Terrible Beauty: Smoke Plume Over Hood Mt., October 15, 2017 by Holly Downing

Terrible Beauty: Smoke Plume Over Hood Mt., October 15, 2017 by Holly Downing

Terrible Beauty: Smoke Plume Over Hood Mt., October 15, 2017

Holly Downing

Title

Terrible Beauty: Smoke Plume Over Hood Mt., October 15, 2017

 
Artist

Holly Downing

  1948 - PRESENT (biography)
Year
2018  
Technique
mezzotint 
Image Size
10 7/16 x 7 11/16" platemark 
Signature
pencil, lower right 
Edition Size
11 of 25  
Annotations
pencil titled, dated, and editioned 
Reference
 
Paper
white Rives BFK wove 
State
published 
Publisher
artist 
Inventory ID
HD212 
Price
$500.00 
Description

On October 8, 2017, wildfires sparked by fierce winds, faulty electrical wires, and drastically unkempt, drought-driven undergrowth ignited here in Sonoma and Napa Counties in Northern California. They soon spread out over 245,000 acres, into four neighboring counties, culminating in the deadliest and most damaging wildfire event in California's history, destroying thousands of homes.

For nearly three weeks, the famed rolling hills, dotted with native oaks and the bucolic scenes of agriculture and viticulture, burned with an intensity that melted metal. Over 10,000 firefighters, some from as far away as Canada and Australia, battled the blazes night and day until it was declared contained on October 31.

In this mezzotint, Downing utilizes her keen eye for chiaroscuro to capture the essence of the massive, towering plumes that loomed in the skies for days: the terrible beauty. She contains the horror of those weeks within the manageable confines of a soft, awesome image she witnessed herself while driving on the freeway. This piece showcases Downing's ability to find the salvageable beauty amidst the destruction and grief.