At the Outsider Art Fair earlier this month the company Art Sales and Research Inc presented the work of self taught artist Harold Granucci. After retiring from accounting and retail in 1979, Granucci became interested in the mathematical formulas he found in natural phenomena. He spent twenty years hand drawing elaborate patterns generated from his calculations.
Using his Texas Instruments calculator and his knowledge golden proportions, Granucci created a large body of work that has just recently become available to the public. I am always excited to see work of previously unknown math artists fr the first tim.
Davidson Gallery in Chelsea is currently presenting “Afterimage”, a solo exhibition of recent work by Joe Rudko.
To create his works on paper Rudko slices up found photographs into rectangular strips. The actual photographic images become abstract patterns. Using very specific dimensions for the strips, they are assembled into patterns that mimic the look of weaving.
“MIRROR” from 2023 has a vertical axis of reflective symmetry. The symmetry is quite exact for the size and shape of the pieces of photographs. The symmetry for coloration is more of an approximation. Photography is a very important medium in contemporary art. I find it fascinating to find mathematical concepts addressed through these images.
The first weekend of March is the Outsider Art Fair in NYC. Over the years I have noticed more work with mathematical connections. This year Norman Brosterman exhibited a series of detailed mathematical abstract drawings that were recently discovered in two albums from 1880. The word “Distractions” was embossed on the spines of the books. They are thought to be the work of an architect or a drafts person. These works feature interesting symmetries.
This first drawing has order-4 rotational symmetry over all and each of hexagonal Star elements have order-6 rotational symmetry.
This second drawing has two competing symmetries. The outer pattern of Quadrilaterals and orange triangles has order-22 rotational symmetry, while the interior ring of circles and petals has order-8.this results in the petals meeting the triangles at various stages of the pattern.
If you read this when I post it, go see the Outsider Art Fair this weekend.
“Fin de Siecle – Buch der Bilder” ,a solo exhibition of Hanna Darboven’s work, is currently at Petzel gallery in Chelsea.
In the October issue of Art Forum magazine Darboven comments on the use of numerals. “It has nothing to do with Mathematics. Nothing! I choose numbers because they are so steady, limited, artificial. To me, in artistically separating the digits in numbers from the idea of mathematics, is a mathematical act.
At the show at Petzel, a multitude of complex images fill the gallery walls, creating an abstract work that transcends both the numbers and the marking of time, documented by Darboven’s “day calculations” from 1988–1989.
Here is a close up of one on the framed pieces in the exhibition. This page at first just looks like a numerical progression. The numbers correspond to to calendar days. Date, Month , Year. In this case 4 25 88 refers to April 25, 1988.
Tara Donovan’s recent screen drawings are currently on display at Pace Gallery in Chelsea. Donovan uses Mathematics to determine how to physically manipulate multiple layers on aluminum insect screens to create interference patterns. By pinching and cutting select wires using a predetermined rule set, the artist creates amazing geometric drawings.
My contribution to the art exhibit at the Bridges conference was my sculpture “Ribbon Loop”
“Ribbon Loop” is an example of my newest paper hyperbolic form “disco loops.” Each of these sculptures consists of 5 paper geometric stadiums. Geometric stadiums are created when a circle is split in half and a rectangle is placed between the two halves. The five pieces have the same pattern on both sides. For “Ribbon Loop” the pattern is similar to a grosgrain ribbon. The geometric stadiums are given slits and connected to to form a helix, then unwound to connect the loose ends. The resulting undulating sculpture is a two sided curved hyperbolic surface.
David Kaufman’s “Dichroic Crystal” got it shape by switching out the edges of a icosahedron for rhombi. Using the tool Polygonia, Kaufman created symmetrical patterns that were etched onto the acrylic planes. The transparent properties of the acrylic material allow the viewer to see the patterning at different angles simultaneously.
The digital photograph “Expansion 3” by Elizabeth Whiteley started with the artist drawing a diagram based on Dynamic Symmetry. After cutting into the lines of the drawing the paper was bent and curved from a 2-D surface into a 3-D object. The next step was to photograph the sculpture using monodirect lighting. The complex grey scale patterns of the shadows transformed the line diagram into a complex abstract composition.
It is January that means it is time for the JMM Conference – also known as the Joint Meeting of Mathematics This year it was held in Boston, Massachusetts. I was lucky enough to attend the meeting and enjoyed many interesting lectures, but for me the highlight is always the Art Exhibition. There was a lot of great work on display and the gallery was busier than ever, it was quite crowded. I had more Mathematicians inquiring about my work than in past years.
I can not discuss every piece in the show, but I will highlight a few.
“Twisted Crystal” by Richard Harrington is made from hardware cloth and features a composition of two combined cubes into a form with hexagonal symmetry. I really like Harrington’s choice of material. The gridded transparency of the hardware Cloth allows the viewer to see both cubes simultaneously. Looking at the sculpture from different angles the moiré patterns of multiple layers of the grid change.
Felicia Tabing’s “two-thirds”, explores the concept of a converging geometric series using pencil and gouache. The artist started with a rectangle took away 1/2 then added back 1/4. (1-1/2+1/4) the white spaces are the 1/4 that did not get added back. The more interactions of this process, the closer the painted area gets to being 2/3 of the total original rectangle. Tabing’s painterly approach to filing in the spaces is a refreshing take on the subject.
The Everson Museum in Syracuse has a new site specific installation in their stairwell. Derek Porter’s “Faceted Wrap” 2022, consists of 1600 mirrored reflectors.
Each of the polished stainless steel rectangles has 2 parallel folds with congruent sections bent forward.
This creates a fractured sense of space for the viewer. The lines of the rectangles both flat and folded outward divide the visual content into a multitude of linear fragments, offering a disjointed reality.
The David Zwirner Gallery in Chelsea is currently presenting Thomas Ruff’s exhibition “d.o.p.e”. The title of the show references Aldous Huxley’s 1954 book “ The Doors of Perception” and features new work by the photographer. Using special computer software Ruff creates mathematical images that reflect on the self similarities and the repetitive nature of fractal forms. The patterns are then digitally printed on industrial carpeting. All of the work in the show is from 2022 and are printed in an edition of 4.
The viewer gets the feeling that generated patterning in these works is quite detailed. The use of the carpeting as the substrate creates a more ethereal presence, softening the edges. In a sense romanticizing the mathematics.
Bringing the designs off the monitor screen and onto a textured surface, the artist has given the work an organic quality.