linocut, woodcut, and burnt drawings
box: 82 x 31 x 5.5 cm (closed); book: 79.5 x 27.5 x 3 cm (closed)
Inferno has been described by the artist as the first of a suite of artist books devoted to Australia’s ‘historical fires;’ of which this country is becoming increasingly familiar. The proposed acquisition is inspired by Black Saturday, the 2019 bushfires in Victoria. Considered Australia’s deadliest, the Black Saturday took the lives of 173 people, along with more than a million wild and domestic animals, and covered 450,000 hectares of land. Inferno presents snippets of facts about the disaster amongst stylised maps and bushfire imagery. The overlapping linocut and woodcut prints alongside drawings and burned detailing show a mastery of the printing processes. Fogwell’s choice of ashy greys, whites and blacks communicate the decimation of the fires, next to a choice of imagery including burnt tree stumps, plumes of smoke and the pointillist birds’-eye view of town maps. The work is a delicate visual honouring of the tragedy and expressing the artist’s personal grief.
Artspace Macaky, 2020
Since 1851 Australia’s bushfires have caused 800 deaths, billions of animals lost and immeasurable devastation to the environment. Statistics state 50% are caused by human activity including arson and carelessness.
“Inferno’ is the first book in a suite of books contemplating Australia’s historical fires. It is a unique piece culminating from months of cutting, printing and learning about the facts of fire. 2019 was the tenth anniversary of “Black Saturday” Australia’s deadliest fire and the 2020 fires are considered the worst. Survivors speak of “Being in a war zone”, the noise, the smell, the speed of destruction and the helplessness. “Black Saturday” was an inferno of destruction causing 173 deaths, 2,000 lost homes, left 7,500 homeless, burnt 4000,000 hectares and killed around 1,000,000 animals.
We cry for damage, loss of flora and fauna, donate money and time but still history repeats and I ask myself what have we learnt?
Dianne Fogwell, 2020
Macaky Regional Council Art Collection. Winner, Dalyrmple Bay Coal Terminal National Artists' Book Award, Libris Awards 2020.