urethanes. But if brightly painted dead wood compels viewers to reconsider that all that glitters is not gold, Waddell just may be playing a crucial role in spurring social innovations.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Arts Reviews
Exhibitionism
'The 2012 Drawing Annual'
Don't let Tiny Park Gallery go without experiencing this exhibit of depth and meaning

Wayne Alan Brenner, May 18, 2012

Arts Review
'Memento Mori'
The three artists showing here exhibit so much sentience, mystery, and grace

Wayne Alan Brenner, April 13, 2012

More by Benné Rockett
Arts Review
Double Identity: Andrew Long & Michael Long
These brothers' works reveal the fascinating strengths of nonobjective art

Aug. 15, 2008

Luke Savisky: Hands across the water
Luke Savisky: Hands across the water
Images of hands projected across Wooldridge Park illuminate our assault on and communion with the environment

Nov. 2, 2007

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Hank Waddell, Tree Bones

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle