For one week each March New York City becomes the epicenter of the contemporary international art world. There are at least 6 art fairs all running pretty much simultaneously. The largest is the Armory Show. It is too huge to fit in the Armory so it takes place on two huge piers on the Hudson river. Over one hundred gallerists form all over the planet set up exhibitions rooms to showcase the their inventory. The opening night is a very noisy, crowded and rather intimidating event. I saw quite a bit of art with Mathematical subject matter. For this blog entry I have decided to focus on three works that are about Geometry.
Sicardi Gallery from Houston Texas featured this amazing construction by Gabriel de la Mora at the entrance to their booth. This work is a nod to minimalist paintings from the 1960’s and 70’s but with a twist. It is composed of match boxes.The red brick shaped rectangles that make up this work are actually the red phosphorous paper you find on the striker of a match box. This unexpected choice of material makes us look at the repetitive nature of the geometry with a more emotionally charged reference point. Adding the element of fire changes the theme of the work, but the geometry stays true to the Minimalist roots. La Mora’s background as an architect is apparent in the precision involved in the creating the parallel lines to form the concentric rectangles. This work also has both a horizontal as well as a vertical line of symmetry.
The large mobile installation by the famous Argentinian artist Julio Le Parc at the Galeria Nara Roesler (Sao Paulo) is a sphere composed of small flat rectangular acrylic shapes. There is a great sense of movement in this sculpture, and the semi-transparent yellow pieces of acrylic play with the light. It almost seems like magic that a grid of rectangles can render such a lively sphere.
Claudia Wieser’s ceramic wall installation takes center stage at Sies +Hoke Galerie from Düsseldorf, Germany. The images of this work feature a right triangle, an isosceles triangle, as well as two circles. It seems to pay homage to a geometry text book. What I find visually interesting in this piece is the use of tiles, which creates a secondary underlying square grid. This grid is instrumental in the coloring of the large circle.
I have been attending the Armory Show for years. In past shows there were times when there was very little presence of Mathematics in the art work presented, but this year I was quite pleased to find a number of interesting examples.