Chris Drury Life in the Field of Death Nevada, 1, 2008


Image of Nevada Nuclear Test site on left and Microcoleus Vaginata on right

Photograph, 2008

Edn 3/6

63 x 84 cm


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Chris Drury made Life in the Field of Death Nevada 1 in collaboration with soil biologist, Dr Lynn Fenstermaker. She works from the Desert Research Institute in Las Vegas, out on the Nuclear Test Site. The image on the left of the picture is a satellite image of Frenchman’s Flat where 100 atmospheric nuclear tests were carried out. On the right is a microscope image of Microcoleus vaginata, a cyanobacteria found in the soils of this same place. There is a remarkable similarity between the two images, in spite of their vastly different scales.

Not only has this microscopic organism survived the nuclear blasts, but it is in fact one of the most ancient organisms on Earth. It first learned to turn CO2 into oxygen and paved the way for life on the planet. We owe our existence to it.

About the artist

Chris Drury is a key exhibitor in GroundWork’s exhibition Natures Mysterious Networks. He is an artist with an enormous international reputation and long experience making art in, with and about nature. Chris normally travels a great deal. He responds to diverse requests for exhibitions, collaborations, installations and site specific works outside.

Chris describes himself as an environmental artist. He makes site specific nature based sculpture, or land art. His work connects different phenomena in the world, opposites and contrasts. Specifically he works between nature and culture, inner and outer space and microcosm and macrocosm. Often he collaborates with scientists and technicians from a broad spectrum of disciplines. He is prepared to use whatever visual means, technologies and materials best suit the situation.

Recent projects include a residency at The Nirox Foundation in The Cradle of Humankind, South Africa, working with paleontologists, geologists and anthropologists,  a British Antarctic Survey residency in Antarctica, a work for the Australian National University in Canberra and an exhibition about place, ecology and politics at The Nevada Museum of Art called Mushrooms|Clouds.