Tayloe Piggott Gallery presents Burn, a new series of large- scale photographs by artist Tuck Fauntleroy, running in congruency to Yellowstone National Park’s 150th anniversary. This new body of work focuses on the wildfire burn regions in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Fauntleroy’s new series visually displaces the viewer in a similar way to his previous Waterline series (released in 2018) and Elements series (released in 2020). Burn similarly showcases the artist’s scrupulous ability to play between negative and positive space, yet this time, Fauntleroy focuses on the elegant lines and forms created by a landscape scarred by flame.
Taken over the course of three winters, the series is a mixture of aerial and ground shots of the regions of Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park that have been drastically changed by wildfires over the past four decades. As with his previous work, Fauntleroy took many of the photos from the open windows of single-engine planes he chartered to fly over the areas, while other shots were taken by hiking into remote areas of the parks in different phases of the harsh Wyoming winters. The stark contrast of charred, disfigured trees against soft, untouched snow or serene waters makes for photos that are as peaceful as they are compelling.
The silence of these remote, charred spaces is palpable in these works.
Burn is timely in the face of the proliferation of recent fires across the western United States and globally. The massive 1988 Yellowstone fires were a wake-up call, foreshadowing the future climate catastrophes that have recently become the norm. Regions affected by these 1988 wildfires remain scarred and are depicted in the series, as well as abutting areas also altered by the numerous fires that have since followed. Warming, drought, and the resulting fires have never been more of a threat, and it is impossible to separate the beauty of these images from the destruction they were born of.
Critical to the series is the notion of taking something more widely perceived as unsightly and destructive and making it aesthetic and engaging. “I like to think of the winter season as a time for the land itself to rest. Zero human activity, the silence of falling snow in one of the most remote places on earth is enchanting and reflective. In that space, there’s hope of discovering a healing element that a landscape at rest is pristine and peaceful – it inspires promise.” Despite the implicit chaos that created this landscape, Fauntleroy’s artful documentation, paired with his keen sense of space, lends to create images that edge on abstraction and even impressionism through the presentation of very real areas of our National Parks that have been touched by flame. The result is a beguiling series of images that are, above all, meditative, invoking pure serenity in the face of arrant desolation.
Tuck Fauntleroy grew up in a small waterfront town on the eastern shore of Maryland. He graduated with a B.A. from Bucknell University in 2000 and moved west to Jackson Hole. Combined with his personal photographic practice, Fauntleroy developed a professional foundation as a photographer in the fields of architecture and interior design over the past 20 years. Published in recognized outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Dwell, Conde Nast Traveler, and Town & Country, Fauntleroy’s fine arts photography is committed to utilizing the aesthetics of the natural world. Tuck Fauntleroy lives and works in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Tuck Fauntleroy : Burn
on view through October 16th, 2022
Tayloe Piggott Gallery
62 S Glenwood St
Jackson, WY 83001