E-Museum of Pyrographic Art
Portraits and Paintings Hall
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On Fire Series
by Katherine Boland
"As in most civilisations,
from earliest times until now,
fire occupies a special place in Buddhism.
A fundamental emblematic element,
an unavoidable step on the path of knowledge,
an integral part of offering
because it is both heat and light,
fire symbolises above all,
purification and the flame of impermanence
in development and change."
Symbols of Tibetan Buddhism
by Claude B Levenson
This current body of work entitled 'On Fire' explores on many levels a relationship with fire that began in early childhood. For most of us, fire and the duality of its role as a destructive force or a useful servant has become part of our lives; its fiery nature burnt into the Australian psyche.
I remember hot summer nights hosing down the house, a red glow in the distance where my father was, a tree literally unzippered by lightning and exploding into flames, wet hessian bags and the desperation of stopping a fire from getting away, huge burning windrows and showers of sparks against the black sky, shielding myself from the intense heat. Holding my baby daughter and watching my husband drive off to fight an approaching bushfire, gutters and buckets overflowing with water, windows covered with corrugated iron. And then Las Fallas an annual festival in a Spanish province where gigantic papier maché effigies are set alight. The ritual of the puja, black sesame seeds consumed in fire, symbolising the purification of ignorance. And the night Jamie was burnt.
On a material level I have used fire to create the work. Wood panels have been scorched and burned using pyrographic equipment; the physical process of burning the wood simulating an act of nature.
The most dominant and emotional element affecting my work at the moment is the end of a
twenty-seven year relationship; its demise ignited by a fatal fire over two years ago, all subsequent events fuelled by the devastation. The sense of impermanence so eloquently explained in Buddhist philosophy becomes even more vivid as my art and I embark on a new journey. At once scared and excited.
And still there is landscape. The nostalgia for where I used to live for so many years; an influence I don't mind being attached to and one I know no matter where I am will continue to inspire me for the rest of my life.
— Katherine Boland
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© 2003, 2009, 2010 Kathleen M. Garvey Menéndez, all rights reserved.
Last updated 9 March 2010.