The Museum of Modern Art in NYC underwent a big expansion and renovation project last year. The opening in the Fall the Museum introduced some exciting new exhibitions. “sur moderno journeys of abstraction” focuses on the work of participants in the post WWII avant-garde artists groups that were formed in South America. The work on display is all abstractions, many of which have geometric themes.
Willys de Castro’s 1962 oil on canvas on plywood wall sculpture, “Objeto ativo (cubo vermelho/branco)” (“active Object [Red/White Cube]”) explores the divisions within a cubic structure. The 3/4 of each of the 5 visible sides of the cube are painted red. A square measuring 1/4 of each side is painted white. This is done in such a way that it appears that there are white cubes embedded into the sculpture at two diagonal corners.
Eugenio Espinoza’s 1971 “untitled” half stretched canvas features a square grid pattern. By only stretching the top half of the painting the bottom of the canvas is slack. the grid has been altered as the sides of the canvas roll back.
Helio Oiticia’s 1958 gouache on board “Metasquema No.348” is an arrangement of bright blue non-overlapping rectangles. Positioned in a grid like pattern but skewed at various angles, the liner rectangles create a pattern that seems to have both kinetic and curvilinear properties.
The Kirkland Museum in Denver Colorado has a large collection of fine and decorative art. In addition to the studio of painter Vance Kirkland the museum displays an eclectic selection of art. A few of the works feature mathematical themes.
Clark Richert’s painting R-P/Kepler is a complex tiling featuring rhombi, pentagons as well as irregular quadrilaterals.
Richard Kallweit uses small wooden cubes the build geometric sculptures.
One of Kallweit’s sculptures was also part of the JMM exhibition.
Both Richert and Kallweit are represented by Rule Gallery which is located in the Santa Fe arts district in Denver. Stop by the gallery to see some other examples of their work.
There were so much interesting work at the JMM Art Exhibition that I needed to write a second blog post.
Amanda Owens’ “Links” is painted on a wood panel with the grain and an underlying drawn grid exposed. The structure of the geometric pattern features repetitive tessellation. What makes this painting unique is the use of a hombre technique for the blue squares,changing gradually from light blue on the top row to the dark blue on the bottom row. This alters the expected symmetries.
“A Unit Domino” a print by Doug McKenna explores symmetry vs asymmetry. We expect the two points of the triangles to line up along a vertical axis but the are both off center. The mathematics behind this bold pattern is quite complex. This space filling curve was developed using a pair of double spirals and a half-million line segments. McKenna has also published an electronic, interactive,illustrated app/eBook that allows the viewer to explore his intense and beautiful patterns.”Hilbert Curves: Outside -In and Inside-Gone” is available at Apple’s App store.
This January the 2020 Joint Mathematics Meeting was held in Denver, Colorado. Every year the Art Exhibition at the Convention seems to get better and better.
I will present a small sampling of the work on display.
Anne Ligon Harding and Clayton Shonkwiler created this lino cut print featuring trefoil knots. The knots both have 3 fold rotational symmetry. The use of parallel lines gives the illusion of under and over in 3-D space.By flipping the prospective 180 degrees the viewer can see the trefoils from different angles. Having one knot on a white background and the other on a black background juxtaposes positive and negative space.
James Stasiak used the process of digital photo improvisation to create this print on metal. According to Stasiak a photograph of railroad tracks was manipulated using “tessellations and polar projections” to the form this striking image.
The Newark Museum has recently reinstalled their collection of American Art. Titled “Seeing America” this exhibition a selection of mid-century modern abstract paintings all with new updated signage. I was so happy to see Charmion Von Wiegand’s painting “The Sign of Keeping Still from 1953”.
Von Wiengand was a friend of Piet Mondrian. This work was influenced by that friendship, but also includes a reference to Mathematics.
The Newark Museum acknowledged this connection with an explanation of the logarithmic spiral. Including mathematical references in art museums is a great curatorial development.
The Metropolitan Museum’s current exhibition “Making Marvels: Science and Splendor at the courts of Europe” presents an amazing selection of treasures that reflect the cutting edge technology from 1550-1750. Just like today, back then, owning the newest tech most expensive gadgets was a sign of wealth and power. This concept was magnified in the 16th-18th centuries with the royal courts demanding the finest materials and the most gifted artisans to produce these tools and scientific renderings.
This 16th century instrument of the “Primum Mobile” created by Ignazio Dante using design by Petrus Apianus is the only one in existence. Named for the outer sphere in the incorrect geocentric model of the universe it was actually made as a tool for trigonometry to calculate sines and cosines.
King Henry II of France owned this Encryption Device made in 1550. Instead of using a fixed alphabetic translation this mechanism could use a series of separate transformations.
Geometry was a part of a royal education. The Platonic Solids were a popular subject. This German Writing and Reading Box from 1570 features perspective drawings created using inlays of wood, ivory and mother of pearl.
Wenzel Jamnitzer was renowned for his expertise in geometric prospective drawings. His 1568 book “Perspectiva Corporum Regularium” features his exquisite 2 dimensional representations of 3-D geometric models.
New York sparkles with light displays this festive season.
The “Luminaries” art installation in the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place at the World Trade Center features a grid of glowing lanterns.
The curvilinear plane soars through the space following the path of the grand stairs.
Each of the lanterns are almost cubes. One of the vertical sides is slightly longer. This creates different shapes viewed from different angles.
The colors changed based on the music creating an exciting environment.
Wishing everyone Health, Happiness, and lots of Math Art in 2020,
Seizan Gallery is currently presenting “Notre Terre / Our Earth” a solo exhibition of Étienne Krähenbühl’s prints and sculptures.
Krähenbühl creates sculptures using steel aluminum and nickel titanium that incorporate a subtle sense of movement and shadows.
“Au Gil de l’O” ( In the Flow) from 2018 consists of a series of Corten steel concentric circles suspended and slightly swinging on nickel titanium wires. In the gallery, lights are positioned to create a repetitive shadow on the floor. This creates an interesting ripple effect of intersecting circles.
“Bing Bang Bois I ( Bing Bang Wood I) “ from 2015 features burned oak rods suspended using aluminum and nickel titanium. Each blackened wood element moves independently to form a quivering sphere in space.
Today a guest blog entry from Elizabeth Whiteley:
If you find yourself in the Baltimore area, check out the current exhibit at the Walters Gallery. Titled “Designing the New: Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Style” it’s a large show with works by the famed Scottish architect and other designers such as Christopher Dresser, Jessie M. King, Margaret Macdonald, and Talwin Morris. It will be on display until January 5, 2020.
The wall note for this textile design, ‘Wave Pattern in Purple, Pink, Orange, and Black’, ca. 1915-23, says “Mackintosh’s precise use of contrast and symmetry here created a brilliant optical illusion. He aligned the white, purple, and orange loops vertically against the penciled grid, but the wavy arcs of pink and black create strong diagonals that pull the eye away from the underlying structure of the pattern.”
This drawing is a lampshade design for the standard lamp, The Hill House, 1905. It shows an effective way to use bilateral symmetry on a lozenge shape.
The wall note for this chair (1904-5) says, “This chair, which Mackintosh designed for his own home, is a slightly taller version of one he first created to accompany a writing desk for The Hill House. At first glance, the chair seems rigidly angular, especially with the two columns of squares, yet Mackintosh always offset such severe geometries with a subtle softer curving line—here seen in the tall, gently concave back.
Mignoni Gallery on the Upper East side of Manhattan is currently presenting an exhibition that juxtaposes Donald Judd’s aluminum wall sculptures and Kennet Noland’s geometric striped canvases.
“Untitled (Bernstein 88-14)” red anodized aluminum from 1988 explores the concept of positive and negative space. The solid raised rectangular boxes go from large to small, from left to right. The empty spaces between go from small to large from left to right. Judd’s horizontal structure creates a sense of linear movement across the wall of the gallery.
Noland’s “Galore” from 1996 is also an horizontal construction. The long flattened diamond shaped canvas is painted with a series of colorful straight lines. But instead of going straight across the wall, they run parallel to the lower left and upper right sides of the rhombus. This angled formation leaves the viewer slightly unbalanced.