GATHER BY FIRE: a backyard ritual sculpture burn| Week 11 of 11

April 16, 2022. Theme by Caitlind Brown & Wayne Garrett

Elaine Weryshko
Jamie Tognazzini
Kamila Eltassi
Kat Dornian
Sarah Smalik
Wayne Garrett
Caitlind Brown

Featuring the unveiling of Maggie Schaefer’s SNOWDOWN Time-Capsule and an impromptu performance by Audrey Lane Cockett.

The final theme of The Hibernation Project 2022, GATHER BY FIRE is a semi-annual tribute to our dearly departed pal Matthew Mark Bourree 🖤 Speaking to the great and mystical magnetism of people towards light, heat, and each other, participating artists constructed sculptures from cardboard or wood, and burned them on a collective pyre in a ritual to summon the Spring.

Hearkening to primal relationships, GATHER BY FIRE was named for performative sculpture “We Gather By Night and Are Consumed by Fire” by Sarah Smalik & Matthew Mark Bourree.

The first piece to burn was Kat Dornian’s. Kat constructed their burnable piece from cardboard toilet paper tubes, making a suit reminiscent of costumes, armour, and countless other aesthetic references – which was then burned in an informal performance. 

Wayne Garrett made an offcut wooden sculpture as a loose tribute to Matt’s aesthetic sensibilities. It took a while to light, and then burned like stink!

Kamila Eltassi shared a minimalist text piece, “My Word is Free” written in English and Arabic. This is a phrase she returns to, in her personal life and professional world alike.

Jamie built a flat-pack unicorn, stuffed with sentiments and love letters. The unicorn was released in a fiery tribute to feelings gone by.

Throughout the evening, Sarah Smalik’s projection installation was “burning” – projected on the side of the garage.

Smalik made the text-based sculpture in preparation for GATHER BY FIRE in 2021, at a time when the event was foiled by rising COVID numbers. She burned the piece anyway, filming two videos. Last week, we screened the videos against the wall of the garage and hanged her scorched letters from the laundry line, a dozen feet from the firepit where the video was shot a year prior.

Elaine Weryshko also made her piece in 2021. Stored in the basement for a year, the matchstick and text sculpture documented a tenuous moment of vulnerability and mortality. The piece burned fast and bright.

Caitlind Brown led an informal group performance intended as a playful political gesture. First, participants relocated a collection of cartoony cardboard flags, reminiscent of the flags outside an embassy or capitol building, and stood in a circle around the fire.

Each person held their cardboard flag as if staked into the ground, and then fire was passed around the circle, flag to flag, until all the flags were burning.

As our flags were lit, we each named a place we wanted to let go of – personally. At the end, all our flags were consumed by fire, along with the infrastructure holding them.

Maggie Schaefer revealed her SNOWDOWN Time-Capsule – a series of small artworks collected from various artists, packaged in jars, and frozen in snow for weeks. The sun melted the snow, revealing these mini-works – just in time for GATHER BY FIRE.

Caitlind Brown burned a second piece – the Saddledome Sled she made for the build-your-own-toboggan theme in late January. In the moment, it felt right to sacrifice the cardboard architecture on the pyre of burning sculptures. Considering the anticipated demolition of the IRL Saddledome, a dramatic ending for this little sled seemed appropriate.

The night ended as dramatically as it began, with an impromptu fire-quenching drag performance by Audrey Lane Cockett.

Thank you to the many artists, friends, and participants to gathered with us for the final Hibernation Project!

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