Klara Maisch and Debbie Clarke Moderow
Science Consultants: Becky Hewitt, Anna Talucci, Jill Johnstone, and Michelle Mack
Two Trees by painter Klara Maisch and writer Debbie Clarke Moderow is an outgrowth of their first collaborative piece, Solace of Circles. The paintings depict a recently burned tree from the 2021 Yankovich Fire and a weathered tree in Denali that likely burned 100 years ago. The layered landscapes behind each tree show different boreal processes interacting through time. The two trees are shaped by their surroundings, linked by cycles of light and dark, freeze and thaw, life and death. This work was created in response to the uncertainty, loss, and unprecedented change of the last two years. In their ongoing artistic conversation, Debbie and Klara found consolation in the interconnectivity of the boreal forest. They are grateful for the scientific guidance and support of Becky Hewitt, Anna Talucci, Jill Johnstone, and Michelle Mack.
I am appreciative of Maïté Agopian, Todd Sherman, Marianne Stolz, Gail Priday, and Kelsey Aho, who all joined me on walks or painting sessions in the woods to talk about our projects and brainstorm ideas. I am also grateful for conversations with Margo Klass, who helped refine the visual presentation for Solace of Circles. The collaborative and community-driven nature of this program makes me confident there are traces of inspiration from everyone involved with ITOC in this work. Thank you.
Klara Maisch documents landscape change in oil paintings created on location. Klara travels to remote regions of Alaska to paint outside, where direct experiences with the processes that shape a landscape inform the visual dynamics in her work. She is currently painting places transformed by wildfires, glacier retreat, permafrost thaw, and advancing treeline. Klara’s paintings have been featured in exhibitions throughout Alaska, California, Washington, and Hawaii. She was honored to receive support from the Alaska State Council on the Arts and The Puffin Foundation for her work with In A Time of Change: Boreal Forest Stories.
Debbie Clarke Moderow
Debbie Clarke Moderow writes creative nonfiction. Her memoir, Fast Into the Night: A Woman, Her Dogs, and Their Journey North on the Iditarod Trail, was awarded the 2016 National Outdoor Book Award in Outdoor Literature and the 2017 Willa Award in Creative Nonfiction. She was honored to participate in ITOC: Microbial Worlds, and to collaborate with painter Klara Maisch in ITOC: Boreal Forest Stories.
Debbie earned a BA from Princeton University (1977) and an MFA from Pacific Lutheran University (2013). Her ongoing writing explores her lifelong relationship to wilderness landscapes in the context of change, both personal and global.