There has already been some chatter in the community about the anniversary of the Yarnell Hill Fire; the destruction and deaths, the political and legal buffoonery and fatigue. What could be an artist’s response?
The fire itself was a horrific and at the same time awe filled moment. A moment like so many when the real world, nature, slaps us in the face with its indiscriminate power. The deaths that were part of it tore our community to its heart. We responded as a community both in need and in giving. What followed later; the circus, pandering and trolling are immaterial.
The gallery is currently showing a painting by Vivian Luchessi-Farmer that, I believe, holds that event in its palm and offers it to us for reflection. It is not a highly detailed piece of realism of the fire’s horror or the maudlin remembrance of heroes we can never repay or forget or whose last moments we can ever fathom. The painting is large by the gallery’s norms, four feet by five. It is less realism than abstraction but that allows our personal thoughts, needs, experiences of the fire to fill in our own story of the events. And that’s what I think art provides, a way to share, to remember, to begin to resolve by confronting the horror and loss and assist our need to remember that, as a community, we are overcoming a tragedy, together, and that petty differences are like the smoke, gone on the wind.
If you get a chance, please come by. Along with Vivian Farmer’s work, Maureen Anderson, Jeannie Mehl and Cindi and Joe Shaffer are exhibiting some very nice work. Show continues until April 30th. Reception April 25th.