Carbon Series: Camp Fire
The erasure of my childhood hometown of Paradise, California by the 2018 Camp Fire reshaped my art practice.
It forced me to comprehend: the ultimate measure of human influences, global warming, is here, now. The fire’s unprecedented destruction, meted out with an impartial hand on all life forms within its reach, was the natural outcome of intractable heat and desiccation.
Before the fire, my ongoing artistic thesis had been to link human impacts to the decline of native California tree species. Since then, I’m using the Camp Fire as a reference point from which to consider the intertwinement of people and the environment in the face of anthropogenic climate change.
Part of my work is commemorative. I pair charred natural and man-made materials gleaned from within the burn scar with forms and methods that evoke funerary and memorialization practices. The inherent immobility of these materials – the detritus of combustion, soil, stone, vegetation, personal effects – reflects that the consequences of global warming most affect those without the means to move on.
Other parts of my work are narrative. Two years after the Camp Fire, I conducted a series of interviews with survivors. All described profoundly changed relationships with the ideas of security and control. These personal reorientations, considered within the larger context of climate change-driven habitat loss, infuse my work. Using remnants of the fire and its regional aftermath, I make illusory shelters that acknowledge escalating vulnerabilities as refuge declines throughout our warming planet.
Installation pieces, approximately 12′ x 10,’ graphite, charcoal, ash, and mud on trace paper suspended with electrical clips, filament, aluminum wire, and galvanized steel pipes.
In Defensible Space
Installation, 29″ x 44,” burnt rifles and chaparral branches
8′ x 9’6″ Graphite, charcoal, ash, and mud on trace paper
Mineral Artifact Series
Boulder fragments, mud, ash
Phase 2 Cleanup Complete
Mud and ash
Works on Paper
Charcoal, ash, graphite, mud on gridded various papers