The explosive dance of the wild fire. Skies illuminate in spectacular hues of powdered smoke. Soft clouds of pink, carmine and amber billow and rise. The beauty and destruction, force and fragility of nature in one combined creative act.
Summers in the Western American and Canadian mountains have reached record breaking temperatures in recent history. The drought and dry landscape gives fuel to relentless large scale wildfires. In August 2018, I was caught out driving through a blaze. Thousands of acres were burning. I saw the line of explosive flames coming over a mountain range and the brave firefighters digging trenches, chainsawing a fire break and trying to divert the wall of fire racing towards them. The drama and dance between humankind vs nature. An outcome unknown. Somewhere in that moment, I found my next series of work.
Smoke Signals is a new series of environmental works focusing on massive scale wildfires. I’m documenting and revealing “sudden geology” - instant and unpredictable changes to the landscapes of the West.
“A striking aspect of these works is the heat they emit. The splatters of smoke and the lines of a blaze merge in these compositions, where the almost amorphous land forms appear to melt. A wildfire is an event which demonstrates both nature's violence and its vulnerability. Though this environment is nothing but hostile for human life, through choice of colour these images have a sensuality, a sense of calmness. Winkler's work could be compared to that of Georgia O'Keeffe, not only aesthetically (apparent in O'Keeffe's Red, Yellow and Black Streak, 1924) but also in its pure celebration of the power of nature.”
Megan Daly, Farewell Earth, Radical Art Review. UK. January 2019