From devastation and controversy, ‘Regeneration’ art exhibition to project onto Brian Head burn scar

Regeneration, a digital video projection and custom code, Brian Head, Utah, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Sean Noyce, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Artist Sean Noyce from Los Angeles is hosting a digital projection exhibition, “Regeneration,” at the Brian Head burn scar to inspire people with the renewal of the forest and bring the community together after last year’s devastating fire. 

This 2017 file photo shows some of the many burned trees consumed by the Brian Head Fire, Iron County, Utah, July 1, 2017 | Photo by Scott Young, St. George News

The exhibition will take place Friday from 8:30-10 p.m., so long as there is clear weather. “Regeneration” will be displayed in the trees off the road of state Route 143 approximately 2.5 miles before the Brian Head welcome sign.

While he’s never done a digital projection like this outside, he has done several indoor ones; his most recent was called “Heat” and was displayed at the San Diego Art Institute.

For “Regeneration,” Noyce will plug his laptop and a projector into a generator which will in turn project the image of live trees and leaves onto the burned trees. It is an interactive experience, with a station set up for guests to alter the image. Moving the mouse over a certain tree will cause it to “grow” and clicking on it will stop the growth. The projection will be accompanied by ambient noise and will be approximately 60 feet wide depending on several factors, including light from the moon and image quality.

Noyce was inspired to make “Regeneration” after he saw the aftermath of the 2017 Brian Head Fire that consumed over 71,000 acres of forest.

I was blown away by the devastation,” Noyce said.

Not only did the fire destroy thousands of acres of land, it sparked a controversy that produced lingering resentment in the community after Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, blamed the fire on environmentalists who he said stopped authorities from cutting down trees to prevent the spread of bark beetles, which killed the trees and fueled the Brian Head Fire with dry timber.

Read More: State and local politicians blame the spread of the Brian Head fire on environmentalists

“I wanted to create a project that was a little more inspiring, something that kind of drew people together as opposed to pointing fingers at everyone,” Noyce said.

“Heat,” a digital projection by Sean Noyce, 2013 | Image courtesy of Sean Noyce, St. George News

Noyce hopes to remind people of the beauty that was lost, while also reminding them that the scars are temporary and will be forgotten once new growth appears.

“That’s sort of the essence of where I was going with this project. The idea of rebirth and regeneration, and bringing people together on something that we can all kind of agree on,” Noyce said. “Yes, this was a horrible tragedy but let’s come together and let’s make this forest something that can be beautiful once again.”

Noyce was raised in Salt Lake City and has deep connections with Southern Utah, he said. His art has been shown in galleries and museums internationally. His work includes both paintings and digital projections like the one to be displayed at Brian Head.

Noyce, along with his fiance, artist Katerina Usvitsky, created Noysky Projects, a creative space in a 100-year-old courtyard in the Hollywood arts district that displays the work and exhibits of relatively new contemporary artists.

The couple is staying in Southern Utah all month as part of a personal art residency, allowing them to escape the confines of the city and be inspired by nature. They are currently working on a sculpture made of raw materials.

Since Noyce was in Southern Utah to work on art, he said he found it to be the perfect opportunity to give the community a glimpse of what the future can hold.

“If we can come together, we can make it great again and make the forest live and breath and be something that we can be proud of,” Noyce said.

Event details

  • What: “Regeneration” art exhibition by Sean Noyce.
  • When: Friday, Aug. 31, 8:30-10 p.m.
  • Where: SR-143, approximately 2.5 miles before the Brian Head welcome sign.
  • Admission: Free.

Email: mshoup@stgnews.com

Twitter:  @STGnews | @MikaylaShoup

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • mesaman August 28, 2018 at 8:05 pm

    After the light show will the burnt and dead timber still be standing there? Will these trees ever stop staring at us and making us feel guilty that we didn’t do more to prevent this horrific damage?

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