Concentric squares have been a popular theme for geometric painters like Josef Albers and Frank Stella. Tom Bronk has added a fresh and frenetic quality to the form.
Bronk’s painting “96(e)-1” from 1996 is currently display as part of his solo exhibition at the Andrew Edlin Gallery.
Featuring narrow horizontal bands of alternating contrasting colors, the squares seem to vibrate right off the canvas.
Tom Bronk is a self-taught artist having never attended an official traditional art school. But he did interact with artists since arriving in NYC in the 1970’s. He worked as a wall painter at the Leo Castelli Gallery and was introduced to the trends in contemporary art. That influenced combined with his inherent appreciation of geometry has resulted in an exciting body of work.
I am so happy Vandorn Hinnant sent me an invitation to his current solo exhibition “The Hidden Mathematics: a surprising connection between Math and Art” at The New York Hall of Science. This was my first visit to the Hall of Science located in a stunning 1964 World’s Fair building in Corona Queens NY. I had wanted to see the museum’s permanent “Mathematica” display for a long time but it was an amazing discovery to find out about their art galleries. What a great place to see Math Art!
Hinnart’s artistic practice is a perfect example of the visualization of meta-mathematics. Interested in exploring mathematical geometric as complete systems, his drawings achieve detail and accuracy relying only on the construction rules of Euclidean geometry using a straight edge and a compass.
Inspiration for these drawings and paintings come from numerous mathematical sources including the Fibonacci numbers, the Golden Mean and fractals.
“Navigator’s Song” from 1995 features both horizontal and vertical lines of symmetry as well as isosceles triangle forms.
“Aromatic Vortex in Red & White” from 2012 depicts a rotating series of equilateral triangles to build a spiral, referencing the Padovan sequence.
Hinnant credits the work of numerous historical figures in the development of his decades long creative process including Pythagoras and Buckminster Fuller.
Matteawan Gallery is presenting “It’s About Time” a solo exhibition of the work of Eleanor White. On display is the kinetic wall sculpture “Continuous Timer”. This work is comprised of hundreds of glass and sand timers arranged on a spinning wheel. Featuring a high order of rotational symmetry by adding movement this piece references the infinite symmetries found in circles.
The constant re-leveling of the sand within each glass timer breaks the symmetry with the introduction of the concepts of gravity and equilibrium.
“Continuous Timer” is one of the best examples of a work of art using mathematics as a metaphor for time and relativity that I have seen.
It is the final week of August and most of the art galleries in NYC are closed so for fun I decide to write about the mathematics of Mary Blair’s artwork for the “It’s a Small World” ride at the Magic Kingdom. On a family vacation earlier this year while riding one of my favorite rides I noticed how many types of symmetry were involved in the design. I found numerous examples of rotational symmetry.
Here is a series of flowers with order 8 rotational symmetry.
These flowers have order 4 rotational symmetry because of the alternating colors .
This decoration with order 12 rotational symmetry and it actually rotates!
I hope everyone is enjoying their Summer Holidays.
The Gallery Photo Book Works in Beacon NY is currently featuring the exhibition “Purgatory Pie Press: 40 Years & Counting” to commemorate Dikko Faust’s and Esther K Smith’s long and fruitful history of art making and collaborations. They have worked with many artists to create limited edition letter press artist’s books, postcards, and prints. (I have worked with them for over twenty years).
Here is a gallery view. The accordion books on display are the work of Dikko Faust the founder and the printer at the press. In the past few years he has developed a series of work based on abstract geometric forms that have a lot of mathematical context. I have written about a number of his processes in past blog posts.
This is Dikko’s newest edition it is comprised of circles that are made up of a dot grid. When the red and blue circles overlap interference patterns emerge.
If you are in the Hudson Valley on August 11 stop by the gallery for the exhibition closing day, Dikko Faust and Esther K Smith in the gallery. They will be there from 1PM to 7PM:
Christoph Ohler’s sculpture “MBC” was created fom a flat sheet of steel. Curved sections were cut away. Then the form was bent and soldered resulting in eight connected Moebius strips. One of the cool things about the Moebius strips is how much their appearance changes depending on the viewers vantage point. “MBC” enhances the property of multidimensional visual perspective.
“Towards Infinite Smallness in layered Space” by Irene Rousseau is a 3-D paper construction. This work illustrates the negative curvature on a hyperbolic plane. The repetitive forms become increasingly small as they reach out to the boundary of the round disc. The paper shapes are not applied to create a flat surface, but instead the elements are of differing thicknesses, giving the work a complex surface.
This year the annual Bridges Math Art conference was held in Stockholm Sweden. Along with a busy program of lectures and workshops, the art exhibit is always a highlight of the event. There was so much interesting work on display that is hard to select just a few to write about in the blog. I encourage everyone to take a look at the on line gallery available on the Bridges website.
Martin Levin’s brass and aluminum sculture “Altogether II” was particularly fascinating to me because it includes all five of the platonic solids. By using thin rods as lines in 3-D space, Levin outlined the figures so you can see the shapes stacked inside each other. Platonic solids are comprised of faces that are regular polygons and at each vertex there are an equal number of faces meeting. The five Platonic are: Tetrahedrons with 3 equilateral triangular faces at each vertex, Cubes with 3 square faces at each vertex, Octahedrons with 4 equilateral triangle faces at each vertex, Dodecahedrons with 3 pentagons at each vertex and, Icosahedrons with 5 equilateral triangles meeting at each vertex. In Levin’s structure the shapes with triangular faces all share a common face plane, and the solids that have three shapes meeting at the vertices share common vertices.
“Triboid” is a resin sculpture by Alfred Peris that is a ruled surface, which means that on any point of the surface there is a straight line that lies on the curved surface. Peris generates these curved surfaces by taking a 2-D curve with no end points and then projects it into paraboloid of revolution to get a 3-D curve. The resulting sculpture has an elegant organic floral presence.
“Model Room”, Olafur Eliasson’s huge installation of geometric models is on display at the Moderna Museet. The models were created in collaboration with Icelandic mathematician and architect Einar Thornsteinn.
Situated in a light filled entrance corridor of the museum, the huge vitrines contain an impressive cornucopia of mathematical forms. Eliasson refers to “Model Room” as a generous, spatial archive containing the entire DNA of his artistic oeuvre.
Thomas Bayrle’s art explores the connections between technology and society. He creates large images through the repetition of a smaller images.
The enormous paper photo-collage work “Flugzeug (Airplane)” from 1982-1983 is currently on display at The New Museum in Bayrle’s solo exhibition titled “Playtime”. The gigantic (full scale) airplane is made up of 14 million tiny planes.
The artist addresses the mathematical concepts of scale and self-similarity as they relate to digitization and the standardization world infrastructure systems.
It is the final two weeks of Adrian Piper’s MOMA retrospective titled “Adrian Piper A Synthesis Of Intuitions 1965-2016”. This exhibition features work from Piper’s diverse career. The first few rooms include excellent examples of early conceptual work with Mathematical themes.
“Nine -Part Floating Square” from 1967 features nine canvases positioned to for a 3X3 square each canvas is divided into 3X3 grid. A selection of grid squares on each canvas is painted with gesso to form a 6X6 square that stretches across all of the panels in an off center position.
“Infinitely Divisible Floor Construction” first constructed in 1968 consists of squares of particle board and lines of white tape.The first square is undivided, the next arrangement is four sections each divided into 4 squares (2X2 grid), the third arrangement is nine sections each divided into 16 squares (4X4 grid), the largest formation features sixteen boards each divided into 64 squares (8X8 grid). This work becomes an parade of squares with in squares that becomes more intense as it marches across the gallery floor, highlighting the geometric structure of the squares as well as referencing the more abstract concept of mathematical infinity.
Piper continued to use the tenets of conceptual art in her practice but the themes changed. Societal concerns, especially racial discrimination became the subject matter of much of the work. I realize the main emphasis of this blog is to discuss the Mathematical connections to Art, but I hope that anyone who is in NYC goes to MOMA to see this show not only for the Math Art but takes the time to experience the entire timely exhibition.