Margaret “Megan” Urban is a visual communicator, teaching and working in the field of graphic design. She creates artwork contemplating the way humans comprehend the world and how events define our understanding of reality and history.
“In this diptych, I contemplate two related moments in both our understanding of physics and the development of nuclear warfare. The Teak and Orange Shots were 3.8 megaton nuclear weapons exploded over the Marshall Islands as part of the 1958 Hardtack 1 test series. Both shots were launched with Redstone rockets, Teak exploding at over 47 miles or 76 km into the atmosphere while Orange reached over 23 miles or 38 km. These two explosions were the largest high altitude tests conducted by the United States and, according to declassified reports from Los Alamos National Labs, they were conducted even though there was a very real question that they might burn a hole in the ozone layer.
“In a way, the materials used in these paintings are the same materials that lead to the mapping of the atomic structure. They are composed of gold leaf, wax and pigment in the form of encaustic paint, applied to lead. Early physicists used lead to insulate their experiments and wax and gold to slow down and isolate protons and neutrons so they could be detected.
“The diagrams inscribed into the surfaces of the paintings had profound effect on scientific discovery, explaining the puzzling findings of early experimental physicists and allowing for an understanding of subatomic phenomena. This knowledge became the foundation for our understanding of the universe and for the splitting of the atom in the atomic bomb.”
Visit Megan's website at http://watchingdogsdream.com/.