Photograph of tree by Jill Lear.

HAILEY — The importance of a tree and its existence in nature has been the life work of artist Jill Lear.

In celebration of the 2019 Wood River Valley Studio Tour, Lear will debut her new body of work, “Urban Sprawl: Trees in Cities,” from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at her Indian Creek studio, 113 Geronimo Drive, Hailey.

For Lear, a tree is not just a symbol of life; it’s a primary conduit to a world above and below the surface. Through her own mapping process, all of Lear’s works have longitude and latitude titles to credit their existence on the planet. With large-scale mixed multimedia paintings, drawings, works on paper and photographs, Lear has been able to honor and give credence to every tree she studies and documents in her art.

“I focus on urban trees and how they not only survive, but thrive in urban areas,” Lear said in a statement. “I choose magnificent trees that reach out and embrace their environments with sprawling branches and intricate root systems. My work shows the way trees use their innate capabilities to sustain themselves in their restricted environments while managing to give back to the community by removing carbon dioxide and pollution from the atmosphere, providing canopies of shade and creating a cooler environment — thereby reducing the overall heat — and even managing to reduce urban crimes such as graffiti, vandalism and littering. Trees are participants in our urban communities. We need these trees more than they need us.”

As part of Lear’s ongoing mission to support her work, she will donate to tree-planting organizations with every work sold including urbanleaf.org, treesforcities.org, shoparborday.org, onetreeplanted.org and citykidsdc.org.

Lear’s work has been acquired by the permanent collections at Wright State University Art Museum in Dayton, Ohio, and in the Philip Isles Collection in New York. She has received numerous awards for her work in the United States and abroad. Lear trained formally at the New York Studio School in New York City and holds degrees from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and the Chambre Syndicale of Haute Couture in Paris, France. In addition, Lear’s work on the “Witness: Trees of Texas” series, a study on live oak trees throughout Texas, is also a book of the same title. Her work is carried at Gilman Contemporary in Ketchum, Blue Print Gallery in Dallas and Gallery Shoal Creek in Austin, Texas.

Lear will have several works available at her studio including original prints for the 2019 Wood River Valley Studio Tour. For more information, email jdlp1@rockisland.com or visit jilllear.com.

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