Checkmate – Revisiting Chicago Tree Art – 5* Pix


Total Shots taken 3
Number of 5 star ratings (5* yield %) 59 (5.1%)

Two years ago, I stopped by the Chicago Tree Art installation on located north on Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive at Belmont Ave. to see Checkmate, by artist Margot McMahon.  At the time, the art was sill emerging — one piece was surrounded by scaffolding, the other seemed fully carved.  That was the first time seeing them up close, when I was not in the car driving past them.  “From that outing, most of  my images were of the knight (see those images here:  Unity Dragonfly and Chicago Tree Project Art – 5* Pix).

Fast forward a couple of years, and one of the pieces has changed significantly – first,  it  is no longer surrounded by scaffolding, and it now seems fully carved.  In addition, it is no longer in its unfinished, natural state, as it was over the last year.  It is now blackened, with silver or white accents and metal-worked jewels, instead of the natural wood tones.  It was only up close that I realized this piece was the queen. That epiphany  helped me to decide this was a good time to revisit the installation and share with you how it had changed.  Hope you enjoy these 5* images.


  • The View North – The nameplate on this installation says “Checkmate”, so presumably, the Knight has taken what I now recognize as the Queen.  In this image, both pieces of the art installation provide an archway to view north on Lake Shore Drive. The Queen, on the left,  shows up as a great contrast to the park greenery.


  • The Queen In Her Glory  – Adorned now with black paint, accented by silver or white paint, and decorated with jewels made of studs, golden metal strips and metal discs, the Queen looks entirely different than last year, when it was out of the scaffolding, but not so ornate. It stands out nicely against the blue sky – in fact, it was the stark contrasting colors that made me notice the changes.  I love the metalwork adorning her hair and crown — even in defeat, she has dignity and beauty!


  • The Knight –  This figure, the Knight, hasn’t received the same level of embellishment as the Queen, but who expects the Knight to have regal glamor?  (Even so, I will keep my eyes open for future changes.)   Looking upwards towards the sky, I’d say the Knight seems to be enjoying the victory.

The Chicago Tree Project has spectacular examples, and this installation showcases but two of them, one, newly adorned and embellished.   I now appreciate that what I saw two years ago was the early emergence.  The glimpses I caught over the last year, while they captured my attention, were just that – glimpses.  This trip, I was able to gain a  greater  understanding and appreciation of the hewn wood figures (with apologies to Ms. McMahon if I didn’t).

I hope you enjoyed my visit, and these 5* images – see more like these on Instagram (@eyevpointofview).

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