Mary Kavanagh

[drawings, 9" x 9"]

[ash from Enola Gay Hangar, Wendover Airfield, Utah]

 [sand from White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico]

Artist Statement

My art practice is indexical and spatial, encompassing image, drawing, object, video and performative installations. Engaging field research, immersive investigation, and documentation, I interrogate contested sites of industry, navigating the divide between public and private zones of cultural knowledge. Attentive to residue, trace, dust and the vestiges of time, I create multi-faceted material and text-based projects.

My ongoing work examining Cold War and nuclear testing programs, chronicles activities and ephemera at historic sites of interest including Trinity, New Mexico; Los Alamos, New Mexico; Utah Test and Training Range; Wendover Air Base, Utah; Nevada Test Site; Anchorage, Alaska; and Hiroshima, Japan.

Recent explorations in glass, breath and drawing return to the subject of the permeable body, open to imperceptible contaminants, atmospheric fallout and toxic drift, vulnerable subjects situated within socioeconomic systems that render capital before ecology or ethics  

 [concept drawings, 7"x7"]

[Glass work]

[work in progress, 6" - 8" diameter each, multiple pieces presented in cluster]

... and the vertical line became manifest as a glass tube, an impossible experiment, standing too tall to reach, standing in space, in the space of a tall room, the tube filled with this ash.  


[pink dots]

[Plague of Boils - The 6th Plague of Egypt]

Exodus 9:8-12
8 And the Lord said unto Moses and unto Aaron, Take to you handfuls of ashes of the furnace, and let Moses sprinkle it toward the heaven in the sight of Pharaoh.
9 And it shall become small dust in all the land of Egypt, and shall be a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast, throughout all the land of Egypt.
10 And they took ashes of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses sprinkled it up toward heaven; and it became a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast.
11 And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians.
12 And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had spoken unto Moses.

[Trinite... radioactive rain]

Trinity crater, just after blast
 Trinity, ground zero, men in crater


 Trinitite sample

 Trinitite sample, spherule

Trinitite was formed as a result of the Trinity atomic test near Alamogordo, New Mexico on July 16, 1945. Trinitite is mostly fused sand, or silicon dioxide. It is quartz with feldspar and various impurities. Trinitite formed when sand was sucked up into the nuclear fireball and fell as molten glass, like extremely hot radioactive rain.

"We came up with a theory that turned out was not new... that during the blast, a lot of the sand and debris got pulled up into the air and melted inside the fireball and then just simply rained down forming puddles that were so hot they puddled up just like water would puddle up on a table surface - and that's what Trinitite is. A lot of Trinitite was formed immediately by the heat of the blast but I'd say the predominant mechanism was this raining down effect.

We've analyzed it by gamaspectroscopy, and we've also analyzed it chemically. We've found that green Trinitite has iron in it, red Trinitite, a very unusual type, has excess copper and lays in one location. The copper came from some of the wires that ran up the tower to the detonation."

Robert Hermes, Polymer Physicist at Los Alamos Lab [interviewed on April 6, 2014]

[concept drawings, 7" x 7"]

1 comment:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.