June 26, 2002 | Philadelphia Weekly [Volume XXXI, No. 26]
Miracle Grow
By Roberta Fallon

Keiko Miyamori knows trees. For years she has used them – bark, roots, twigs – in her drawings and installations. For Miyamori, who trained in traditional arts in Japan and now teaches at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, trees symbolize nature's energy: renewable and somehow indomitable. "IMAGINA" includes a large, one-ton tree trunk lying on its side, its root system exposed like a hairy monster. The installation asks you to consider the life and death of one modest urban planting cut down to make way for a new, mixed-income housing project at 11th and Girard. While others might find outrage in the calculated demise of a tree, Miyamori is optimistic. She sees hope in the tree's survival. (Over the years, the mighty roots somehow absorbed everything from bricks and nails to Pepsi bottles. A pile of these root "berries" extracted by Miyamori over eight months of work sits on the floor nearby.) Nature is awesome, this we know. It's good to be reminded in such a straightforward way.