Artist Katie Holten strikes that chord of melancholy first sounded by your missing tree, summoning the same wonder and loss in her show Katie Holten: Paths of Desire. Using reclaimed materials as her media, Holten has constructed a massive tree in the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (3750 Washington Boulevard; 314-535-4660 or www.contemporarystl.org) to draw attention to both the fragility of ecology and of humanitys place in the world. The grandeur and might of nature sprouts unnaturally from a sterile floor, and yet the form is so familiar and grand that the scene seems almost, but not quite, right. Holtens trees are the inverse of that tree-shape void on your street -- the proper shape, but lacking the life of the original. Still, theres something vital flowing through the limbs and branches; this is not dead wood, but a totem imbued with living purpose. Its a second chance for both the ecological and the human parts of the equation.
Paths of Desire opens with a free reception from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 18. The show remains up through Sunday, August 5, and the gallery is open Tuesday through Sunday.
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: May 18. Continues through Aug. 5