Ian Boyden Tripod

Nirvana: Carbon Inks, Burning Forests, and the Buddhist Endgame

Thursday, October 1, 2015 at 4:30pm
College of East Asian Studies Gallery at Mansfield Freeman Center


Ian Boyden '95 discusses how his long-term exploration of the material and ecology of a forest fire took an unexpected philosophical turn when he presented his work to a Chinese audience.

Mr. Boyden first stood in the black landscape of still-standing charcoal spires of the Okanogan National Forest in Washington state, he said “Everything was black. The entire forest charred. Waiting. It had become ink. I stood inside this catastrophic Chinese landscape painting, transfixed by the musculature of the trees revealed and shaped by fire. They had drawn themselves on the sky.” The exhibition Tripod Complex presents monumental scrolls that reveal both the trophic and catastrophic legacies of fire. A meditation on the emotional complexity of the forms, in the remains of ancient trees Mr. Boyden began to see a transformation of self, a profound cessation, and an insight into the Buddhist doctrine of no self.

The Tripod Complex exhibition is on display from Wednesday, September 30 through Friday, December 11, 2015. Closed Saturday, October 24 through Wednesday, October 28; and Tuesday, November 24 through Tuesday, December 1, 2015.

Mr. Boyden’s work was included in the exhibition The Alumni Show II on display in Wesleyan University's Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery from September through December 2013.

Image: Ian Boyden, Tripod Complex, carbon print