Pyrometric investigates fire and wildfires through the lenses of art and ecology, highlighting human contributions to recurring natural processes that are at once destructive and transformative. The exhibit includes ceramics such as hand-thrown fire cones placed in a controlled burn with the aid of Ventura County Firefighters. Artists Amiko Matsuo and Brad Monsma work with locally sourced clay and chaparral and use contemporary and ancient techniques, including a Japanese coil-building method, nejitate. Other materials include the orange fire retardant dropped from helicopters, native seeds, pinecones and ash.
“In Japan, the transitional landscapes between villages, agriculture and mountain forests are called satoyama, where biodiversity and environmental stewardship depend upon human practices and traditions,” says Matsuo. “We see parallels in Southern California, where mixed-use agricultural landscapes suggest ways to connect traditional and new environmental practices.”
Matsuo teaches arts and ceramics at Allan Hancock College. She received her BA in art from UCLA and her MFA from Kansas State University. Her work has been shown extensively throughout the United States. Monsma is a professor of English at CSU Channel Islands. He received his master’s and PhD in English and American literature at USC. His writings and poems have appeared in numerous anthologies, and his book, The Sespe Wild: Southern California’s Last Free River, was published by the University of Nevada Press. Matsuo and Monsma also collaborated on the translation of Art Place Japan: The Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale and the Vision to Reconnect Art and Nature (Princeton Architectural Press, 2015). The two artists will present a related lecture titled Art and Community in a Vital, Material World at 4 p.m. Nov. 1.
Admission is free. The Kwan Fong Gallery, located in Soiland Humanities Center, is open to the public 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Street parking is by permit 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Parking lots are located north and south of Olsen Road on Mountclef Boulevard.