Three for Trees: Three men and a forest

Painting by Alain Massicotte
Credit: Alain Massicotte
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Three for Trees: Three men and a forest

It’s been said, “The space varies according to how I look at it.” This exhibition is how three friends look at the forest. Three for Trees presents a tour of 100 or so works by Alain Massicotte, paintings of woodland and drawings of city trees. In his contemplation, the visual artist is accompanied by a biologist, Michel Leboeuf, and a physician, François Reeves. All three share a passion for trees, trees in both urban and rural settings.


The vibrant canvases of Alain Massicotte are presented in mosaics following the seasons. These paintings inspired reflections from the biologist and the physician that find expression from beginning to end of this intimate forest stroll, as the three walkers exchange views.


Where the artist depicts a shimmering array of enchanting shapes and colors, Michel Leboeuf sees the interactions of nature. From elementary molecules to birds by way of mushrooms, he provides a fine explanation of all those connections centering on the tree. The tree is the center of the biodiversity that must be maintained in our lives and our urban world.


François Reeves, the physician, perceives in this walk all the benefits that the tree brings us. It’s beautiful, first of all, and seeing it is both pleasing and relaxing. Instinctively, we feel our stress levels drop when we’re out in nature. That feeling is physical as much as it is psychological. The tree is a great purifier of water, soil and air. Its presence nearby is beneficial for us in all aspects of health, from the sociological to the cardiovascular, not to mention psychological and mental functions.

The fragrances so typical of the woods are made up of thousands of molecules that have positive effects on our health. Just as the tree has a moderating effect on climate, it improves our moods and our thinking. Not only does a big tree produce enough oxygen for four people, it’s a wonderful pollution buster. In the United States alone, it’s estimated that trees rid the air of 17 million metric tons of smog a year. And elimination of that pollution entails health-care savings in the order of $7 billion.

Pillar of the Earth

Over the millennia the tree has been sacred to a great many civilizations: the tree of life, the Druids’ oak tree, the laurels of victory, the olive tree of peace. Biology and medicine recognize now more than ever its role as pillar of the Earth.

The exhibition Three for Trees, presented from April 9 to October 31 at the Frédéric Back Tree Pavilion, is an artistic and scientific celebration, in a forest not far from where you live!

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