MFA Studio Art 2022
The erasure of my childhood hometown of Paradise, California by the 2018 Camp Fire reshaped my art practice. I experienced a reckoning: the ultimate measure of human influences, global warming, was 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 - vegetation, stones, soil, personal effects - reflects that the consequences of global warming most affect those without the means to move on.
Image: Inscription 3, Approx. 12’ x 9’, Trace paper, charcoal, soil, ash, graphite, electrical clips, galvanized pipe, and filament. 2019. Images courtesy of the artist © Eve Werner