Oppenheimer (2006)

acrylic on canvas 600mm x 600mm x 2

There is much to say on the subject of Robert Oppenheimer, he is best known as ‘the father of the atomic bomb’, however he appears to have been far more complex than that simple title suggests.

In his capacity as a theoretical physicist he was indeed the scientific director of The Manhattan Project, responsible for developing the first nuclear weapons. He also maintained a healthy eclecticism in his approach to his professional and private intellectual endeavours. Widely read, a polyglot, academically and politically influential, Oppenheimer was a profound and complex individual central to a radical change in the global human condition.

He famously quoted the Bhagavad Gita in response to witnessing the Trinity test of his new atomic weapon – “Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.” have a short clip of Oppenheimer himself discussing it.

The painting itself is another experiment with anamorphic painting, this time using two canvases attached at a right angle, producing a ‘correct’ perspective when viewed from forty five degrees. Effectively, it’s a ‘corner painting’, to be viewed from all angles. As you move about the painting it produces a rather peculiar distortion effect, shown in the animation below.

3 thoughts on “Oppenheimer (2006)”

  1. We live in a society obsessed with the trivial, we lionise ‘celebrity’, as if exposure itself is a badge of merit. Millions of people seem to care about some of the most worthless individuals, who are the last creatures to require ‘celebration’. History contains innumerable individuals with bold, novel, considered ideas that have changed the world – frequently these people are subtle, complex and infinitely more fascinating than which bimbo is wearing which designer.
    My subjects are chosen because they are in need of celebration, and each has chosen to think, create and produce ideas of significance.
    I’ve barely begun the list of great thinkers. When considering a subject, I look at not only their noted contribution to culture, but also their personal life, frequently at odds with their public image. Alan Turing for example, suffered immeasurably because of his sexual orientation, and Ludwig Wittgenstein came from a family of severe depressives. Despite these burdens, both produced astonishingly significant contributions to our intellectual landscape.

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