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Tori Karpenko

Invitation, 2024

Fire salvaged western red cedar tree, ink and acrylic paint

22 x 12 x 12 feet

Presented by Traver Gallery

Describing his practice Tori Karpenko writes, “I create sculptures with trees that bear the mark of wildfire to explore my emotional relationship with the landscape around me. My community in north-central Washington has watched more than 60% of the surrounding forest burn in the past 20 years. Our forests are out of balance from the trajectory of human intervention, amplified further by climate change. We know that fire is not the enemy and must learn to live with the undeniable force that sweeps the house clean. And while fire has scarred my mountain home, I also continue to witness Nature’s enduring imperative to rejuvenate. I remain hopeful for the restoration of balance and believe in the power of new life to heal our losses. In this way, my own life – and so many of our lives – share delicate parallels to the landscape; traumatic events, grief, and loss dot my emotional consciousness. I seek the same balance for myself as I do the world around me, to begin anew from the fires of life, to persevere. Working with a majestic, ancient, resilient cedar tree is an honor. Their unique capacity to burn hollow yet remain intact provides the opportunity to become intimately connected to each undulation of form, reading the story of the tree’s life from the inside out.”