07 July, 1986

R7 Nuclear Tablecloth

R7 Nuclear Tablecloth
48x48" oil on panel
Corporate collection

The day I was etching in this large panel coated with red oil paint, it was announced over the radio that the nuclear power station at Chernobyl had exploded, and a cloud of fallout was spreading over Europe.

The image of a mushroom cloud, which of course has nothing to do with a reactor explosion, is symbolic of the word and idea of nuclear. The idea is that nuclear physics has a continuous influence over our lives, and the shadow of abuse of power and its sudden disruption of our quiet existence (the domestic checked tablecloth and the blue and white cup). A flurry of ravens (persistent ideas) is sent swirling away by the force of the explosion.

I was greatly affected by the notion that an event on the other side of the world could change our lives here. Although this is not an ‘anti-nuclear’ painting, it is meant to draw attention to the precarious stability of our lives.

Flame and ash,
Ash and cold,
The end of days.

None remains to save,
Is He then also dead?
Without me, can You exist?

Despair exists, despair
That grins from faceless
Burned and fused in the
concrete sphinx.

Aeons ago
The fiery gaseous cloud
Blossomed into earthly
Will the promise of glory be
Shattered by the sons of Cain?
-George I. Bernstein (from Winter Apocalypse)

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