RECEPTION: Fires of Change & Landscapes of Life & Death


5 Donna J Wan, Dumbarton Bridge (2), inkjet pigment print, 32 x 40 in

Fires of Change & Landscapes of Life & Death 

3:30pm: Talk with Artists & Scientists
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Public Reception

Fires of Change
Curated by Shawn Skabelund

Fires of Change explored the social and ecological issues behind the rise of catastrophic wildfires in the western United States through collaboration between scientists and contemporary artists. The Flagstaff Arts Council, Southwest Fire Science Consortium (SWFSC) and the Landscape Conservation Initiative at Northern Arizona University partnered with curator Shawn Skabelund to produce the exhibition. Fires of Change debuted at the Coconino Center for the Arts in Flagstaff, Arizona in the Fall of 2015 and traveled to the University of Arizona Museum of Art in Tucson in 2016. 

In late 2014, as a precursor to the exhibition, the ten participating artists attended Fire Science Bootcamp, a week-long, educationally immersive trip through the forests of Northern Arizona. A team of nationally regarded fire scientists and forest managers offered their insight, experience and training on the impact of wildfire in Northern Arizona. The resulting works comprising this exhibition were created in response to experiences during the Fire Science Bootcamp. 

Kathleen Brennan               Saskia Jordá
David Chorlton                    Helen Padilla
Craig Goodworth                Bonnie Peterson
Bryan David Griffith           Katharina Roth
Jennifer Gunlock                 Steven Yazzie

Landscapes of Life & Death
curated by Mary Anne Redding

Landscapes of Life & Death was a group photography exhibition guest curated by Mary Anne Redding for PhotoSummer 2017 and in conjunction with the exhibition Fires of ChangeLandscapes of Life & Death examined how photography poses a unique opportunity to look at loss, extinction, death and renewal, spanning emotional landscapes of human death as well as environmental landscapes of destruction. Six contemporary photographic artists including Lynne Buchanan, Kevin O'Connell, Kevin Horan, Marietta Patricia Leis, Ella Sala Myers and Donna J. Wan address the nuances of loss and grief for themselves and the planet by examining our intimate connections with nature. Generally, the idea of death makes people slightly, if not wholly, uncomfortable, especially when it’s the intimate idea of human death, the death of a beloved pet, or the mass destruction of life and landscape after a devastating fire. Yet many artists explore the shape of loss as a meditation on the landscape of death, whether contemplating their own or through a more universal meditation on loss and grief.  Many artists are exploring through their lenses the no longer subtle effects climate change is having on the landscape and those of us who inhabit altered lands. Photographs, grounded as they are in reality, or some approximation of reality—given digital interventions, pose a unique opportunity to look at the cycles of life and death, often in a public setting. How do contemporary photographic artists grapple with the nuances of loss of both death and life on a personal scale or through examining the scared embers of a seared landscape or the endangered wildlife on polluted waterways?

Mary Anne Redding (born Washington DC, 1960) is a writer and curator, currently she is the curator and assistant director of the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts at Appalachian State University.  She holds a B.A. in English Literature from Ohio University, an M.A. in Arts Administration from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, an M.L.S. from the University of Illinois, Champaign/Urbana, as well as an advanced certificate in Museum Studies from Arizona State University. Before taking her post as Curator at the Turchin Center, Redding was the Curator of the Marion Center for Photographic Arts and the Chair of the Photography Department at Santa Fe University of Art & Design. Previously, she was the Curator of Photography for the Palace of the Governors/New Mexico History Museum. She has written and published numerous essays on photography and contemporary art. 

Lynne Buchanan
Kevin Horan
Marietta Patricia Leis
Ella Sala Myers
Kevin O'Connell
Donna J. Wan

Image above left: Bryan David Griffith, Box & Burn, burned Ponderosa pine, 38 x 37 x 10 inches, photo by Tom Alexander
Image above right: Donna J. Wan, Dumbarton Bridge #4, 2014, inkjet pigment print, 32 x 40 inches