December 1, 2020

Visualizing a Virus: Alum’s Art Captures Emotions of a Pandemic

Fine-arts potter Hadrian Mendoza is shown with some of his earlier works. The 1996 Mary Washington graduate is currently working on several commissioned coronavirus sculptures. Photo Credit: Hadrian Mendoza.

Fine-arts potter Hadrian Mendoza is shown with some of his earlier works. The 1996 Mary Washington graduate is currently working on several commissioned coronavirus sculptures. Photo Credit: Hadrian Mendoza.

Hadrian Mendoza isn’t glorifying the novel coronavirus at the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic. But in images of the tiny particle, he sees more than fear, suffering, loss and grief.

To Mendoza, a 1996 Mary Washington graduate and internationally known fine-arts potter, viruses have long represented a fascinating intersection of danger and beauty. Starting in 2016, he began creating sculptural interpretations of viruses – his creations then were hollow spheres with sharp, spiny protrusions that served both to balance and to convey threat.