Through the intersection of art and science, Rethinking Fire invites visitors to explore the idea that forests and fire are not opposed, but rather part of the same continuous cycle. The exhibit explores the ecological role of fire and the human impacts behind the rise of large and severe wildfires. Arizona-based artist Bryan David Griffith used fire itself to create paintings, sculptures, and large-scale art installations for this exhibition. Quotes from leading researchers in the fields of fire ecology, forestry, and climate science accompany each work.
“In Western culture we often view dualities—light and darkness, life and death, forest and fire—as opposing forces in an epic struggle of good vs. evil”Bryan David Griffith
After his home and studio were threatened by wildfire in 2014, Griffith received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Joint Fire Science Consortium to study fire in the field. His work from that project earned several accolades, inspiring Griffith to produce Rethinking Fire as a solo show.
“In Western culture we often view dualities—light and darkness, life and death, forest and fire—as opposing forces in an epic struggle of good vs. evil,” said Griffith. “We see ourselves as fighting to preserve life and subdue death by taming nature to prevent unpredictable disasters like wildfire.
“My work explores the idea that these forces aren’t opposed, but rather part of the same continuous cycle. One can’t exist without the other…. I juxtapose soft organic lines and natural edges with geometric forms that convey our desire to control capricious natural processes—often with unintended consequences.”
Rethinking Fire seeks to inspire dialogue to increase forest resiliency and create more sustainable, fire-resilient communities.