This beautiful art installation graced KC Parks/Swope Park for four years (three longer than anticipated). For safety reasons, it was removed in August 2022. Because dead trees are no longer supplied with moisture and nutrients, their wood can become brittle and prone to snapping at a moment’s notice. Injuries can be caused when branches unexpectedly snap or when the tree falls due to a storm.
Artist: Dylan Mortimer
Installed: August 2018 (part of Open Spaces KC)
Location: Swope Park (near Bandstand/Pavilion)
Description: Mortimer took a dead tree adorned it with metallic glitter, to lend it a vibrant intensity that can be read as the reassuring glow of a slowly dying ember, or a symbol of the persistence of life in the face of death and decay.
Missouri native Mortimer’s artwork merges questions of belief and revelation with a highly personal iconology combining biology, scripture, autobiography and art historical sources. His Open Spaces project began with selecting a tree within the KC Parks Department that died during the winter of 2017-18. Instead of its being hauled away for pulping or incineration, Mortimer adorned the tree with a coating of metallic glitter, lending it a vibrant intensity that can be read as the reassuring glow of a slowly dying ember, or a symbol of the persistence of life in the face of death and decay.