Tom Nakashima’s exhibition, Nature Morte, featured four monumental canvases along with supporting works inspired by mounds of dead and pulled up trees and brush known as treepiles. Using printmaking, painting, and collage, Nakashima brought works of unprecedented scale to the Museum, the largest, The Brothers Karamazov, being almost 10 feet high by 30 feet wide.
Treepiles are a common but often overlooked site on the landscape. These man-made forms signify a change to the landscape either planned or unplanned. After periods of flooding or wild fires, treepiles are signs of clean-up. Farmers and other land owners clear their land for a variety of reasons such as to increase space for livestock or crops or to develop land for commercial or residential building. It was the shape of a treepile that attracted the observant eye of Nakashima but it was the reasons behind the treepiles that inspired this artist to incorporate the form into his artwork.
Nakashima was born in 1941 in Seattle, Washington. He grew up in Dubuque and received his B.A. from Loras College in 1965. He received an M.A. in 1966 and M.F.A. in 1967 from the University of Notre Dame. Currently Nakashima is the William S. Morris Scholar in Art Emeritus at Georgia Regents University in Augusta, Georgia and Professor Emeritus at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.