NOVEMBER 2021 | GROUP EXHIBITION | ELEMENTS: FIRE
The second of four group exhibitions grounded by the elements, Elements: Fire opens at Foster/White Gallery on November 4, 2021. A wide range of interpretations, the artwork in this grouping includes explorations of the increasing frequency of forest fires and their implications, the raw violence of fire, and the beauty of a flame; we are reminded of water's power against an inferno, given images of death and rebirth, of natural cycles, and of the devastation left in a fire's wake. And, despite the impact of that devastation, many of us have deeply cherished memories attached to fire - it can represent gathering with loved ones, staring into embers beneath starry skies, learning to make a s'more for the first time, or warming cold hands after hours in the snow.
Historically relied upon to sustain life - warmth, light, the daily preparation of meals - fire has taken a lesser role in our lives in modern society; its domestic presence is typically limited to the infrequent hearth, reserved for back-yard fire pits, and camping trips. Still, collectively we acknowledge the power and mystique of its immense force; one that we control when we can, and are lost to when we cannot.
Elements: Fire is a challenging exhibition in light of the current reality and impact of forest fires around the world, but beautiful in its diverse perspectives. We grapple with the knowledge that this combustion often stems from the negative impacts of our race on the natural world, while also navigating the inherent truth of an environmental cycle that includes fire and its effects as part of a healthy rhythm. In a world that has changed so significantly in the past fifty years, we have yet to find a balance between ourselves and some of the most constant and elemental forces of our planet. Seeking to master fire, we are as yet subject to its tendencies, despite how drastically our own have changed.
Says participating artist Sarah Winkler,
"In the Smoke Signals paintings, I want to capture the explosive dance of the wildfire. Emit the heat of the moment. The splatters of smoke and lines of a blaze where the almost amorphous land forms appear to melt. A wildfire is an event which demonstrates both nature's violence and its vulnerability. Though this environment is nothing but hostile for human life, through choice of color these images have a sensuality, a sense of calmness. A pure celebration of the power of nature."
At the waters edge fire has no future,
Its rage quiets,
Its wild heart beats softly,
Whispering apologies into the embers,
Birthing unrivaled beauty.
Poem by Shar Coulson
Shar Coulson, Fauna Flora Figure 173, 48 x 40 inches, $8,300