Irvin Geis – Molecular Aesthetics as Network Idolatry

Irvin Gies Myoglobin [1961] – Irvin Gies

In Irvin Geis’s graphic molecule paintings the lightness of the wireframe structures perfectly counterpoints the cast iron logic of each molecules cryptographic configuration. Myoglobin, his most famous illustration published in Scientific America in 1961, took 6 months to complete. It’s frozen lattice of lushly hued paths abstractly coalesce into a connectionist idol; molecular aesthetics as network idolatry. Ribonuclease, with its graphic specular lighting and constructivist blue and red tones, presents molecules as scaled-up utopian architectural constructs rejecting the tyranny of utility.

 Lysozyme2 -  Irvin GiesLysozyme – Irvin Gies

 Lysozyme -  Irvin GiesLysozyme 2 – Irvin Gies

 Crambin -  Irvin GiesCrambin – Irvin Gies

Geis was trained as an architect. But the great depression of the ’30’s threw a curved career ball and he found himself working in the golden age of hand illustration for Fortune Magazine in 1930’s and then with Scientific America in the 1950’s. ‘According to Richard Dickerson, the UCLA biochemist who co-authored a number of major books on biochemistry, Gies’s genius wasn’t in depicting a protein exactly how it looked, but drawing it in a such a way that showed how the molecule worked, an artistic process that Geis called, ‘selective lying.’

Ribonuclease S -  Irvin GiesRibonuclease S – Irvin Gies

B-DNA -  Irvin GiesB-DNA – Irvin Gies

Cytochrome C -  Irvin GiesCytochrome C – Irvin Gies

‘It Must Give Off and Receive Light Like a Tiny Space Station’ – Kenneth Snelson’s Atoms

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