"The Burnscapes" at Nature Consortium

April 12th WSAW, 2012
Nature Consortium presents Suze Woolf, “The Burnscapes” for a one night show with live music from7-8pm.  Come and see what Nature Consortium has going on for the month of April plus new pictures from the Youth Art Program.

Suze Woolf Artist Statement – “The Burnscapes”:

My immersion in the outdoors makes me acutely aware of threats to it. In the mountains, I’ve watched familiar glaciers recede and burned-over areas expand. The remains of forest fires are simultaneously disturbing and strangely beautiful. Unfamiliar tree forms are exposed. Hidden terrain features become visible. Greens, blues, browns are inverted.

While forest fires are part of a natural cycle, global warming affects normal fire regimes, leading to complex second-order effects. Insect invasions, erosion, microclimate temperature extremes and other impacts increase the volatility of change. British Columbia’s vast diseased forests have become a net carbon source, where once they were a sink. In 2011, researchers hypothesized that fire cycles are now so frequent that forests in Yellowstone National Park (US) will transform into grasslands.

There are multiple ironies here: subject matter—beauty found in terrible things, and terrible things in all that beauty. And medium: watercolor has connotations of the well-off tourist, a kind of genteel “nice-ness”—I strive to demonstrate it as a medium of impact.

I began painting conventional landscapes of distressing subject matter, increasing in scale. After a Banff Centre residency I returned to the landscape for temporary installations to underscore their meaning: I wrapped life-size paintings of burned trees around live trees. Seeing those paintings in nature is an intriguing cognitive and visual dissonance that provokes thought: is this the future of this tree? What is real and what is imagined? Which is the bark and which is the paper made from it?
I have begun drawing with wood burning tools, as in Pick-up Sticks. In the future I plan to make molds of fire-scarring in the field, and use these to create paper casts where the paper is made from burned wood. Increasingly my process is a larger part of my message.


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