Beth Secor’s Trees comprises a recent series of works on paper depicting individual specimens of Southeast Texas trees. Secor began the four paintings and three drawings displayed here in the summer of 2011, when her father’s health began to fail and she moved him to a nursing home in Wharton, Texas, not far from where she grew up. During visits with her father, Secor would sit with him and look at the nearby oak, pecan, magnolia, locust, yew, and cypress trees similar to those she has known her entire life.
Secor understands trees as both a comforting peripheral constant, and also as singular and living, if not sentient beings that also endure the travails of existence, including sickness. Accordingly, she renders each of her sylvan subjects in a manner similar to her previous portrait works, with patient accumulations of abbreviated, sinewy, and colorful line, here using gouache, ink, white out, and pencil. The resulting images are at once meditative artistic studies and impressionistic landscapes—empathetic documents of time passing.