silo memorial bell

Stephen McLaren

Dalmeny, United Kingdom

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Artist's Description

Triptych 1989

oil paint, ink and collaged paper on wooden panels
( each panel measures 68cm x 100cm )

This large triptych featured in my degree show way back in art school.

I was creating paintings showing massive stepped pyramids, walls and shadows. Each painting was unpopulated as though people had long abandoned the landscape.

This painting describes my feelings toward the threat and proliferation of nuclear weapons. Scotland has nuclear weapons just a few miles away from our biggest city.

Panel one is the silo from where warheads can be launched. Panel two is the memorial to a previous nuclear bomb and the bell in the last panel is the warning bell.

In the eighties we were fed all the fear and propaganda about nuclear threat. The governments of UK and America maintained an alarm level so that teenagers like me lived with the depressing thought that we were never far away from nuclear disaster because we had a huge superpower enemy.

Still our governments adopt a constant state of alarm. People believe the threats. Security level is on high because of terrorism and fundamental extremist religion. The media keeps everyone believing that we need nuclear weapons to protect us. George Orwell predicted a permanent war in his classic novel 1984. I am chilled at the processes and controls by which our societies are governed. The machine which creates weapons and war has convinced everyone that they are a necessary part of our world.

From these art school paintings I created more architectural imagery – but with huge block figures populating the landscape as tributes to a lost humanity.

My painting on Redbubble ‘Waiting on the shore’ (1992) became solely interested in the form of the blocked people and from that work a whole period of blocked people arrived. The architecture that spawned these paintings disappeared and my figurative art developed.

Thank you for looking

Artwork Comments

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