Silence is Golden is a work from 2011 and is made of 6 drawings on panels, each 18″x24″ making the piece 36″x72″ in its finished state. Each panel was sanded and filled with wood filler twice before being primed and painted with the same off-white acrylic latex paint that I use for my Future Living Projects pieces. The imagery is of a model home being sequentially shattered to pieces by an atomic bomb in the Nevada desert in 1955. The series was taken by an automatic camera and shows the effects of the 35th atomic bomb test on a house built 1 mile from the point of detonation, over a period of 2.3 seconds until total demolition. I discovered the title Silence is Golden while at the movies one day while taking a break from the drawing. It was at the beginning of the movie and was meant to remind the audience to be quiet while the movie was being shown. At that moment I remembered the saying, “Loose lips sink ships” from World War 2 and thought that the two sayings were similar in their implications.
The destructive power of atomic weaponry is both frightening and awe inspiring. The imagery that I use captures a still moment, a quiet pause in time that reduces our humanity through carelessness and wanton massive destruction. I dealt with the same subject matter in the series Paintings for a Brighter Future from 2002 which shows various atomic bomb clouds painted in oils. I wanted all of these paintings to be framed in elaborate gold gilded frames with gold tags with the name of each bomb attached to them but this part of the project proved to be too costly. I did frame Operation Plumbbob (Hood) and Operation Teapot (Moth) which are shown below, but only because I already had the frames and custom made the works specifically for them. I even have an old gold light that attaches to the frame of Hood that further pushes the painting into a more classical and traditional context. These were some of the first paintings that I used for my project Associated Artists for Propaganda Research.