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The Way the Wind Blows

Year: 2023

Presenter Name: Jolene Matheson

This 30 x 40 work of art is a commentary on the nuclear bomb testing program in Nevada during 1957. The Atomic Energy Commission conducted testing of nuclear bombs above ground in Nevada from 1951 until 1963, when the Limited Test Ban Treaty went into effect. From 1963 to 1992, testing was conducted underground. Tests were planned for days when the wind would be blowing over St. George, Utah. Shots would not be fired if the wind was blowing toward California.
This work focuses on the experience of my family during 1957, the year of my birth in Cedar City, Utah, and two years following, until my family moved to California. Long-term consequences of exposure to radioactive fallout has also been visually suggested in the work.
I used acrylic paint on canvas, collaged photos relevant to my family members living in southern Utah in 1957-1959, and uranium-containing grit gathered from the Morrison Formation in southeastern Utah.
The image depicts family members, sheep, and mushroom clouds over a background landscape depicting the Chinli Formation, of which the Morrison Formation is a portion. Grit embedded in matte medium is used to represent fallout.
University / Institution: Utah Valley University
Type: Visual Arts
Format: In Person
Presentation #A25
SESSION A (9:00-10:30AM)
Area of Research: Arts
Faculty Mentor: Alexandra Giannell