First Fall Gallery Exhibits!
Contact: Alisa Moore, VC Public Information Officer
By Alicia Doyle , Ventura County Star
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Wildfire Exhibit: “Rising from the Ashes” – Sept. 3 – 30, M-F, Noon to 4 pm in Gallery Two. Artists’ Reception, Sept 3 (Thursday), 7 pm – 9 pm, in front of Gallery Two.
Wildfire Safety Talk: Sept. 10, 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm, in Guthrie Hall, followed by a reception 8 pm -9 pm.
All events are free and open to the public.
Artwork using charcoal and ashes collected from local wildfire sites will highlight “Rising From the Ashes,” an exhibit by artist Hiroko Yoshimoto.
The exhibit at Ventura College will coincide with a talk on prevention, survival and environmental issues of wildfires.
“I saw the devastation of the Tea fire,” the Ventura artist said. “I visited the sites many times, attended survivor programs in Santa Barbara and talked with friends who survived the fires. My drawings and paintings are the result of my response to these experiences.”
Yoshimoto is presenting her artwork through the Artist in the Community Partnership Grants Program, which provides up to $5,000 in grants for dancers, writers, actors, painters, sculptors and other artists. The program is sponsored by the Ventura County Arts Council as part of ArtsLIVE in Ventura County, in partnership with the Ventura County Community Foundation and the James Irvine Foundation’s Communities Advancing the Arts Initiative.
“My exhibition and the wildfire safety talk are the result of my grant proposal,” said Yoshimoto, who received a $5,000 grant, 25 percent of which was a matching fund from the Ventura College Foundation.
Each artist then had to find a community partner for the project. “In my case, my artwork on the theme of the wildfire can be a useful visual tool to heighten fire safety awareness,” Yoshimoto said.
Given the region’s wildfires over the past few years, fire safety is a timely topic, said Norbert Tan, executive director of the Ventura College Foundation and moderator of the wildfire safety talk. The talk will feature panelists Yoshimoto, Capt. Ron Oatman of the Ventura County Fire Department, Fire Marshal Brian Clark of the Ventura Fire Department, Lindsey Taggart of the Community Environmental Council in Santa Barbara, and Dave Berry, a survivor of the Tea fire that destroyed hundreds of homes in Santa Barbara in November.
“Hiroko was moved by all the stories of perseverance surrounding the fires, from families who were victims to the firefighters and other county agencies that helped. She created works of art using the ashes from the fires, as the medium,” Tan said. “We hope that the attendees gain a greater understanding of fire safety, our local agencies, environmentalism, and, of course, the visual arts.”
Yoshimoto took photographs and collected burnt wood and ashes to use in her artwork.
“Dead materials coming alive in my art have the mission of warning against the dangers of wildfires, which can be prevented by heightening responsible human conduct,” Yoshimoto said, noting the majority of fires are caused by human acts.
“I have visited the sites and heard from the fire victims and survivors. The devastation is horrifying,” she said.
As an artist, “I will be satisfied if my art can generate in the viewing public a sense of awe and respect of the destructive powers of wildfires, and at the same time if it can make them realize, as a metaphor of life arising from death, the indestructible force of regeneration of nature that sprouts green buds out of the ashes,” Yoshimoto said.
Artist Hiroko Yoshimoto created “Burn #2” using charcoal collected from Ventura and Santa Barbara county burn sites, acrylic and pastel on paper.
Artist Hiroko Yoshimoto
Ventura College, 4667 Telegraph Road, Ventura, CA 93003 (805) 289-6000