The Rising Arts Writers Program is an initiative created by The Arts Beacon to encourage, mentor, support and post writings by aspiring locals writers. With the intention of fostering critical responses to art and artists in the Valley, the RAW Program creates an opportunity for up and coming writers to comment on their own art scene using the platform of The Arts Beacon website while also being a valuable resource for local artists seeking insights into their practice.
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Griffith states that the inspiration of this work comes from a close experience with wildfires and it affecting his life in full. The threat of fire destroying his home and work space brought about a new sense of gratitude for what is and an awareness that he could not shake. By looking into forest fires with scientist, he began to cultivate new ideas about how to bring this awareness to his work. His use of natural material combined with geometric shape create such a dynamic view that transcends the mind.
Bryan David Griffith’s exhibit Rethinking Fire, is a compelling and thought provoking series of art pieces. Ranging from sculptural work to photographs, it addresses the concerns of fire and the power it holds. It seeks to convey a new notion about fire, to destroy our current perceptions of nature, and bring about a reverence for the cycle of life in all its forms. Griffith creates wonderful works of art that are not only beautiful and ethereal, but also shocking and eye opening.
As you enter into this space you are confronted by his piece titled, Wax and Wane, which show two crescent moons facing up and down. This diptych was created using a process that is very much connected with fire. The background is created using pigmented wax that is heated up and then burned into the material and smoke to accentuate the forms he has created. Many of the pieces shown are created using this process and are meant to provide us with a view in which fire does not only destroy, but it also brings about life and a new sense of freedom. The smoke is not contained neatly in the shape itself and is allowed to flow freely as it desires. Griffith uses sculpture to reflect the ideas of fire being more than just a destructive natural element. In the middle of the room sits a gigantic sculpture of burnt wood and cut wood that ascend and descend as it moves along. This piece further reflects the idea of fire, and more specifically forest fires, as a natural occurrence and it is a part of the beauty of life. In the back corner sits a sculpture that appears to be floating in space. On the ground sits a ring of burnt wood and hanging from the ceiling is an elegant arrangement of orange and yellow leaves. The symbolism of fire is stretching the limits our culture has yet to experience. The dualities of life are not meant to provide fear but an acceptance and understanding of what is will always come to be.
Griffith uses powerful symbols and the literal and natural forms to provide us with a new understanding. While viewing this exhibit not only will you connect with these notions but it may also awaken a sense of self. One cannot venture through this story and not have been touched by the fire. Fire can be a very dangerous element but it also holds the power to heal and create life. By entering into this exhibit I feel it is meant to not only teach us about the world but also ourselves. It is a reminder that not everything is black or white, and what exists in the shadows can only be illuminated by the fire of our consciousness.
This exhibit is available to see at the Mesa Arts Center Museum in Mesa, Arizona until April 9th, 2017.