University of Arizona
College of Fine Arts - School of Art

School of Art Galleries

Gabrielle Walter


Fireweed is inspired by a 2022 trip to Juneau, Alaska where I reconnected with my body through place. An artist book, illustration series, and animation incorporate cyanotypes gathered during this journey to tell the story of a fictional protagonist in conflict with herself and nature. As this young woman goes for a walk, she fixates on the beauty of the landscape, spurring a thought spiral about her aesthetic and physical worth in the vastness of her location. Alaska’s native fireweed (Chamaenerion angustifolium) becomes a catalyst for change as the defeated protagonist finds similarities in her own journey and this weed’s ability to survive.

With this work, I was able to ask how the body affects our navigation of mental and physical spaces. Set to the backdrop of a cyanotype mountain range, I sought to capture the role nature can play in this relationship as it forces us to acknowledge our bodies through physical exertion and witness the beauty found in harsh conditions. Fireweed is an ode to the endurance of the human form and the relationship between femininity, resilience, and the body.

MFA 2023 Thesis Exhibition