Student's Art Reflects Climate Change Concerns

Tree with mirror, student art project
Maxine Aiello, art and psychology student image
Maxine Aiello

Walking around campus, you see sunlight unexpectedly reflect off an oak tree. A ginkgo tree appears to have a viewing port that lets you see straight through it. Your face appears in the bark of a magnolia.

Art and psychology student Maxine Aiello, “overwhelmed and scared” by climate change, created “If Trees Could Talk” for the art class “Miniature and the Gigantic,” taught by Professor Robin Hill.

Consisting of flexible mirrors placed in the recesses and scars of 14 trees around campus, the project invites engagement with those trees in particular and the environment in general.

“The mirrors really catch people’s eye and make them stop and look,” said Aiello. “When they get closer, they see themselves. It blurs the line between you and nature; it puts you back in nature. Taking care of the planet is taking care of yourself.”

— Jeffrey Day, content strategist in the UC Davis College of Letters and Science, wrote this story for the fall 2019 issue of the College of Letters and Science Magazine.