Chris Shaw at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

On April 18, 2013, in Events, by Dire Wolf

Chris Shaw
New paintings: The Madonnas of Science, plus selected other work.

Currently on exhibit at The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art РCaff̬ Museo
Until June.
This is a cafe exhibit, admission is free!

SFMoMA
151 Third Street (between Mission + Howard)
San Francisco, California

Open daily (except Wednesdays): 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Open late on Thursdays: until 9:00 p.m.

SFMOMA.org

Madonna of the Particle by Chris Shaw, 2013

Madonna of the Particle
36″ x 48″
Acrylic on Canvas
2013

 

Dark Matter by Chris Shaw, 2013

Madonna of Dark Matter
36″ x 48″
Acrylic on Canvas
2013

 

Madonna of the Squid by Chris Shaw, 2013

Madonna of the Squid
36″ x 48″
Acrylic on Canvas
2013

 

Madonna Science 2 by Chris Shaw

Madonna of the Magnet by Chris Shaw, 2013

Madonna of the Magnet
60″ x 84″
Acrylic on Canvas
2013

 

Madonna of Evolution (Simian Vanitas) by Chris Shaw, 2013

Madonna of Evolution (Simian Vanitas)
60″ x 84″
Acrylic on Canvas
2013

 

Madonna of the Microscope by Chris Shaw, 2013

Madonna of the Microscope
60″ x 84″
Acrylic on Canvas
2013

 

Madonna Science 1 by Chris Shaw

Madonna of the 40oz. by Chris Shaw, 2010

Madonna of the 40oz.
36″ x 48″
Acrylic & Currency on Canvas
2010

 

Madonna Kalashnikov by Chris Shaw, 2012

Madonna Kalashnikov
30″x40″
Acrylic on Canvas
2012

 

Madonna of the Suicide Vest by Chris Shaw, 2012

Madonna of the Suicide Vest
36″ x 48″
Acrylic on Canvas
2012

Madonna of the Particle

Madonna of the Particle sketches - Chris Shaw, 2013

This painting is inspired by the recent scientific confirmation of the Higgs-Boson “GOD” particle, the supposed sub-atomic building block that gives all matter mass. The name itself is enough to warrant the creation of a Modern Icon. In this piece, I created a geometric foundation using shapes, curves, and ratios found in nature, and fit the figure into it. The icon is also based on the types of geometry found in sub atomic particle collisions, it will fit snugly into the actual image of a particle collision which created a “God” particle. While the painting is not intended as a black-light piece, it does take full advantage of the fluorescent spectrum, metallic colors, and unveils phosphorescent effects in total darkness.

 

Artist Statement

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.

Orthodox icons are a favorite style to appropriate. Real ones can often be quite abstract as the image becomes subservient to the geometry used in the composition, I try to emulate this ideal. The “Madonna of the Particle” and the “Madonna of Dark Matter” both concern the recently discovered Higgs-Boson particle. The geometric base used within each image contains natural ratios and curves that reference the sub-atomic particle collisions which led to the “God Particle’s” discovery.

Western icons, in particular Italian Madonnas, are another deep influence in my work. In the large triptych panels I’ve referenced and riffed on the artwork of Bellini, Botticelli and Ambrogio de Predis as base foundations for the images. Predis’ “Girl with Cherries” (1495) has transformed into the “Madonna of Evolution” now incorporating a both human and ape skull with repeating helix motifs as both a “vanitas” portrait and an icon. The “Madonna of the Magnet” reconfigures Bellini’s “Madonna and Child” (1480) into an icon devoted to my love of magnets. It is painted with iron and copper based pigments and composed using the sweeping curves found in magnetic flux.

Each painting communicates its secrets in various ways.

Chris Shaw
April, 2013

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15 Responses to Chris Shaw at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

  1. cynthia says:

    How great thou art,

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