This week a guest blog entry by Sharol Nau. Her show “Art+Mathematics” is on through April 22, 2018 at the Landmark Center (North Gallery), 75 Fifth Street West, Saint Paul, MN.
On June 7, 1742, Christian Goldbach wrote a letter to Leonhard Euler, suggesting that any even number greater than 4 is expressible as the sum of two odd primes. Goldbach’s conjecture has served as a springboard, providing me with inspiration for a series of artworks. The patterns produced that were inspired by this simple statement are tiled patterns with an even number of tiles that are partitioned into two sets. Each set consists of a prime number of tiles. My goal was to construct interesting artworks using traditional and non-traditional materials.
Square arrangement: The canvas is partitioned into an even number of squares distinguished by a design based on two primes that sum to that even number.
Tapioca, 48″ x 48″ (Square Arrangement)
Scattered arrangement: The distribution of triangles is separated into several groups, offering several smaller shapes similar in color or texture relating to their designated prime.
Goldbach White, 36″ x 48″ (scattered arrangement using the even number 32 = 19+13)
Tight arrangement: The distribution of triangles is separated into only two shapes.
Goldbach Orange, 10″ x 8″ (tight arrangement using the even number 32 = 19+13)
David Zwirner Gallery is currently presenting recent abstract work in Stan Doulas’ “DCT series”. “DCT” refers to discrete cosine transformation. Each composition is created by the artist entering data for frequencies, amplitudes and color. The numerical data is manipulated through a custom computer program. The photographic prints are based solely on this process: there is no physical subject matter. They are printed on stretched and gessoed canvas and take on the form of abstract paintings.
“6AA6” from 2017, is a good example of the symmetries created in the geometric patterns created using Douglas’ unique system of image generation. The square canvas features order-4 rotational symmetry with the lines of reflections running along the diagonals. The pattern can also be seen as a tiling made up of squares also positioned diagonally. Each square has one of two different types of geometries in a checkerboard layout.
Douglas is well known for more traditional photography, where an actual scene or object is depicted. These new techniques allow the artist to create a visual representation of numerical data transformed through technology.
It may seem unlikely to find Mathematical Art at a Folk Art Museum. The current exhibition at the American Folk Art Museum in NY features the work of what is often referred to as “outsider artists”. This term is controversial because it is very subjective what and who is inside or outside the standard “Art World”. It often means artists who have no official art training and are self taught or artists with medical or psychological or social situations that creates a position of isolation. There were two artists included in this exhibition who possessed an intense interest in mathematics.
Paul Laffoley’s large painting “The Living Klein Bottle House of Time” from 1978 presents a fantastic schematic for life inside a Klein Bottle, complete with schematic diagrams. This painting offers us a unique perspective on Mathematics and society.
Jean Perdrizet’s series of diagrams for “La tour logarithmique (The logarithmic tower)” show the artist’s desire to create a object to solve mathematical logarithmic problems. The intense drawing and numbering reveal the emotional urgency of Perdrizet’s mission.
I have been writing this blog for a few years now and one of the things that I have learned is to look for art with Mathematical themes everywhere. I was so happy to discover these two amazing works, I feel they have a lot to reveal about how different people relate to Mathematics regardless if the artists are inside or outside the standard norms of Math or Art.
Richard Anuszkiewicz’s sculptural wooden wall constructions are currently on display in the exhibition “Translumina Series 1989-1993” at the Loretta Howard Gallery. These geometric forms present the illusion of three dimensionality but, except for low relief line carving the sculptures are flat.
“Orange Light- Day and Night” from 1990 resembles two open boxes with the openings angled in opposite directions. The left hand box opens upper wards towards the left and the right hand box opens down wards to the right. The use of parallel lines plays a important role in creation a sense of dimensionality.
The carved away white lines are thinner near the edges and thicker towards the center of each of the quadrilateral elements. This process has created the effect of shadows.
“Translumina- Marriage of Silver and Gold” from 1992 also features two open square boxes. In this sculpture the two geometric shapes appear to be entwined, creating a more complex representation of foreground and background. Anuszkiewicz’s geometric paintings offer the viewer contrasting perspectives on space. Low profile wood carving gives the work an objectness, actually coming slightly off gallery wall, but the work seems to be much more dimensional.