The Woulds, a collaborative installation between Laurel Roth Hope and Andy Diaz Hope, was commissioned by the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco for their show Jewish Folktales Retold: Artist as Maggid which will run until January 28th, 2018. The artists were each given the book Leaves from the Garden of Eden, a collection of traditional Jewish folktales, and asked to create a piece based on one of the stories.
Forests and trees populate a number of stories from folklore across many cultures and particularly caught the attention of the artists: the forest as representation of the unknown, as landscape to journey through on a quest, or as a character itself. The protagonist is always changed by their journey through a forest. The Tree of Life tells the story of souls beginning as fruit on the celestial Tree of Life before descending to Earth to be clothed in a human body. Some stories describe these souls as bird-like, using trees as stopovers on their way to their new bodies and accompanied to Earth by birdsong from the sparrows that see them on their way.
Laurel Roth Hope’s focuses on humanity’s impact on the external world while Andy Diaz Hope’s work focuses primarily on humanity’s impact on its own internal landscape. In their collaborative practice they combine concepts and skills sets to create installations from these distinct viewpoints. For their installation The Woulds they created a forest of tree-like sculptures made of wood, mirror, and glass that is part geometric and part organic as a way to integrate the ethereal with the natural. They imagine how a forest might appear to a bird that can see between worlds, a forest where the trees have souls and exist in multiple planes -- physical and spiritual.