Vancouver artist showcases wildfire-inspired paintings

·2 min read
Liz Toohey-Wiese and her artwork are featured at the Caetani Centre in Vernon.  (Submitted by Liz Toohey-Wiese - image credit)
Liz Toohey-Wiese and her artwork are featured at the Caetani Centre in Vernon. (Submitted by Liz Toohey-Wiese - image credit)

An artist is showcasing her wildfire-inspired paintings and sculptures with the hopes of changing the public's perspective on the danger of fires.

Vancouver born and raised artist Liz Toohy-Wiese says wildfires first sparked her interest in the summers of 2017 and 2018 when fires blazed all over B.C.

"That was the first time that we had wildfire smoke that came all the way down into the city," she said on CBC's Daybreak South.

Toohy-Weise says she started painting forest fires shortly after but had never actually seen one in person.

That was until she moved to the Okanagan last summer and witnessed the Mount Christie fire in Penticton.

"That was my first time seeing the wildfire up close. And that's just been such a huge source of inspiration for me."

Submitted by Liz Toohey-Wiese
Submitted by Liz Toohey-Wiese

The fire led to evacuation orders and alerts that affected more than 4,000 homes in the Penticton area. One home was destroyed and at its peak, the wildfire stretched out over 2,000 hectares of land.

Toohy-Weise says when people see her work, they are often shocked at how beautiful they find it. She says her works are a stark reminder of how beauty can be defined differently and hopes they can inspire people to think differently about wildfires.

Exploring important topics

"I think that for me as a landscape artist, wildfires really touch on a number of topics," Toohy-Weise said.

"They talk about climate change and they talk about land use and they talk about the economy,"

Toohy-Weise says all these topics are complicated, and she hopes to continue to explore them in her artwork.

She says she wants her work to frame wildfires as a wider metaphor for the human desire to control nature, and at the repercussions of human interventions in natural processes.

Toohy-Weise's pieces will be featured at the Caetani Centre in Vernon starting June 25.

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