This summer marks the 10-year anniversary of the devastating Okanagan Mountain Forest Fire.
To observe the occasion, the Lake Country Art Gallery is presenting its sixth exhibition this year, From the Soot and Ashes, by artists Zev Tifenbach and Suze Woolf.
“As a threat we continually deal with, there’s a ubiquitous alertness to the danger of forest fires,” said gallery manager Petrina McNeill. “The power of fire, in this region in particular, is unmistakable.”
Curator Katie Brennan conceived of the exhibition over a year ago.
“From the Soot and Ashes is quite a contentious exhibit,” she said. “While some may interpret the art to malign the natural disaster, others may see beauty or elements of hope and honour in Tifenbach’s and Woolf’s work.”
Pointing to the relationship between natural disasters, religiosity and the suburban reclamation of burnt land, Tifenbach’s photographs document the state of the area affected by the 2003 fires four years after the fact.
Tifenbach photographed both homes rebuilt and the new suburban sprawl amongst the landscapes of charred logs and barren hillsides.
In turn, Woolf’s highly realistic watercolours of burnt trees and bark suggest a battered and fragile ecosystem.
“These hyper-realistic tree-shaped paintings are littered about the gallery to evoke feelings of being amidst a charred forest,” said Brennan.
From the Soot and Ashes opens at the gallery, 10356A Bottom Wood Lake Rd, Wednesday at 6 p.m. Tifenbach and Woolf will speak July 27 at 3 p.m. The show continues to Aug. 30.
Other events are also scheduled. Contact the gallery at (250) 766-1299, lakecountryartgallery.ca.