Four painted panels assembled side by side depict the cooling towers of a nuclear power plant. The two almost identical black masses stand out against a leaden sky. They loom above treetops that form a low horizon line.

Wanda Koop

(b. Vancouver 1951)


Untitled (from Reactor Suite)


Acrylic on plywood
2,44 x 4,88 m
Purchased in 1986
National Gallery of Canada, 29698.1-4
© Wanda Koop / CARCC (2018)
Photo: courtesy of the artist

Reactor Suite is a work in four parts, each one composed of four large side-by-side panels. The part shown here depicts the cooling towers of a nuclear power plant profiled against a dark cloudy sky. The barely visible treetops accentuate the monumentality of the two black masses. Produced five years after the 1979 accident at the Three Mile Island plant, in the United States, Reactor Suite was shown in the exhibition Songs of Experience at the National Gallery of Canada in 1986, a few weeks before the Chernobyl nuclear disaster occurred in the former Soviet Republic of Ukraine.

Wanda Koop was a child when she began taking art classes at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. After completing her training and earning critical recognition, she travelled extensively in Canada, Europe and Asia. The industrial landscapes and scenes of urbanization seen along the way had a profound effect on her imagination. Koop paints with the conviction that art can convey social and political content. Many of her works deal with the impact of technology and human interaction with the natural world.


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