“The Hand” is a multi-hued and sombre-toned interpretation of an Australian eucalypt. It started as a simple photograph of pattern. I then digitally added layers of colours to emphasise the intriguing shapes I saw in the bark. If you stare at the peeling trunks of eucalypts long enough, you begin to see all sorts of shapes and objects, like planets, figures, hair or in this case, a human hand.
The bark of eucalypts in Australia is artwork on its own. There are almost 800 species of eucalypts in Australia. Some have typically furrowed tree bark. But others have the silky-smooth bark of the idealized “gum tree”. They range in tone from porcelain white to possum grey; they range in colour from salmon pink to Roman bronze; they range in texture from talcum powder to burnished metal. When the bark peels off, like a snake’s skin ripped apart to allow for new expansion, the breakup creates a multitude of mesmerizing patterns. Sometimes the scribbles of moth larva are disclosed and can be taken for the writings of ancient scribes. Other patterns read like the history of the universe. When gazing into the vortex of these primal patterns, messages and visions of eternity can unfold for the viewer.