Napa County ash paintings
napa county ash paintings
Destructive wildfires provide the art material, while vast empty vertical space represent the absence of their original form. The alchemy of transforming this base material into art with an emotional weight and presence, portrays a dance between grace and gravitas.
Each ash specimen used in the ash paintings is carefully collected and labeled in the field from various wildfire burn scars. This process is documented in the following clip:
napa county ash sources
- Atlas Fire: Fence Post, Oak #1, Oak # 2, Palm Tree, Secret Society, Scrub Oak Acorns
- Nuns Fire: Napa Valley Vineyard
- Tubbs Fire: Arby's Fast Food Chain, Palm Tree, Suburban Lawn
ash painting artist statement
These ash paintings reference East Asian ink wash painting and the foundational teachings of a Japanese aesthetic called, ‘ma’ (pronounced "maah"). ‘Ma’ is the essential void, space or interval within things. It is the silence between musical notes, intentional pauses in speech and the concept that makes minimalism possible. Wildfire ash and resin form the individual components of this body of work, yet the ‘ma’ or spatial void within them is the essence of the work itself.
I collect charred remains of trees, plants, structures and sometimes lawns from the burn scars of California wildfires. I chose resin for its hyper reflective quality and for its capacity to preserve and reanimate fragile wildfire ash, suspending the ash in three dimensions and freezing it in time. The smooth glass like surface creates a facade of perfection as well as a surface that reflects the viewer. Without ma, or a pause in space and time, the viewer may well miss their own presence within the art, and the opportunity for reflection on the role humans play in environmental disasters.
Destructive wildfires provide the art material, while the ma, or vast empty vertical space, represent the absence of the ash's original form. The alchemy of transforming this base material into art with an emotional weight and presence, portrays a dance between grace and gravitas. My work lures the viewer in by relying on humanity’s love of beauty, but delivers a statement about the danger of living life in a state of disconnect from nature, the self, and empathy.