wendy babcox
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Every Olive Tree in the Garden of Gethsemane
Every Olive Tree in the Garden of Gethsemane is a suite of photogravure prints with hand-made paper chin-collé of each of the twenty-three olive trees in the garden. Situated at the foot of the Mount of Olives in East Jerusalem, the Garden of Gethsemane is known to many as the site where Jesus prayed the night before his crucifixion. The oldest tree has been carbon dated to 1092, a date almost coincidental with the first of the Crusades. The oldest trees are a living and symbolic link to this distant past, while the younger saplings bridge the present with an unknowable future.

From the garden, the olive trees face the Old City of Jerusalem, which occupies less than one square kilometer. This most contested piece of land has been the site of territorial disputes across the centuries. The photogravure (photographic etching) process, bears a specific reference to the ways in which the trees appear to be etched or marked by the pain of these conflicts. Their gnarled trunks materialize from an emptied background and appear to be written with the indexical record of all they have witnessed. Like a photograph, they appear to have recorded the events that unfolded within their view. The victorious and the vanquished recede into history and yet the olive trees persist, uniting the past and present moment.