Mary Kavanagh | Daughters of Uranium

March 2, 2019 - April 28, 2019

Mary Kavanagh: Daughters of Uranium explores the legacy of the atomic age from the perspective of the sentient body and intergenerational trauma. While considering the ideological apparatus that has surrounded nuclearism since its inception, Mary Kavanagh's new work has emerged from a longstanding interest in the body as a site of memory, erasure, violence, and inscription. Daughters of Uranium is a title redolent of both archaic chemical science and of generations born into an uncertain future. Citing the radioactive decay chain of Uranium 235, widely known for its use in the first atomic bomb, the elements in Uranium's family tree are referred to as "daughters." Kavanagh's solo exhibition considers Promethean technologies in relation to accelerated environmental degradation and renewed global interest in nuclear armament. Cinematic projection, works on paper, artifacts, and a provocative series of structures using light, glass, sound, and lead are conceptualized as chapters that combine personal and political narratives organized around central themes and historic periods.

Co-curated by Christina Cuthbertson and Lindsey Sharman. Co-organized with the Founders’ Gallery. An exhibition publication with essays by Peter Van Wyck and Jayne Wilkinson will be launched in 2020.

Mary Kavanagh is an artist and Professor in the Department of Art, University of Lethbridge. She has exhibited her work in solo and group exhibitions across Canada and abroad. She is also the recipient of numerous awards, grants, and residencies including with the Center for Land Use Interpretation, the Santa Fe Art Institute, and the Canadian Forces Artists Program. For the past decade, she has researched and documented activities and ephemera at historic and active nuclear sites in Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Alaska, Japan, and Canada. She is an advisory member of the Atomic Photographers Guild, an international collective of artists and photographers. Her work has been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the Saskatchewan Arts Board, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. In 2017 Kavanagh was awarded a four-year SSHRC Insight Grant for her project, Atomic Tourist: Trinity, which explores nuclear anxiety in the 21st century.

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