Wildfires spark inspiration for new High Desert Museum exhibit


A new wildfire-focused exhibit, Rethinking Fire, opened at the High Desert Museum on Saturday.

Artist Bryan David Griffith used wood, beeswax, and fire itself to create paintings and sculptures, all meant to provoke thought about the human desire to control natural processes like fire.

“We are experiencing landscape-altering wildfires more frequently in the High Desert,” said Museum Executive Director Dana Whitelaw, Ph.D. “Rethinking Fire offers a different vantage point through art, demonstrating that a force like wildfire that can be intensely destructive can also create awareness, resilience and a call to action.”

Griffith had a personal experience with wildfire in 2014, when his home and studio were threatened by the Slide Fire in Sedona, Arizona.

He received a grant to study fire in the field with scientists as part of a group project called Fires of Change, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Joint Fire Science Consortium.

The work from the project earned the 2016 Viola Award from the Flagstaff Arts Council and sparked the solo exhibition Rethinking Fire at the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum in Arizona.

Griffith’s work is in public collections at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; University of Michigan Museum of Art; Center for Creative Photography and Fort Wayne Museum of Art.

He has exhibited extensively throughout the United States.

Rethinking Fire will be on display through January 9, 2022.

You can find more information about the exhibit here: highdesertmuseum.org/rethinking-fire


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