New Exhibit to Observe Ten Years Since 2003 Forest Fires

Exhibition: From the Soot and Ashes
Artists: Zev Tifenbach & Suze Woolf
Date: 24 July, 2013 to 30 August, 2013

The summer of 2013 marks the ten year anniversary of the Okanagan’s devastating 2003 forest fires. To observe the occasion the Lake Country Art Gallery will present its exhibit From the Soot and Ashes.


In the summer of 2003 the Kelowna region suffered one of the worst forest fires to date. As the biggest evacuation in British Columbia’s history, it was a very tense time to live in the area.

The summer of 2013 marks the ten year anniversary of the devastating Okanagan Mountain Forest Fire. To observe the occasion the Lake Country Art Gallery is pleased to present its sixth exhibition this year, From the Soot and Ashes, from July 24th to August 30st, 2013.

“As a threat we continually deal with, there’s a ubiquitous alertness to the danger of forest fires,” said manager Petrina McNeill. “The power of fire, in this region in particular, is unmistakable.”

Curator Katie Brennan conceived of the exhibition over a year ago. “From the Soot and Ashes is quite a contentious exhibit,” said Brennan. “While some may interpret the art to malign the natural disaster, others may see beauty or elements of hope and honour in Tifenbach’s and Woolf’s work.”

Pointing to the relationship between natural disasters, religiosity and the suburban reclamation of burnt land, Tifenbach’s photographs document the state of the area affected by the 2003 fires four years after the fact.

Tifenbach photographed both homes rebuilt and the new suburban sprawl amongst the landscapes of charred logs and barren hillsides. This body of work leads to a lot of questions regarding the devastation and heartache of the fires as well as their clashing with the lucrative prospects of new subdivisions.

To Woolf, the remains of forest fires are simultaneously disturbing and strangely beautiful. Her highly realistic watercolours of burnt trees and bark, at times burnt with fire itself, suggest a battered and fragile ecosystem. These hyper-realistic tree-shaped paintings are littered about the gallery to evoke feelings of being amidst a charred forest.

For this exhibition the gallery has partnered with the documentary film Firestorm, which premiers August 16th at Kelowna’s Paramount Theatre. The crew will have a presence at the exhibit’s July 24th Opening Reception at 6PM.

Tifenbach and Woolf will speak to their bodies of work in an Artist Talk Saturday, July 27th at 3PM at the Lake Country Art Gallery.

In his second lecture of the Art History’s Masters Meet Lake Country lecture series, Peter Green will present the lecture Forces of Nature: Landscapes, Natural Disasters and the Rebirth of Springtime in Art August 17th at 3PM.

The exhibition will close August 30st, 2013. Admission to the gallery is free.

Leave A Comment