Art, Wildfire, and the End of Nature in the New West
Fire as omen and elemental force, as metaphor and searing personal experience—these are the subjects Douglas McCulloh explores in Facing Fire: Art, Wildfire, and the End of Nature in the New West.
California’s diverse ecologies are fire-prone, fire-adapted, even fire-dependent. In the past two decades, however, West Coast wildfires have exploded in scale and severity. There is a powerful consensus that we have entered a new era—nature unbalanced, the end of the stable world. Douglas McCulloh has assembled the work of 16 artists who bring us incendiary images from active fire lines and psychic burn zones.
Together the 16 artists face fire, sift its aftermath, struggle with its implications. Throughout is the uneasy sense that wildfire is a stand-in, a site of displacement for more immaterial fears, for the amorphous anxieties of the age.
This book is published in conjunction with an exhibition of the same name held at UCR ARTS: California Museum of Photography February 22–August 9, 2020.