Analia Saban at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery

“Punched Card”, Analia Saban’s solo exhibition, includes work from the artists “Tapestry” series. This series introduces two very interesting dichotomies. The patterns presented in these weavings are circuits boards that allude to the history of computers into the digital age. The title of each work references the actual technical hardware. This is juxtaposed with the process of weaving on Jacquard looms that was one of the first industrial uses of binary analog systems.

“Tapestry [1,024 Bit[1K] Dynamic RAM,1103,Intel,1970]”

For these weavings, Saban uses linen thread for the warp and strips of dried acrylic paint for the weft. This choice of materials opens the dialog about the distinctions between what has been considered fine art (painting) and craft (weaving). The first weaving you see as you walk into the gallery (above) is hung on a wall, but farther into the space there is an installation of tapestries hung from the ceiling.
Image 3

“Tapestry[Computer Chip, TMS 1000, Texas Instruments, 1974]

This installation technique allows the viewer to walk around the textiles and get better understanding of the weaving process.
This series of work highlights two topics that have are currently important and intertwined in art and society today, the development of technology and the artificial hierarchies in culture.
Susan Happersett
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“Chance and Control: Art in the Age of Computer” at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London

This week a guest blog entry by Elizabeth Whiteley

If you are planning to visit London very soon, consider viewing “Chance and Control: Art in the Age of Computer.” The exhibit is at the V&A Museum until November 18. It’s a small and well selected show of pioneering work since 1968. That year there was an international show titled “Cybernetic Serendipity” at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London. Many of those artists are included in this exhibit.

Vera Molnar (French, born 1924) detail from “Interruptions”

One of the wall notes contains a description of the way images were produced in the early years of computer-generated art. Next to a work by George Nees it says “The plotter was operated by feeding punched tape into a computer that used the instruction to direct a pen across a drawing surface. As the computer had no screen, Nees would not have been able to fully anticipate the appearance of the resulting drawing.” Nowadays, we can preview an image pixel by pixel!

Manfred Mohr (French, born 1938), detail from “P-049” from the portfolio “Scratch Code”

Georg Nees (German, 1926-2016), “Untitled’ [red black]

 Thanks for your contribution Elizabeth! Next week more New York art.

Susan Happersett

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer at bitforms gallery

“Confirmation Bias” is the current solo exhibition for Rafael Lozano-Hemmer at bitforms gallery. The term confirmation bias relates to how information or data is interpreted in a way that favors one’s preexisting ideas believes and preferences. This can pose a negative effect on scientific study.
“Vanishing Points”is a data generated screen based work form 2018 that reacts in real time to the position of the viewer in the gallery. Using software that adjusts the grids to form a vanishing point that corresponds to the viewers perspective.
“Vanishing Point” has mathematical themes on numerous levels. The use of geometry to create the changing grids is just the beginning. Using computer algorithms Lozano-Hemmer takes the work outside of the 2 dimensions of the flat screens into the 3 dimensions of the gallery while adding the element of time. The concept of confirmed bias relates to the the societal implications of numerical data and how it can be distorted due to peoples existing opinions and feelings.
Susan Happersett

Matthew Larson at Massey Klein

The Massey Klein gallery’s is currently presenting “Vice Versa” a solo exhibition of Matthew Larson’s fiber works. Having developed a unique and arduous technique of embedding parallel rows of yarn into Velcro, Larson has created a series of stretched linen panels with geometric themes.
“Flat Structure” from 2017 at first glance seems to be a square with a diagonal line. Upon closer inspection that line is actually formed by a bend in each of the sections of yarn at the left upper corner.
Every line of yarn is s different length running from the right side of the square to the bottom. The nature of the fibrous material makes each bend slightly curvilinear, adding a subtle organic element to the geometric form. This juxtaposition of the idea of a straight edge square with a diagonal line with the softer corner folds creates a fascinating composition.

Susan Happersett

Tom Bronk at Andrew Edlin Gallery

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.
Susan Happersett

Adrian Piper at MOMA

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.
Susan Happersett

Barry McGee at Cheim & Read Gallery

Known for his free-for-all type of installations, Barry McGee is consistent in his unpredictability. His newest display at Cheim & Read Gallery consists of hundreds of objects. There are stacks of objects and dozens of paintings on canvas wood and cardboard. There is one prevalent theme throughout the space and that is the use of geometric patterning.

“Untitled”, 2017

This collection of shaped paintings is a single work of art. Each shape is filled with a tiling of  geometric patterns.
Here is an example of a tiling made up of  yellow Rhombuses and isosceles triangles in two shades of red.
This black and white design features squares set on the diagonal with alternating bands of black and white.

“Untitled”, 2017

Here is another wall in the gallery, consisting of a collection of framed works on paper. The wall has been sculpted to bulge out at the bottom. In this assortment of drawings there are more of the tilings, but there are also illustrations of geometric figures.
Within the random nature of McGee’s installation the impressive use of mathematical patterning becomes a unifying factor.
Susan Happersett

SEEING MATH – Flaten Art Museum, St. Olaf College

Math Art Workshop January 6, 2018
Author of this blog post, artist Sarah Stengle will teach a Math Art Workshop from 10 a.m. to 12 noon on January 6, 2018, at the Center for Art and Dance, which is in the same building as the Flaten Art Museum. Everyone is welcome to attend. Further information can be found here

Seeing Math at Flaten Art Museum at St. Olaf College, in Northfield, Minnesota, is a masterfully curated interdisciplinary exhibit featuring six contemporary artists who are clearly comfortable working creatively with mathematical concepts. Curator Taylor Davis selected works by Daniel Dean, Tracy Krumm, Emily Lynch Victory, Ben Moren, Margaret Pezalla-Granlund, and Roman Verostko that span a wide range of media, from video through painting to fiber art. The works incorporate mathematical topics such as algorithms, infinity, geometry, counting systems, and the fourth dimension.

Emily Lynch Victory, P1: Number System Base 16, 2016

Emily Lynch Victory’s P1: Number System Base 16 is a complex set of grids of linear marks that resemble scraffito. At a distance her work appears to be an imposing minimalist painting with a densely worked surface. Upon closer examination the grid turns out to be a visual mapping of numbers expressed in different base systems. Visitors can appreciate the beauty of the accumulated markings with or without unraveling the system of numerical notations that generated the imagery.

Daniel Dean, Infinity, 2015

At first glance, Infinity, by Daniel Dean, also closely resembles a minimalist work of art. The pristine construction and electric blue glow are reminiscent of Donald Judd’s light sculptures. The title Infinity combined with the circular motion of the light can be interpreted as metaphor for the cycle of life. But the image in the lighted panels is a painfully familiar one: the one that appears when our computer gets stuck in processing a task. Dean plays with the sublime notions of infinity and light using an image that is also an everyday symbol of frustration, an image that simultaneously evokes the feeling of things taking “forever” while waiting around in the prosaic realm of electronic dysfunction.

Ben Moren, River Suspension, (Analysis), 2015

Ben Moren’s video installation River Suspension (Analysis) captures multiple images of the artist apparently hovering in mid-air over a river. The effect is starkly surreal. Using a very high-speed camera developed by the military for analyzing the trajectory of ballistic weapons, he instead tracks the trajectory of his own leaping body. The frames are so numerous that motion is nearly frozen, confounding our sense of time and gravity. Usually talk about the trajectory of an artist is in reference to a career path, not the physical body of the artist in motion. Moren elicits a complex emotional response to his fairly simple action, jumping, by modeling his trajectory physically and technically in a context where one expects pure metaphor.

This highly engaging exhibit also includes examples of book art, fiber art, algorithmic art and models of tesseracts (cubes imagined in the fourth dimension). Attendees who linger will be rewarded both by the masterful work exhibited and by the varied depth of information provided. The text panels are unusually well written, and additionally there is a table with an array of enjoyable mathematical puzzles, models, and books.

Seeing Math is on view through January 15, 2018, at Flaten Art Museum, St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota. It is inspired by works of mathematically themed art acquired with The Arnold Ostebee ’72 and Kay Smith Endowed Fund for Mathematical Art. Established in 2014, this fund supports the acquisition and display of mathematically themed art at St. Olaf College. The museum will be closed during winter break, December 10, 2017 through January 2, 2018.

Sarah Stengle

 

Delirious at The MET Breuer: “Excess”

The MET Breuer’s current exhibition Delirious includes about two dozen art works that are related to Mathematics. The Section of the show titled “Excess” features work that involves repetitive series.
Here is Francois Morellet’s rule based painting “4 Grids 0° – 22.5° – 45° – 67.5°”  from 1958. Morellet has layered a series of four square grids rotated by the prescribed number of degrees. Like an interference pattern, the white sections pop in the intricate web of black lines.
Hanna Darboven manipulates the digits in calendar dates in her serial drawing “00-99=No1-2K-20K” from 1969-70:
Darboven’s work involves the repetition of predetermined arithmetic operations. To me it functions as a type of visual number poetry.
Delirious is really an amazing exhibit. I have only offered a brief sampling of the work on display. There is even a showcase with some of Sol Lewitt’s note books! If you are in NYC in the next few months I strongly recommend taking some time to have a look. If you can not make it to the museum, there are some images on their website and they have published a nice catalog.
Susan Happersett

Delirious – Vertigo at the MET Breuer

When I heard the title “Delirious” of the current exhibition at the MET Breuer I did not immediately think Math Art. This show explores art from the 1950-1980 period that was in reaction to the tumultuous time after WWII. It includes a broad range of styles and themes. Two sections in particular feature work with mathematical implications :”Vertigo” and “Excess”. The introductory wall signage even mentions the artists’ use of mathematics and geometry.
There were so many pieces in this show that I would like to discuss that I will talk about it in two blog posts
One of the sections in the show is called “Vertigo”. Displayed in this area is work that warps the viewer’s perspective of space.
The 1965 painting  “Snap Roll” by Dean Fleming uses flat isosceles triangles, trapezoids, and a single central parallelogram to produce the illusion of a 3-D form simultaneously pushing out of the plane of the canvas, and retreating into the same plane. This disorienting phenomenon disputes Euclidean Geometry.
Robert Smithson’s Untitled (Model) from 1967 consists of a square grid of plastic panels. Carving away layers to reveal a diagonal step pattern, Smithson creates reflective symmetry. Although all of the ends of the elements retain their square shape along each column and row, the openings appear to stretch and warp. This sculpture questions the way space changes when we go from a 2-D flat plane into 3-D object.
There were just so many wonderful examples of mathematically inspired art in this exhibit, it is hard to do it justice in a blog format. Next time I will write about the section titled “Excess”.
Susan Happersett