National Gallery of Canada

Roxy Paine

One Hundred Foot Line

This Is Not A Tree. Or Is It?

Roxy Paine’s sculptural work examines how nature and technology collide in the contemporary landscape. One Hundred Foot Line is one of the artist’s Dendroids, a series of large-scale representations of trees that Paine constructs with the tools and materials of heavy industry. “Dendroids” - drawn from the Greek word for tree - recalls the futuristic concept of an “android,” a synthetic organism.

Paine’s Dendroids attempt to observe and understand trees as a language governed by rules and structures. A key element of this language in One Hundred Foot Line is the trunk, which tapers skyward into a sleekly rendered line. As it extends above and beyond itself, this work presents an awe-inspiring confrontation between the natural and the “man-made.”

Suggestive of trees in densely populated brush that forego branches to climb toward the forest roof, Paine here streamlines the tree-trunk into the more archetypal form of a sleekly-rendered line. In so doing One Hundred Foot Line makes many possible references: to nature, industrial technology, and the history of art.

Roxy Paine
One Hundred Foot Line, 2010
Stainless steel
30.48 m x 1.3 m (approx.)
Purchased 2010