Sol LeWitt at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Sol LeWitt’s ” Wall Drawing #370″ is currently on display in a long  corridor on the first floor of the museum.

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The directions for”Wall Drawing #370″ are: “Ten Geometric Figures (including right triangle cross X, diamond) with three-inch parallel bands of lines in two directions”. LeWitt wrote the conceptual plan for these drawings in 1968.

Each of the ten panels feature alternating black and white lines that run either vertically or horizontally. The shapes depicted, however,  feature curves and non-right angles, and lines that cross do so in a perpendicular fashion.

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Each shape also has some type of symmetry either reflective or rotational.

I have always been a huge fan of Sol Lewitt’s Wall Drawings. Besides the obvious geometric mathematical elements to the work LeWitts underlying conceptual process shares theoretical similarities with Mathematical Algorithms.

In 1967 Sol LeWitt published his “Paragraph’s on Conceptual Art” in Artforum magazine. Here is an excerpt:

“In Conceptual Art the idea or the concept is the most important aspect of the work….all planning and decisions are made beforehand and execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea is the machine that makes the art.”

As a comparison I want to look at what David Berlinski  writes about algorithm in his book “The Advent of Algorithm”:

“As Algorithm is  a finite procedure, written in a fixed symbolic vocabulary governed by precise instructions, moving in discreet steps,1,2,3…whose execution requires no insight, cleverness, intuition, intelligence, or perspicuity, and that sooner or later comes to an end.”

I feel there is definitely a relationship between Sol LeWitt’s description of Conceptual Art and the way that mathematical algorithms perform, I also see a connection in this early work of LeWitt and the birth of the computer age….. But I will leave that for another blog.
If you are going to be in NYC anytime in the next 14 months, go see the Wall Drawings at the Metropolitan.  They are powerful and graceful and up until January 3, 2016!

– FibonacciSusan

Roman Opalka at Dominique Lévy Gallery

In 1965, Roman Opalka began his mission to paint the numbers from 1 to infinity consecutively. In that year, on a black canvas, he painted the number 1 in the upper left corner with a tiny brush and white paint. He continued this practice through 233 canvases over more than forty years. The title of this monumental work is “1965/1- ∞”. Each of the individual canvases is simply titled “Détails”. There are between 20,000 and 30,000 numbers on each canvas. In 1968 the artist  switched to a gray background, then after counting to one million, he added 1 percent more white pigment to each new background until 2008 when the work became white on white.

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The Dominique Lévy Gallery on the Upper East side of Manhattan is exhibiting a selection of paintings from “1965/1-∞”, as well photographs of the artist that he took everyday in front of the canvas on which he was currently working. This photo documentation of time passing and the artist aging, creates an especially poignant message. There was no way for Opalka to actually reach infinity in his paintings. It is the poetic nature of these canvases that relates the spirituality of counting. The artist addresses the importance of numbers in the human psyche to signify progression.The concentration required to physically paint this list of consecutive numerical digits seems like a meditation on both time and mortality.
58-2Pictures courtesy of the gallery and the artist.

More MathArt next time,

FibonacciSusan

 

Two Perspectives: Kristen Schiele and Amanda Valdez

I have just see two different solo exhibitions where the artists had very different ways of using geometric patterns in their work.

Kristen Schiele at Lu Magnus Gallery

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Spirit Girls – Kristen Schiele
Picture courtesy pf the artist and the gallery

At the Lu Magnus gallery Kristen Schiele has an exhibition titled “Spirit Girls”. This show is Schiele’s expression of the future world her young daughter will experience. There are layers of figurative illustrations and geometric patterning.

Here is a view of the gallery wall with a series of patterned  parallel boards installed in a corner. This alludes to the layers of lines and patterns in the rest of the work. What interests me about this work is the silk screen overlays and underlays of mathematical lines and shapes. They created a disjointed quality to the work. Schiele seems to be  using the parallel lines,  radiating lines, and star and triangle grids as a metaphor for travel into the future.

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Spirit Girls – Kristen Schiele
Picture courtesy pf the artist and the gallery

In “Spirit Girls”, an acrylic painting with silkscreen the sliver of a woman’s profile  is at the center of the work, with an explosion of lines radiating from behind. There are also sections of geometric patterning. To me, the use of these mathematical patterns express the non-linear nature of Schiele’s projected future society. This is an excellent example of the use of mathematical forms being used to make art about sociology.

Amanda Valdez at Denny Gallery

Artist Amanda Valdez incorporates geometry into her work as a connection to Art History. At the Denny Gallery, Valdez is exhibiting paintings in her solo show titled “Thick as Thieves”, that incorporate quilt elements. These pieced fabric sections relate to the Bauhaus workshops, Islamic design, as well as traditional quilts.

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Amanda Valdez – Wild Goose Chase (2014)
Picture courtesy of the artist and the gallery

In the work “Wild Goose Chase” 2014, fabric and gesso on canvas, there is a large central shape made out of fabric columns of isosceles triangles. The direction of the triangles’ points and bases alternate from one column to the next, creating a glide reflection symmetry. There are horizontal lines of reflection and then a horizontal translation.

Both Kristen Schiele and Amanda Valdez use geometric patterns in their work. Schiele”s  work is inspired by the future, while Valdez has plumbed a wide scope of artistic traditions to connect with the present.

 

FibonacciSusan

James Siena Typewriter Drawings at Sargent’s Daughters Gallery

James Siena has had a successful career creating algorithmically created abstract paintings. Some of his most recent work involves using manual typewriters and are on display at the Sargent’s Daughters Gallery on The Lower East side. Using a typewriter to create art is not a new phenomenon. For over a century artists have been experimenting with typewriters. The Bauhaus artist H.N. Werkman and the poets of the Concrete Poetry Movement of the 1960’s are good examples.
Siena creates mathematical visual poetry, using algorithms to determine which typewriter keys are pushed, and  in which order. Instead of a pen, pencil, or brush with ink, lead or paint, Siena uses the the depression of the type writer keys and red or black typewriter ribbons to execute his mark making.

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James Siena – Untitled (0-9, ten, eight, six, four, three, two, one), 2014 – ink on paper
Picture courtesy of the artist and the gallery 11 x 8.5 inches

The drawing “Untitled (0-9, ten, eight, six, four, three, two, one)” features vertical zigzag pattern that is created by the visual variations of the digits. There are horizontal lines of reflection symmetry running through the chevron pattern.

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James Siena – Untitled (flat helix), 2014 – ink on paper
Picture courtesy of the artist and the gallery 11 x 8.5 inches

In the work “Untitled (Flat Helix)” – a helix is a coil curve – the artist engages the viewer in an interesting counting exercise. The first row is all ones. The next ones and twos. the third row is ones, twos and threes. This continues until the digits go from one through nine and then zero. Below this solid section of text, the pattern changes with a row of all ones, then all twos, etc. Farther down the page spaces and shifts are introduced to the drawing adding zigzag elements.

I can only imagine the amount of planning and rule development required before Siena hit the first type writer key. The elegant patterns and poetry Siena coaxed from the manual printing process of these machines is amazing.

FibonacciSusan

Jacob Hashimoto at Mary Boone Gallery

The artist Jacob Hashimoto has created a breathtaking installation at the Mary Boone Gallery in Chelsea NYC. “Sky Farm Fortress” fills the entire main room of the gallery.

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This huge 3-D grid environment is comprised of a multitude of kite-like square, circular, and hexagonal elements. These small elements consist of thin paper over bamboo support bars that cross in the center.
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The paper panels are suspended from the ceiling with black thread. The arrangements of these panels are based on the structure of the cube. They hang in a series of rows and columns, sometimes with large gaps, where only the thread is visible so the viewer can see the next series of shapes in the background.

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The ceiling of the gallery is completely filled with the paper grid, that trembles as the air circulates through the room.

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Jacob Hashimoto has created two different dichotomies in his “Sky Farm Fortress” installation. The work incorporates the rigid structure of a 3-D Cartesian system grid, but the individual elements are not static, they move in response to air flow of the gallery. Hashimoto uses small ephemeral paper elements that appear fragile in nature to construct a monumental work of art. I have already visited the gallery twice to experience this exhibition and I plan to go again. It will be on display until October 25th.

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All pictures courtesy of the artist and the gallery.

- FibonacciSusan

 

Matt Keegan Wall Sculptures at Andrea Rosen Gallery

The Andrea Rosen gallery in NYC is exhibiting the work of Matt Keegan. I found two of the powder coated steel wall sculptures of particular interest. These structures originate as folded paper cut-outs that are then fabricated in steel. The type of fold that is used to make the paper forms is called a French fold. To make a French fold you take a sheet of paper and fold it in half. Then without opening the paper you fold it in half again perpendicularly to the first fold. When you unfold the paper you have two types of folds: valley folds, which are concave, and hills folds that are convex.

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In the sculptures Untitled (Navy) and Untitled (Neon) the French fold technique creates horizontal valley folds running through the centers. The top portion of each sculpture shows a vertical hill fold through the center, and the bottom half has a vertical valley fold through the center. Disregarding the fold directions both sculptures have two lines of reflection symmetry, vertical and horizontal.

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Keegan celebrates the simplicity of the folded and cut paper by transforming the patterns into substantial steel structures .

Till next time,

FibonacciSusan

Charles Thomas O’Neil at Howard Scott Gallery

Charles Thomas O’Neil

The Howard Scott Gallery in Chelsea NYC is currently exhibiting a selection of Charles Thomas O’Neil’s recent abstract paintings.

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Untitled 2740, 2013
Picture courtesy of the artist and the gallery

The painting “Untitled 2740″ (2013)  has a vertical line of reflection symmetry running through the center of the canvas. The top section of the features a rust colored bridge-like shape enclosing a white rectangle. The bottom section of the painting has a variation of the bridge shape in dark grey.

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Untitled 2741,2013
Picture courtesy of the artist and the gallery

The oil painting on panel “Untitled 2741″ (2013) is a 2-D rendering of what appears to be a 3-D impossible object. It looks like a rectangular bar with square ends positioned so both ends are visible to the viewer. This work has 180 degree rotational symmetry.

O’Neil’s geometric designs are enhanced by his use of saturated colors that immediately draws in the eye of the viewer. I also appreciate his use of visible painterly strokes which keep the work from looking flat and static.

More MathArt next time.

Susan Happersett

Right Triangles – Cordy Ryman and Kwang Young Chun

It can be very interesting to see how the same type of shape is used it different contexts. Recently I saw the work of two artists both using right triangular 3-D wedges.

Cordy Ryman

Cordy Ryman has the installation “Zipper Spine” 2014 at the Lesley Heller Workspace gallery in the group exhibition “Destructure” curated by Jonathan Melville Pratt.

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“Zipper Spine” is s series of 16 isosceles right triangles. They have two vertices with 45 degree angles and one vertex with 90 angle. The 16 wedges are attached to the wall in the vertical line of the corner. Each wedge has a 45 degree vertex positioned into the corner.
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This placement creates a study of the equal positive and negative space of the 45 degree angle of the triangle in the 90 degree corner.

Kwang Young Chun

Kwang Young Chun also uses triangular wedges in his wall sculptures. Hasted Kraeutler gallery is currently hosting a solo show of Chun’s work. His art is created by using a multitude in polystyrene triangles wrapped in Korean mulberry paper. The result is complex 3-D patterning.
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The large scale (69″X57″) assemblage “Aggregation 13-APO18″ 2013 features right triangles of many sizes covering and protruding from the entire canvas. The result is a wild explosion of pattern and the texture.

Both Chun and Ryman are elevating the humble right triangle. But in very different ways. While Ryman uses consistency of size and shape to explore the theme, Chun uses hundreds of elements in varying sizes to build a dynamic environment.

More MathArt next time

Susan Happersett

Rachel Garrard at Klemens Gasser & Tanja Grunert Gallery

Mitra Khorasheh has curated a fascinating exhibition of the paintings, sculptures, videos and performance art of Rachel Garrard title “VESSEL” at Gasser Grunert. All the work in the show is about geometry, a very personal geometry, based on the physical measurements of the artist’s body. In the press release from the show Garrard is quoted as saying: “I see the human body as a microcosm, a seed encompassing all the geometric and geodesic measures of the cosmos, as a container for something infinite”.

One of the geometric forms used by Garrard is the isosceles triangle.

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The work “Convergence 2004″ (quartz dust on linen) features layers of transparent isosceles triangles, 4 with the bottom of the canvas as the base and three with the top of the canvas as their base. The vertex angles are lines up on a vertical reflection line of symmetry that runs through the center of the canvas. This expresses the symmetric nature of the human form, with a vertical line of symmetry, but also the non-symmetrical nature, i.e. the absence of a horizontal line of symmetry.50-2

The geometry for “Blue II” (Ink on canvas, 2004) is takn diretcly from the outline of the artist’s body. Garrard uses various rectangles to create a structure that relates the proportions of her body and again displays a verical line of reflective symmetry.

Garrard has also created videos and performance works that are based on her techniques of dividing up her body into a sort of grid of points. The artist then connects these points with either tape lines, directly on her body, or paint lines on a clear panel.

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The sculpture “Geometric Void” (paint on perspex) is the result of an 8-hour performance from 2010. Rachel Garrard has created a new way to express geometry based  on the proportions of her body. Although the nature of this work is very personal, the essence of these symmetries and proportions reveal universal truths.

 

Bridges Math Art Conference Seoul – Part 3

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There was so much interesting work at the Bridges Conference Art Exhibition it is difficult to select just a few but… here are a few more of my favorites.

John Hiigli

John Hiigli is a New York based artist whose work I have admired for years. His Contribution to the exhibition included an outstanding black and white painting titled “Chrome 203 Homage to De Barros I: Translation”:

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Hiigli – Chrome 203 Homage to De Barros I: Translation
Picture courtesy of the artist

This painting is a great study of the power of positive and negative space. Hiigli uses 3/4 squares in alternating black and white to build a square pattern that he then uses to create a 3 by 4 grid of these square elements. I really like the concept of using a 3/4 fraction of a square, the general outline of the square remains even though 1/4 has been removed. These patterns are based on the work of Brazilian painter Geraldo De Barros.

Henry Segerman

There were a lot of sculptures at the conference that were made using 3-D printers.  One artist whose work stood out was Henry Segerman. His “Developing Fractal Curves” figures had a graceful presence and conveyed the narrative of the Mathematical sequences in an interesting linear fashion.

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Segerman – Deloping Fractal Curves
Picture courtesy of the artist

These four structures start at the top with the basic iterations of the fractals clearly defined. As the viewer’s eye travels down into the curves the patterns become more and more complex. These small sculptures do an excellent job of conveying the nature of fractal curves.

Mike Naylor

Mike Naylor has created an interactive Mathematical pattern generator called “Runes” that can be used on a tablet or smart phone. This program allows the participant to explore the operation of multiplication by making curves within a circle that is divided like a numbered dial. The more numbers on the dial the more complex the patterns become. ”Runes” is available here. Naylor has created an excellent tool to show students how a simple mathematical process, used in different permutations, can result in a wide variety of visual images.

Susan Happersett