PREVIEW In Shel Silverstein's 1964 classic book, The Giving Tree (HarperCollins), a self-sacrificing tree hands itself off to a boy surrendering its shade and its lumber until it ultimately ends up just a stump for the now-old man to sit on and die. You don't have to be a tree hugger to know that everything from the air we breathe to the paper we print on wouldn't exist without them.
For the fourth consecutive year, the San Francisco branch of Giant Robot presents "Tree Show," a fundraising exhibition with a portion of the sales benefiting Friends of the Urban Forest. It includes mostly two-dimensional pieces by more than 40 artists who work mainly in the street-art and comic-book graphic style GR is known for supporting. Check out Deth P Sun's painting with his trademark Orphan Annieeyed warrior kitty in a grim, gray forest, and collage artist Alexis Mackenzie's vintage-lady-as-lupine-shrub, embellished with butterfly blooms. François Vigneault contributes an ink-and-watercolor image of a huge tree getting a scooter ride in the rain, and Cupco makes three nasty forest lumberjack elves ("Cut! Kill! Burn!") out of stuffed felt.
GR founder Erik Nakamura writes in an e-mail that the gallery-store came up with the show concept years before eco-movement causes became so ubiquitous. "We like trees, and we felt, just for a second, it would be great to turn people onto trees," he explains. That second has obviously been extended, since Nakamura has noticed that many of the participating artists continue to paint tree images even after the exhibitions. And why not? "It's a big part of their art supplies!" he adds. So pick out an affordable work of art for your home and help plant more trees in San Francisco a happier dynamic for artists and arbors alike.
TREE SHOW IV Through June 18. Mon.Fri., 11:30 a.m.8 p.m.; Sat. 11 a.m.8 p.m.; Sun., noon7 p.m. Giant Robot SF, 618 Shrader, SF. Free. (415) 876-4773, www.gr-sf.com