Wall Space Gallery is proud to present Tiffany April's second solo exhibition with the gallery, If You Discover Fire. Within this body of work, April explores Western post-human relationships to nature and technology within growing wildfire disasters.
"If You Discover Fire weaves together the myriad ways that our bodies and minds are
deeply connected to fire; from its effect on early hominin brain development, status
as a divine entity, mythological connections to sexuality, power, and knowledge, its
hand in Indigenous and Western land cultivation and technological developments,
and its role in balancing ecosystems."
- Tiffany April
(Left) If You Discover Fire II, acrylic and oil on canvas, 60 x 60 in. (Top right) A Fire From the Eyes, Acrylic, oil and chiffon on panel, 18 x 18 in. (Bottom right) Social Being, acrylic and oil on panel, 20 x 20 in.
"The ancient Greek philosopher Empedocles theorised that vision functioned by
emiting rays of fire from the eyes, similar to a lantern. In this sense, humans were
the illuminating source of their own world. Fire was considered part of human
biology, an extension of the human body reaching beyond its confines to interact with the world.
I find Empedocles hypothesis captures a meaningful depiction of human interaction
with the world that breaks with the idea of humans as individual, impenetrable
beings. Despite its human-centered implications, Empedocles was suggesting that
humans are in conversation with and affecting their environment."
- Tiffany April
Wildfires pose a significant threat to our landscape. Catastrophic fires have plagued forests
worldwide, including Australia, Oregon and B.C. In a recent report released by the United Nations, experts found that extreme fires could grow 33% by 2050. Nevertheless, it is essential to identify the importance fires and controlled burnings play within an environment and culture. Indigenous people have long used fires to shape the landscapes and increase biodiversity. Indigenous fire
stewardship promotes that controlled burns are crucial to the health of a forest; they rid the forest bed of fallen debris, eliminate invasive species and insects, create open space for young plant life to flourish and inject nutrients back into earth. While climate change promotes causality-ridden
wildfires, we must remember that fire is also a source of life and rejuvenation. If You Discover Fire explores these complexities through a cyclical journey of renewal and destruction.
In Prometheus' Gift, April explores the myth of Prometheus, the thief of fire who brought the element from the Gods to humans, thus granting the gift of knowledge. The large canvas echoes the significance of this tool. If You Discover Fire radiates the apocalyptic destruction witnessed during the peak of a burn. The eradication of vegetation leaves behind only the subtle topography of the landscape.
Relief by the Water refreshes the senses; like an oasis in the desert the piece offers a moment of escape and highlights how new growth can flourish post-fire. Where the Blueberries Grow touches on the long tradition of growing blueberries with fire; an Indigenous custom still in use today.
The life cycle of a wildfire is full of intricacies and paradoxes that can alarm but also enrich. April’s
If You Discover Fire demonstrates the constant transformations that landscapes and human culture faces under burning. Whilst climate change continues to disrupt this cycle, it is important to remember that fire does not signify death, but rather change.
Today, fire has made space travel and renewable energy possible. As our bodies continue to undergo mental and physical stressors of climate change, the question remains: if you discover fire what will you do with it — innovate or find the nearest exit?
- Tiffany April
If You Discover Fire Catalogue
Tiffany April is a visual artist working in painting and light-based installation. She deconstructs the hierarchy between human and non-human beings, and instead considers the human body as engrained in ecological processes. April uses sensuality and simplicity of forms woven in space to place the bodily on the same plane as the technological and the organic.
April completed her MFA at the University of Ottawa (2019), and her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Arts at Concordia University (2014). April was awarded participation in the Untapped Emerging Artist section at The Artist Project (2022) and took part in Toronto Outdoor Art Fair (2021). She was shortlisted for the RBC Emerging Artist Award (2020) and invited to create a public installation for the City of Ottawa’s Microcosm Project (2020). Her participation inEmergence2021(Galerie Art Image) was supported by the City of Ottawa’s Creation and Production Grant and the Ontario Arts Council’s Exhibition Assistance Grant. Her MFA thesis exhibition,The Surgeon and the Magician,was presented at the Ottawa Art Gallery (2019). Her work is in national and international private and public collections including Invest in Canada (2021) and the City of Ottawa’s art collection (2018, 2021). April has exhibited nationally (Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto) and internationally (London, Berlin and South Korea).
April is grateful to the Canada Council for the Arts for their support of this exhibition
A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources