Saturday, April 16, 2011

Beauty and The Beast

Once again, our post is not a happy tale, much to our regret. The disaster in Japan awakens fear and angst for everyone. A natural disaster of this magnitude is too much for most souls to bear. Compound that with a man-made disaster, that has far reaching and deep psychological implications, and the burden may be too much for one nation, or the world, to handle.
We, as artists, but more so as Human Beings, are deeply concerned about the effects of nuclear energy. Yes, it's a "clean" source of electricity; Until an earthquake happens or someone falls asleep at the controls (think Homer Simpson!), or someone decides to fly an airplane into a reactor. Are we so arrogant to believe that any or all of these scenarios can't happen? Some of the comments from our politicians following the initial reports from Japan lead us to think so. And France as well, who derives 75% of their electricity from nukes, seem unfazed by what is happening in Japan.
Our concern about nuclear energy has once again pre-dated the latest disaster in Japan. And, again, we are not visionaries, merely observant, concerned and fearful. We also live about 20 miles from a nuclear power plant, whose steam can be seen rising above the nearby mountains and farm fields. This proximity coupled with our disdain and visual awe spawned some interesting pieces relative to current issues.
First there is "Cloudy," a Currier and Ives-esque pastoral landscape until closer inspection. Here we are pointing out the cloudy issue of living in close proximity to a power plant and how that effects both psychologically and physically those who live in the shadow of these plants. Not to mention the fact that many new houses are built in the shadows of these behemoths. Our houses are blue (from an old Milton-Bradley game called "Finance". Ironic, no?). The tree is dead but for one dying leaf.
In another ironic and timely piece, "Fallout" depicts a cherry tree whose leaves are blown off in a wind (nuclear) depicted in a very Japanese style. This landscape is also above a row of black (scorched) houses. Although this isn't speaking to nuclear power, it is addressing the effects of radiation on a population, specifically, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and more recently the entire Northeast coast of Japan.

And the final piece, and the most recent, is "Tower", again depicting a pastoral landscape. In the foreground looms a giant cooling tower. There are clouds in the blue sky. But upon closer inspection, the clouds are steam from the towers and the grassy hill is comprised of green Monopoly houses. This is directly influenced by the construction taking place near and around our local nuclear plant that can be seen while driving past. What are these people thinking who live in these houses today? How easy their access to the highway is so their commute is less painful? We can't imagine seeing those huge towers out of our kitchen window every day.
We feel that our pieces about nuclear power and humanity reflect an honest concern for the future. Are we, as a people, willing to risk everything for electricity? The atmosphere, the air we breathe, the water we drink, our lives??? It is time to rethink everything. Everything.