Fumées – Andréanne Godin
Before the smoke comes any closer, before it consumes us completely. . .
We step over tree stumps grown over with large polypores; soft, green moss and fallen leaves carpet the forest floor. Looking towards the sky, the light sometimes blinds us as it penetrates the openwork of leaves that ripples with each breath of the wind. As our movement stirs up the aromas of the undergrowth, the soft scent of mildew in the loose soil mingles with that of the Douglas firs, the bunchgrasses, and the black spruce trees.
It is as though the horizon, invisible behind the hill, is hidden by rising columns of smoke—pillars that sway at the mercy of the breeze, at the mercy of hot and cold air masses that meet above our heads; billowing gracefully, they inscribe downy shapes on the blue sky.
The air is thick, now, suspended, floating strangely between sky and earth. Perplexed, covering our faces with cloths, we scrutinize the surface of the earth. Flakes of ash fall from the sky, waltzing their descent. A strange feeling of stillness hovers over the scene, bringing us a sort of comfort. The gravity of the moment remains; undiminished, it prevents us from moving forward, holds us powerless in contemplation.
I look for landmarks, but space, plane, and line are indistinct. I look at my watch, but the hands seem to be frozen, as if trapped by the weight of time…
The 2003 Okanagan Mountain Park Fire was the largest forest fire in the history of British Columbia. It ravaged close to 62,000 acres (256 km2) and forced the evacuation of 27,000 residents of the valley. The intensity of the fire was such that it threw flaming debris and ash as far as eight kilometres from the main site of the fire. Witness to these events, the artist remembers the smells, images, and impressions of space that preceded and followed the fire.
Andréanne Godin is an artist who explores the possibilities of an expanded practice of drawing. In ephemeral works that occupy a space between image construction and deconstruction, she seeks to understand the various processes at work in the transformation of the landscape and the environment that surrounds us.
Originally from Val-d’Or, Abitibi, Andréanne currently lives and works in Montreal, where she is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts at Concordia University. The recipient of grants from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec and the Canada Council for the Arts, she has recently presented her work in several solo and group exhibitions in Quebec, France, and Cuba. Alongside her practice as an artist, Andréanne devotes part of her time to publications and curatorial projects that aim to enliven the Montreal art scene. She co-curated the exhibition Pavillon levé (dix jours à vaincre les mortes eaux) at the Centre d’exposition Circa in summer 2011, and in 2012 she co-coordinated Lucky 7 chanceux, a publication of work by MFA students at Concordia University.