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Feature Gallery


The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery (2009)

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The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

This years Halloween gallery has been wrought with problems since we started working on it. Besides an abnormally low number of submissions, many of which did not meet the high standards we strive to uphold here, our first attempt mysteriously disappeared from an editors computer, leaving no trace or clue behind.

These and other problems led someone to observe that perhaps this years Halloween gallery was haunted or, even worse, cursed. This is when we realized that we were working on our fourth gallery in this series.

It is well known by bonsaists that the number four, being homophonous to the word death, is considered an unlucky number in Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese cultures. This superstition is common in every day life and even affects planning and development in buildings, so much so that in East Asian many buildings do not have a fourth floor. This mirrors the American superstition with the number thirteen, and strangely enough the sum of the numbers that make up 13 is 4, 1 + 3 = 4.

Never wanting to tempt fate, we decided to skip this years Halloween gallery and instead do a compilation of the best of the previous years galleries for our readers to enjoy. For the die hard fans of the galleries, we reused all the old introductions from the past to head up each section and we included a couple of the best submissions from this year as well.

Rest assured that we won’t do a best of gallery again, well not until the thirteenth one, anyhow.

Happy Halloween!

From the 2006 Halloween Gallery

One of the most wonderful things about the art of bonsai is that, like other art forms, it can express certain moods, feelings, or impressions to the viewer. Sometimes they can suggest a darker side, a side only glimpsed occasionally on those dark chilly nights around the time called Halloween.

The bonsai in this gallery are reminiscent of the trees in such classics as Sleepy Hollow, The Wizard of OZ, The Lord of the Rings, and other literary works. Such trees that suggest darker things, that seem malevolent, that suggest being somehow alive in impossibly human manner are also present in the visual arts.

In the season of Halloween when myth turns to reality and the darkness that lies buried beneath our ordinary existence struggles to the surface, things can become more than what they were once perceived to be. Sometimes they sneak up into reality to take a bite of sanity from the unwary bonsaist, and sometimes, bonsai that were grown deep within forbidden gardens, tucked away from the sight of mere mortals, make their way into our world from those deep and foreboding gardens cultivated in the Twilight Zone.

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

Walter Pall - Germany
European Spruce (Picea abies)
60 cm
Pot: Chinese
Collected in Austria

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

Ulf Soltau - Germany
Ficus Benjimin (Ficus benjamini)
40 cm
Aquarium: aquascout

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

Candy J. Shirey - USA
Originally styled by Nick Lenz
Morrow's Honeysuckle (Lonicera morrowi)
28"
Pot: Nick Lenz

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

Candy J. Shirey - USA
Originally styled by Nick Lenz
Royal Azalea (Rhododendron schlippenbachii)
28"
Pot: Nick Lenz

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

Walter Pall - Germany
European Spruce (Picea abies)

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

Candy J. Shirey - USA
Originally styled by Nick Lenz
Alien Egg
Pinus mugo
28 inches in length x 18 inches wide x 16 inches high.
Pot: 10 inches in diameter

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

Walter Pall - Germany
Rocky Mountain Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum)

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

Nick Lenz - USA
Larix laricina on bronze Barbie

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

Nick Lenz - USA
Larix laricina "The Demon Larch"

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

Nick Lenz - USA
Acer buergerianum root-over-gargoyle

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

Walter Pall - Germany
"Reiner the Bear"
European Spruce (Picea abies)
50 cm high
Pot: Derek Aspinall

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

Andreas - Switzerland
European spruce, (Picea abies
Andreas created everything for this piece, including the construction.

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

Budi Sulistyo - Indonesia
Pemphis

From the 2007 Halloween Gallery

Another year has quietly folded into the past, bringing forth into the light another Halloween Gallery to remind us that stranger, darker things lurk upon the backbenches of our gardens. These often out of sight bonsai of the shadows are perhaps waiting for the day when the weird, the scary, the warped will revolt together against the common realities and fight for a place on the front benches of the unwary.

Last year's Halloween Gallery introduced us to bonsai not often seen or appreciated before. It is our hope that this year's gallery will do the same and perhaps even spark a creative fire in all who view it. Maybe these photographs of darker inspiration will help some to shake off the shackles of the expected, the bonds of tradition and let imagination guide their creativity, even if the path leads into the realm of the otherworldly.

We wish to express our sincerest thanks to all of you who contributed to this gallery and to Walter Pall and our friends at bonsai-fachforum.de, without supporters such as you, there could be no us.

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

'Salvador Dali'
Walter Pall (Germany)
European Spruce (Picea abies)

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

'Toad'
Dan Barton (United Kingdom)

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

Monika (Germany)

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

'Abel Meditation'
Nick Lenz (United States)
Larch

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

Budi Sulistyo (Indonesia)

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

'Dragon'
Jupp (Germany)
Grape and Elm

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

'Linda and Visitor'
Backyard (Germany)

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

Ulf (Germany)
Cannabis_sativa 'Blueberry'

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

Heike (Germany)
Chaeneomeles

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

Heike (Germany)
Chaeneomeles

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

'Jack-o-Lantern'
Jeffery Dubinski (USA)
Pumpkin (Cucurbita maxima)

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

Wolfgang Putz (Austria)
Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)

From the 2008 Halloween Gallery

Another year has slipped into memory, leaving only faint traces of the passage of time hidden within our trees, where evidence of our skill and talent now mingle with the darker side of the subconscious. The inner personalities of the artist now appear, as they do every year at this time of haunting, to cast far different spells upon those who dare study them.

Somehow, viewing trees at this time of year reminds us that something unexplainable lurks in the subconscious of the human mind. We remember far deeper than a single lifetime, back into primeval depths and fears that haunted our ancestors. Even those of us who have never walked the remaining ancient forests of eastern Europe or the old growth forests of the America’s Pacific Northwest still feel the draw, and unease, that comes from these lurking giants of our past. Trees invoke emotions in us, whether peace, awe, or even an eerie sense that we are being watched, that we are not alone.

Clutching at our very souls, the trees now pull us to a time when light loses its importance, a time when trees are transcending into a deep dormancy after a year of racing toward the sun. Life giving foliage is discarded like a mask, revealing all, but showing less; leaving only skeletons and shadows that are but a pale reflection of the past. The days grow shorter and things that normally could not be seen in the light of day are now all too visible. This is the time when the darker side of bonsai claws its way into our minds, bringing with it a haunting chill that creeps over our now neglected benches and, if we are not careful, into our reality.

The Art of Bonsai Project’s Halloween galleries have become a tradition around the world, bringing entries from artists as distant and varied as the art form itself. These galleries also serve to inject a little levity to our otherwise serious forum, and they remind us all that, sometimes, inspiration and talent can be found off the beaten path.

It is our hope that this years Halloween gallery not only entertains our readers, but that some are inspired to look beyond the well lit display benches, behind the glossy media, and see beyond the safe, accepted norms that are often blindly quoted on-line. The clues given within this gallery can lead one to a world where talent is unshackled and the subconscious is unbound. But beware; they can also lead one to certain ruin. They can lead down dark, unexplored alleys and unmarked paths to places that most, understandably, fear to go. Those who brave the journey seek the greatest reward of all, inspiration. However, be warned, few return and even less return with their sanity.

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

Submitted by Aarin Packard, Assistant Curator of the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum
From the collection of the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum.
Chinese Hackberry (Celtis sinensis)
Donated by Dan Chiplis, Assistant Curator 1984-1998
In Training Since 1974

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

"Hand Throwing Larch"
Nick Lenz

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

Will Heath - USA
Fairy Ring Mushroom (Marasmius oreades)

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

"Central Park Walkers"
Nick Lenz

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

Heike van Gunst
(Acer ginnala)
60 cm
In training for 10 years

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

"White Cedar Demon"
Nick Lenz

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

Louis Nel
Buddleja saligna and parasite from South Africa

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

I Gede Mertha
Adenium

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

"Seasons"
Nick Lenz

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

"scully"Rossi Handsley - Gemany
Lonicera pileata)

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

Peter Landerloos - Danmark
Silverbirch on a Rock

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

"The Giant"
Tom Lampe
Lonicera nitida

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

Andi - Switzerland

Survivors From the Cursed 2009 Halloween Gallery

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

Josef Pfeffer

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

Josef Pfeffer

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

Mike Page - USA

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

Will Heath - USA

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

Heike van Gunst

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

Heike van Gunst

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

Rossi Handsley - Cologne, Germany

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

Bernd Weinberger

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

Julie Trigg - USA

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

Dan - Canberra, Australia

The Fourth Annual AoB Halloween Gallery

“ I have been through the desert on a horse with no name”
Louis Nel

Introduction References:
http://www.virtuescience.com/4.html
http://specials.starbulletin.com/8808/number-4-carries-a-bad-rep-in-many-asian-cultures/

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