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.