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Madonnas of Science


Madonna of the Microscope (2013) by Chris Shaw


Madonna of the Particle (2013)

Artist Chris Shaw, whom you may know from his rock poster art, has a new art series centered on the Madonna icon, which is currently on exhibit at The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He wrote:

I’m not sure exactly where my fascination with Madonnas was born, but I’ve loved Icons of all kinds for a very long time.

As an artist I’m intrigued with the the way icons present their ideas — an easily understood, blunt central image juxtaposed with deep symbolism and cryptic geometric foundations. Icons also have a reason for existing, they are conveyers of information.

The modern icons I create also convey information, it could be a scientific concept, a political statement, or a pop-culture reference. Regardless, each icon has a story and a reason for existing.

In this body of work I use the Madonna as the vehicle to literally carry the ideas I’ve chosen to portray. The titles are straight forward. However, underlying and obfuscated by the image is a rigid geometric base, over which the Madonna icon is constructed. The geometry within this base is a riddle to decipher as are many of the symbols within.

I’ve mainly learned about hidden geometry and symbolism in art by deconstructing an artworks composition, then researching what I find, something I like to do for fun. Golden ratios, spirals, and fibonacci sequences are easily found in many types of art, but especially deeply woven into icons. How and why this geometric language was used fascinates me, it ultimately led to creating my own icons with their own meanings.

View more of Chris' Madonnas of Science (and other pop culture Madonnas) over at his website and blog: Link


Madonna of the Dark Matter (2013)


Madonna of the Magnet (2013)


Madonna of Evolution (Simian Vanitas)


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