When graphic designer-turned-artist Chris Orr got a call from Caroline Field, curator of the Australian Catholic University’s art collection, the atheist’s first thought was, “Uh-oh, I’m in trouble. Sacrilege?”

Motherboard Portal Verde by Chris Orr

Motherboard Portal Verde by Chris OrrCredit:Chris Orr

In fact she was looking to acquire his striking work Motherboard Portal Verde. It reworks Rafael’s Madonna of the Goldfinch with a circuit board tracing her face. “Maybe it was really intuitive,” he says, pointing to its likeness to the now-ubiquitous PPE masks. “I’d like to claim that, but it’s not.”

He was “thrilled to bits” at the request. “The last place I ever thought my work would hang is in a well-known collection of religious art.”

The sale was a saviour in this crisis. “Most artists work in isolation, but the hurdle wasn’t so much the isolation, it was how does our artwork get out there now? The first things people give up when times are tough are luxury items, so [artists] might all be being very productive, but it’s sitting in a pile.”

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