1310-1/2B Chicago Ave.
Evanston, IL 60201
“…They took all the trees
And put them in a tree museum
And they charged all the people
A dollar and a half to see 'em
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
'Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And they put up a parking lot…”
“Big Yellow Taxi” by Joni Mitchell
This tune comes to mind whenever Joerg Metzner thinks about the tree at Greenwood Beach.
But it wasn’t a parking lot that felled this tree. It was climate change that eventually led the city of Evanston to put up big, black sandbags in its place—a Sisyphean effort to stem erosion by the rising water from Lake Michigan.
In this past year of Covid pandemic and political turmoil the tree had endeared itself to many. Up until it’s untimely demise it stood tall in the face of adversity, resisting the onslaught of wind and waves, and becoming a symbol of resilience.
For years this tree had been a meeting spot for friends and families, a shady oasis on hot summer days, beacon to surfers and paddle boarders. Mentioning it would elicit smiles. It was a member of our community.
Some years ago it became the focus of Joerg Metzner’s photography project Omnipotence of Dream. At the beginning of 2020 Metzner set out to chronicle the tree once again. The result is the series of photos in this exhibit.
Joerg and many others knew what they had before it was gone.
Born and raised in the forests of the Harz Mountains of Germany, Metzner worked as a dental technician before moving to Ireland where he herded goats, photographed and painted. After traveling across Europe, he ended up in Los Angeles where he attended Santa Monica College of Design, Art and Architecture, which was founded in the spirit of the Bauhaus and Black Mountain College. The interdisciplinary nature of the curriculum became the foundation for his professional life as a graphic designer and photographer.
Metzner graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a BFA in Photography and Visual Communications and worked for various design firms and agencies in Chicago while all along maintaining his photography practice.
Metzner’s photography is narrative by nature, encompasses environmental portraits, landscape, documentary, editorial and fine art photography. Point him in any direction for a travel assignment and he will happily hit the road.