"Nuclear" is a contemporary reference to the representation of combat sport in ancient statuary, best exemplified by a Roman version of a classical Greek original, known as the Uffizi wrestlers, or "Panerastinaie". The marble statue group, discovered in Italy, in 1583, represents two men in a combat sport known as Panerastinaie, which was a composite of ancient boxing and wrestling styles."Nuclear" introduces an alternate to the genre, with a configuration of three feminine combatants. The contest is metaphoric in intention, and the female protagonists adopt an alternate mode of combat, predominately utilising the lower limbs. "Nuclear" accentuates the compositional device of the "ufuzzi male wrestlers", where the mass, gravity and "activity" are inverted and located lower most in the sculpture.
Ancient Greek gymnasiums were exclusively for young male athletes, who trained for a variety of disciplines included in the ancient Olympics. The nation of Sparta was the only region known in ancient Greece that encouraged female athletes to participate in organised sport. The gladiatorial arenas of Imperial Rome presented various modes of violent combat for public entertainment and were a degradation of the Greek Olympic axiom.
In the Roman era, the demand for classical statuary was great, and admired compositions like the "Panerastinaie" were interpreted in a range of size and materials. Each statue was made by a skilled team of artisans, specialising in different stages of production. The workshops produced direct replicas, as well as adaptations, with iconography evolving through taste and cultural appropriation. Roman interpretations provide the overwhelming extant reference for lost Greek originals, and the nuance offered by the"copy" is intrinsic to the genre.
The condensed sculptural forms of "Nuclear" afford an iconographic unity to an amalgam of figurative elements, and the work alludes to an equilibrium of forces. The title of the work is inspired by an ancient Greek term , the "atom", an indivisible particle, now redefined in contemporary quantum physics as an interaction of nuclear forces.