Patrick Collier

Although I have always felt a strong affinity to the land, I never purposefully made art about nature. Nonetheless, as a farmer I began to find ways to incorporate daily chores into my art, and the more I worked the land, a new appreciation formed.

My ongoing series of photographs titled Candescent Fields is as much about farming practices as it is modernist painting. Initially, my intention in photographing the annual grass-seed field burnings in Oregon’s Willamette Valley was to document the whole process, from the logistics of starting the fires to the regeneration of the blackened fields.

I was continually struck by the rich textures and contrasting tones created by the blaze and billowing smoke juxtaposed with the surrounding untouched fields. Public outcry has initiated restrictions on the practice, and farmers see this as a threat to their livelihood. I appreciate both perspectives, yet was motivated by the stark beauty of the fire and its aftermath.

— Patrick Collier, Stayton, Oregon, USA