the matter of life and death

Fires of Change is a collaborative project with the Southwest Fire Science Consortium, the Flagstaff Arts Council, and the Landscape Conservation Initiative (LCI) funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and Joint Fires Sciences Program. It aims to translate the complex social and ecological (new term: ecopyrosocioeconomological) issues surrounding wildfire into art. Our hope is that art will educate and invigorate people about the beauty and ecological necessity of wild fire.The exhibit opening is September 19, 2015 with a reception at Coconino Center for the Arts, in Flagstaff, Arizona.

I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend the Fires of Change workshop at the Grand Canyon in the fall of 2014, and it gave me the opportunity to focus on one of the most transformational elements in our lives and world – fire – and learn about the management of forest fires from the experts.

I found myself wanting to get up close and personal with this mysterious being we call fire. When I returned to the Grand Canyon as Artist in Residence in February, 2015, I met with Windy Bunn the fire ecologist and one of the presenters at our workshop, who enabled me to see a prescribed burn.

Damaged and weak trees succumb to the flames

The beginning of a prescribed burn.


On returning to my home in northern New Mexico, I captured another prescribed burn, filmed areas where fire had occurred 20 years prior and saw the results of fires that had overlapped over the years.




My final piece for this exhibit , “the matter of life and death” is edited footage from all these places that will be projected life-size on the wall to enable viewers to experience it as close to first-hand as possible.

This entry was posted in Kathleen's Blog and tagged , , , , , .


  1. Susan Embry August 25, 2015 at 1:08 pm #

    This is a beautiful and timely chronicle of events, Kathleen, as only you can develop it!

  2. kathleen August 25, 2015 at 1:12 pm #

    Thank you Susan, the show will be an amazing collaboration.

  3. annell August 25, 2015 at 1:16 pm #

    I am so proud of you! A wonderful body of work!


  4. Lyn August 25, 2015 at 1:31 pm #

    Yes, very timely and eerily beautiful!

  5. Ebby Malmgren August 25, 2015 at 2:46 pm #

    This is very special,and timely and invites some deep thinking. I will share what I come up with in the hope that it will encourage others to do the same.
    Thank and good wishes,

  6. Deonne Kahler August 25, 2015 at 5:48 pm #

    What a fabulous – and timely – project! Will you exhibit your piece in Taos as well?

  7. Michelle Cooke August 25, 2015 at 6:26 pm #

    This is an astounding and wonderful profile of nature’s beauty and terrific power.

  8. kathleen August 26, 2015 at 2:21 pm #

    My piece is an 8 minute video. I may put it online once the show opens.

  9. kathleen August 26, 2015 at 2:22 pm #

    Fire brings such a strong response from people…

  10. Polly Raye August 27, 2015 at 8:48 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this . . . it is moving. I hope there’s a place you can show it in Taos.

  11. Bob September 1, 2015 at 10:51 pm #

    Fire in its majesty is the universal goodness and house cleaner of nature’s way. Love the remants of the trees that carry those memories. Well done and look forward the video.