Ruth Asawa at David Zwirner Gallery

Ruth Asawa studied at the Mountain College, and in the late 1940’s began making crocheted wire sculptures. This solo exhibition at at David Zwirner features a large collection of these hanging forms.

Almost all of the structures feature a vertical line of symmetry. No matter your vantage point in the gallery the reflective symmetry is visible.

This sculpture is referred to in the catalog as “Untitled, 1954, Hanging, Seven-lobed Continuous, Interwoven Form, with Spheres with in Two Lobes”. It shows another element of Asawa’s work: the interior and exterior forms change positions. They seem to flow through each other.
This phenomenon questions our preconceived ideas about the rules for inside and outside in a 3-D geometric shape.

Susan Happersett

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Polly Apfelbaum at Alexander Gray Associates

The exhibition “Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women” at the Alexander Gray Associates gallery features a new series of gauche paintings inspired by the 1963 book “The Potential of Woman”.
Written for a symposium of the same name, this text offers a condescending outlook on the future contributions of women. The cover design by Rudolph deHarek features a portrait of a woman’s head using flat shapes of color with a vertical line of reflective symmetry.
Using this image as a staring point, Apfelbaum repeats and rotates the original form to create paintings with a variety symmetrical properties.
In this work the woman’s head has been repeated once and rotated 180 degrees, creating order 2 rotational symmetry.
For this next painting the head is repeated 6 more times. The arrangement of 7 women offers some more complex patterns. By slightly altering the central figure the artist was able to impose both vertical and horizontal lines of reflective symmetry in this work.
Apfelbaum’s appropriation of this particular image offers a socially charged commentary. The use of mathematics to manipulate the image creates a dynamic visual dialogue.
Susan Happersett
All pictures courtesy of the gallery

“Expanding Abstraction: New England Women Painters, 1950 To Now” at the De Cordova Museum.

One of the more interesting Summer exhibitions that I visited this year (open till mid September) is this show at the De Cordova Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts.

Many of the paintings on display feature mathematical themes. Geometry was a popular subject for abstract artists in the 1970’s. Maude Morgan and Terri Priest both incorporate geometric principles in their work.

Maude Morgan , “Gold Coast II” , 1971
Picture courtesy of the De Cordova Museum

Maude Morgan painting “Gold Coast II” features bright squares in the center of the canvas that pulsate against the background. In the lower left corner there is series of striking turquoise rectangles.

Terri Priest’, “Panoply, Summer Evening”, 1976
Picture courtesy of the De Cordova Museum

Terri Priest’s “Panoply, Summer Evening” from 1976 utilizes vertical parallel lines to create a surface that is broken by a few loose orange lines running slightly off the diagonal.

This exhibit also showcases more contemporary art.

Reese Inman, “Stinglattice II”, 2006
Picture courtesy of the De Cordova Museum

Reese Inman’s “Stinglattice II” from 2006. With experience as a computer programmer, Priest uses algorithms and a computer print-out plan for each of the colors within the grid. She then hand-paints each dot onto the canvas.

The art on display spans six decades, demonstrating the many styles and themes that fall under the umbrella of abstract painting. Mathematical influences appear throughout this history.

 

Susan Happersett

Bridges Conference Art Exhibit – Waterloo 2017

Once again there was a lot of interesting art on display at the Bridges Conference this year. Way to much to write about in my blog. To see more work the entire gallery is available on the Bridges website.
It is always difficult to pick a few pieces, but I will choose six over two blog posts.
Veronika Irvine’s sculpture “Delle Caustiche (Sagittarius Star Cloud)” incorporates the art of bobbin lace making into a 3-D surface. The hexagonal lace pattern has been altered to create a disc formation with larger hexagons at the outer edge of the curves. It required 3 rotations of this disc process. Copper wire has been used to give the lace structure. Irvine’s intricate band of lace graceful curves up and out of the plane.
Guy Petzall’s “Obloid Whorl” pop-up model is masterful created, using a single sheet of paper.  Cutting and folding along a grid format, Petzall creates what he refers to as “a whorling meander motif”. The flat paper has been transformed into a rising spiral.
 
 Lee Angold used water-soluble carbon to hand paint “Pinus nigra”. It is a an exploration of Fibonacci spirals found in cones of the Austrian pine, but with a twist. Cones with imperfect Phylotaxis are also included.
Susan Happersett

“Passage + Obstacle” at University of Waterloo Art Gallery – Canada

This year the Bridges Math Art conference was held at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. To coordinate with the conference, the University Art Gallery (UWAG) presented the exhibit “Passage + Obstacle”, featuring work that addresses the mission of the Bridges organization, as well as metaphorical bridges that allow transport over obstacles.

“Protogon Shift” (triptych), Andrew James Smith, 2014
Picture courtesy of the gallery and the artist

In Andrew James Smith’s triptych painting “Protogon Shift”, each of the three canvases begins with a triangle at its center. A series of 98 polygons are connected to form a spiral composed of all straight lines. Leading us from the most basic polygon (triangle ) to the most complex.

“Protogon Shift” (triptych), Andrew James Smith, 2014 (side view)
Picture courtesy of the gallery and the artist

The images changes appearance depending on the viewer’s vantage point in the gallery.

“Composition in Red, Green, And Blue”, Laura De Decker, 2013
Digital animation – gallery still shot 
Picture courtesy of the gallery and the artist

Laura De Deckers video “Composition in Red, Green, And Blue” was created using custom computer code written by the artist to create prints. Using just the three colors De Decker transforms computer language to abstract visual images. Here is just a short sample of the video.
The Bridges conference also sponsored its own art exhibition which I will write about in future blog posts.
Susan Happersett

Gary Hill at bitforms Gallery

Gary Hill’s ” Klein Bottle with Image of Its Own Making (after Robert Morris)” from 2014 is on display in bitforms Gallery’s Summer 2017 group show. The glass structure is a 3-D representation of the Mathematical form introduced by Felix Klein in 1882. Related to Moebius strips, Klein Bottles are a sort of vessel where both interior and exterior are all the same continuous surface. They are only truly possible using four dimensions. A video is projected inside the bottle showing the glass structure being formed. This conceptual aspect of the video connected the sculptural work with it’s production relates to Robert Morris’s “Box with the Sound of Its own Making” (1961).

This Summer exhibition at bitforms Gallery provides a sample of the work of artist who will have larger exhibitions next season. i am looking forward to seeing more of Gary Hill’s work.

Susan Happersett

Hungarian Art of the 1960’s and 1970’s at Elizabeth Dee Gallery

The Elizabeth Dee gallery in Harlem, NY is currently presenting “With the eyes of others, Hungarian Artists of the Sixties and Seventies”. The exhibition is curated by András Szántó. The works in this show are not that well known in the United States, but are an important part of twentieth century (art) history. These artists worked under a repressive regime and had to find ways to express their opposition through subtle means. Making geometric abstract work  was a way to show a connection to Western artist like Frank Stella and Al Held with out overt political connections.

Károly Halász – Radial Enamel I-IV – 1969
Picture courtesy of the gallery

Károly Halász’ “Radial Enamel I-IV” consists of four square enameled iron plates. Using only bright yellow, dark blue and black to create tension between the narrow acute triangles, radiating from diagonal corners of the squares. The lines of symmetry in this work are a bit tricky. At first glance you think they would run from upper left corner to lower right corner, because of the lines created by the bases of the triangles along the diagonals. But, because of the alternating dark and bright colors, this is not the case. Instead, the lines of reflective symmetry are the four diagonals running from the upper right corner to the lower left corner of each individual square, as well as the same diagonal for the work in its entirety.

Imre Bak – “Landscape Transformation” – 1974
Picture courtesy of the gallery

Imre Bak’s 1974 painting “Landscape Transformation” presents a mathematically stylized landscape. Featuring a series of parallel lines, right triangles, and half circles this work has both horizontal and vertical lines of reflection symmetry. Alluding to traditional landscape painting, but using the vocabulary of the geometric hard edge painters, Bak is signaling an allegiance to the Western European and American art communities.Susan Happersett

“Gamut: A Group Show About Color”at Cross Contemporary Art in Saugerties, NY

The Cross Contemporary Art Gallery’s current presentation features the work of four artists that all incorporate unique color usage. The Paintings of Jeanette Fintz also address the unfolding of 3-D geometric forms depicted on a 2-D plane.

Jeanette Fintz, “Matrix, The Cold Pink”, 2015, Acrylic on canvas
Picture courtesy of the artist and the gallery

In Fintz’s large scale canvas “Matrix, The Cold Pink”, a construction of cubes is unfolding in front of a background of squares and pentagons.

Jeanette Fintz, “Tumble 3”, 2014, Acrylic on wood panel
Picture courtesy of the artist and the gallery

“Tumble 3”, a painting on wood panel, depicts accordion-folded strips. It is the artist’s selection of colors that gives the appearance of dimensionality. There is no use of shading. Each rhombus is painted in a solid color.
The geometry in Fintz’s paintings pops and hums off the plane. Combining carefully rendered hard-edge lines and shapes with powerful and unexpected colors this work produces a dynamic presence in the gallery.

 

Susan Happersett

Mathematical Meditations in Beacon, New York

A survey of my Mathematically inspired paintings, drawings, videos and artist’s books is currently on view at the Roundhouse Gallery in Beacon, NY. Situated in a restored 19th century factory building, the gallery space provides ample room for a wide range of work I have completed over the past twenty years.
Included in the exhibit are my counted marking drawings. I started making these early in my career and I am still creating them with more complex algorithms.
There is also a range of work based the Chaos Theory.
 
A wew of my pieces from my recent “Cartesian Lace” series are also on display.
 
 This wonderful opportunity has offered me a chance for the first time, to present an exploration of all of the various types of my Mathematical art all in one room.
The opening last weekend was wonderful. On May 21, Dikko Faust and Ester K. Smith of Purgatory pie Press will be at the gallery for a meet and greet. Over the past years I have collaborated with them on a number of limited edition letterpress projects, that are also on display. Meet Esther and Dikko from 2PM to 6PM.
Susan Happersett

Cartesian Lace Drawings

The past few months I have been developing a new type of drawing process based on Set Theory and the concept of mapping. Using the Cartesian coordinate system, I started by plotting sets of points on the x, y and z axes. To create a visual metaphor for the 4th dimension, I added one more axis perpendicular to the z axis. Using different mapping procedures I connect points from one axis to point on another. I utilize bijective (one point to one point) mapping, as well as non-bijective (one point to many points ) mapping patterns.

These new drawings use mathematics to create intricate patterns that relate to technological network maps, neurological phenomena, but also to hand-made lace.
Susan Happersett