There are ears of corn and what looks like a squash or pumpkin tucked in behind them on the lower side. These are symbols of harvest time and nature's bounty. Through contact with the artist, I have found out that these plants were chosen because they were grown by native peoples.
On the rear of the trunk, there are large flowers carved in relief, including a bold and deeply petaled rose. I would interpret these as symbols of nature's beauty.
On the east side, there are maple leaves, perhaps to acknowledge the tree before it became a carving. These are done in low relief, and in more of a stylized way than other parts of this sculpture.
The top of the tree follows the natural split in the trunk, on the left, a path winds up to a Victorian style house. Take a look directly behind the carving if you are on Queens Av, and you will see the carved house matches its features exactly with the real house behind. There may not be a cat in the gable window of the real house, though.
Curving up the left side are skyscrapers, as we symbolically progress from a natural,wild time, to the modern age in our city.
From behind, one skyscraper arcs wildly over to one side, but the attention to detail is wonderful, with windows and supports cut in all around the structure.
On the right side of the split trunk, is Mother Nature herself. The peaceful expression on the face is wonderful. There is a natural look to her face, her flowing hair and her expression. There is a child seemingly rising out of the top of her head, arms raised to the sky.
Consider again, the delicate work accomplished without the shelter of a workshop, and the results become that much more impressive.
There is, in fact, a signature on the carving, which was small enough, and subtle enough that I missed it the first time I photographed this tree trunk. With apologies to Mr. Cox, here it is.
The result of combining the natural and the man-made might seem to set the carving up for a conflict between its elements, but in looking at the finished result, I think the message seems to be more about balance.
Now, as to the condition of the piece, it is certainly suffering from splitting and cracking at the upper portion. Aesthetically, some of the drama has faded from the sculpture, quite literally. The pictures taken shortly after completion on Tourism London's map show rich colour variations made by the artist scorching the surface of the wood with a propane torch. There is more depth and contrast created between elements when done right. By now the weather has washed away that dimension of the piece. Time will tell if any restoration occurs on this stop of the Tree Trunk Tour.
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Neil Cox is also listed as the artist for 'Charles Smith Hyman' on this project.
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