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Formulaic Halo: The Art of John Brophy

The beautifully rendered paintings of Seattle-based artist John Brophy, evoking images of the Holy Virgin, combine the divine and the empirical, innocence and malice. Religious iconography is a predominant theme, and it goes hand in hand with math, science, nature, disaster, violence, and mythology. The mystical is juxtaposed with mathematical formulae, Christian virtue is bedecked with symbols of 20th-century evil such as Nazi swastikas and atom bombs. This surreal imagery has an immediate photographic realism that is achieved through Brophy’s technique of first making a 3D study of the work using Maya, ZBrush, and Photoshop, and then executing it in oil paints à la 15th-century Flemish masters. The polished, perfect tangibility of these images makes them all the more poignant.

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