All That Familiar Light, is a research based body of work that explores the history of large scale nuclear weapons and technology, end times narratives, the poetics of light, negative feedback loops and symbols of ascension.
All That Familiar Light
All That Familiar Light
Laser engraved woodcut on BFK
8” x 52”
This image, beautiful upon first glance, reveals and uglier truth as you learn it's of a mushroom cloud. This particular cloud was a result of the first US test of a full scale thermonuclear device in 1952, codenamed Ivy Mike. The adjacent wall is painted, "Drunk tank pink," which is a common color for "drunk tanks" in jail designed to reduce the belligerence of those who are arrested and thrown in the tank. The color is supposed supposed to make the viewer calm. I am trying to reconcile what it means to live in a world with a collection of 15,000 nuclear weapons, a number so big that it vibrates between fiction and reality. This image shares a similar double identity, beautiful and horrifying, a part of history and our future, fictional and real.
I Can Confirm That It Is Delicious Rio Star Grapefruit, wood, paint
6” x 32”
The Rio Star Grapefruit is one of about 2000 plant varieties that we eat today that are a product of radiation breeding experiments. In the 1950s the US government launched a campaign called, Atoms For Peace, to try and show that the same nuclear technology that made the most vile weapon in the history of the world could do more than kill thousands of people at once, that it could also, of all things, be used to grow better food. Gamma Gardens showered crops with a radioactive isotope in hopes of engineering mutations that would make bigger better crops. They thought atomized food could solve world hunger. The campaign was short lived - most mutations weren’t the desirable kind, usually clusters of tumors - but some of its few successful mutations still exist today, like Texas’ highest yielding grapefruit, the Rio Star Grapefruit.
For We Were Certainly Disappointed
Laser etched paper
8" x 10"
This image comes from an early thermonuclear device test in New Mexico in the 1950s. Viewers sit in Adirondack chairs with dark goggles awaiting the show. The title for this piece comes from a quote from William Miller, a baptist preacher and leader of the Millerites, who declared the world would end with the second advent of Christ in 1844. A group of Millerites huddled in a church, praying and singing, happy and ready for the end/beginning to come. But of course, the world did not end in 1844 and Miller issued an public apology stating, "For we were certainly disappointed. We expected our personal coming of Christ at that time; and now to contend that we were not mistaken is dishonest. We should never be ashamed to confess all of our errors."
3" x 9
Mother Mary was the only saint to make it to heaven without dying. Revelation states, "There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder, an earthquake, and a violent hailstorm. A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun..." Mother Mary was a virgin but also gave birth, she made it to heaven but didn't die. This holding of contradictory truths is similar to the Atoms For Peace project, launched by the US government, that attempted to use nuclear technology for the common good in addition to a tool that can slaughter millions. In this piece Mother Mary has fallen from heaven and rests on the ground but is still, "clothed with the sun," albeit a neon sun.
It Devours Itself (still from performance for video) 11 megaphones are placed in a negative feedback loop and played like an instrument