Fire Successional

Fires in Western Canada consume thousands of hectares of boreal forest.  This naturally cyclical phenomenon also serves as an alarming indication of climate change.

The installation Fire Successional draws attention to both the resilience and fragility of Western forests.   This work, inspired by a landscape recently ravaged by fire, represents beleaguered woodlands. A forest of more than thirty assemblage objects made from found burnt wood and basic hardware form a charred timber procession, seemingly in the process of exiting an inferno. Complete with wheels and handles, these strangely anthropomorphic forms limp across the gallery/forest floor, leaving their charcoaled tracks behind as evidence of their ecological footprint on the land. Visitors to the installation negotiate the charred bits, creating pathways through lines left on the gallery floor.  These smudged and erased pathways create trails for traversing by subsequent visitors.

The burnt materials for this work, gathered from forest areas where prescribed burning to circumvent voracious bark beetles and severe conflagration occurs, show an astonishing resemblance to mountain forms and rocks. Within this format, they serve as the burnt timber, the surrounding terrain, and even the fleeing animals and humans evacuating a fire.  This installation suggests a landscape, very much in the process of change, with elements re-enacting that timeless repetitive process of devastation and regrowth.

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Tiki Mulvihill, Fire Successional, Harcourt House, Edmonton Alberta, September, 2011 above and Campbell River Art Gallery, 2012 below              charcoal, charred timber, hardware and casters

Tiki Mulvihill, Fire Successional, Campbell River Gallery, June, 2012, charcoal, charred timber, hardware, casters