As these images were unsettling to so many, I've moved them so that you need to choose to read more to see them. There is an argument to be made for posting nothing that will offend those that read this blog. When I've posted in the past on clergy that have acted inappropriately with their parishioners, when "artists" turn the holy into the abominable, when I post about the FEMEN group, or other such unhappy moments it is always followed with the question: "Why did you even post this? Why did you give this more exposure than it deserves?" The answer to this is that I want this to be as much a place of discussion as it is one of publication.
So, why post about this man's work even if it is so foul to the eyes of Orthodox? Because it is happening, because we need to have a response when people do such things (e.g. that infamous New York art show complete with crosses in urine and worse), and because frankly I feel iconography separate from Orthodoxy is always in danger of leading people astray.
I apologize for those offended and hope that moving these pictures to the bottom of the post will make it so only those to wish to will have to look at them.
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.