Playing Games: Chance, Skill, and Abstraction at Ricco/Maresca

The exhibition “Playing Games: Chance, Skill, and Abstraction” at the Ricco/Maresca gallery presents antique handmade game boards along with contemporary paintings that feature the similar mathematical imagery. Before parlor games were mass-produced artisans hand painted the geometric patterns onto wood boards.
This is late 19th century American Anonymous example of a Parcheesi variation board game employs flat color shapes and rotational symmetry comparable to a 20th century abstract painting.
George Widener has created work that continues that tradition.
“Magic Squares” the mixed media work from 2016 is 16 framed rectangular sheets presented in a 4X4 arrangement. Each one features a number from 1 to 16. The magic is in the arrangement, the numbers in each row, column, and diagonal add up to 34!
The numbers each have a unique background with circles and a series of text of month stamps.
Susan Happersett

Arakawa at Gagosian Gallery

“Diagrams for the imagination” at the Gagosian Gallery on Madison Avenue features work produced by Arakawa between 1965 and 1984. Using words as well as geometric images these works function as schematic drawings for abstract themes.
“NO! Says the Volume”” from 1978, prominently displays a dodecahedron in the foreground possibly alluding to the text and title. Above the dodecahedron is a partial ring that is segmented into a black to white gradient from left to right, ending in the unexpected yellow. The use of gray scale is a way to represent a 3-D form with volume on a 2-D plane.
“Waiting Voices” from 1976-1977 is a two panel work. The left hand side has diagram of a cone within a cone and and a partial diagram of a cylinder within a cylinder. The text for this work is all positioned from the left side.
The work in this exhibition incorporates both poetry and mathematical renderings. Arakawa creates a connection between the measured accuracy of the geometric figures, imagination and emotion.
Susan Happersett

Proyectosmonclova Gallery at the Armory Show – New York City

It is March of n NYC so it is time for the giant art fairs. This year at the Armory show on Pier 94 galleries from all over the world brought an exciting assortment of work.

The Proyectosmonclova gallery from Mexico City exhibited the work of two artists whose work have Mathematical implications.

Gabriel de la Mora’s “193,200” from 2019 has two distinct mathematical themes, both geometric and numerical.The use of parallel lines with increasing frequency from top to bottom creates an electrifying pulse of geometric forms. The three rectangular horizontal rows explore the idea of positive and negative space. This work was created using 7;728 used sides from 3,864 match boxes from 193,200 burnt matches. The act of counting each of these elements expresses the intensity and detail in De la Mora’s artistic practice.


Eduardo Terrazas creates geometric forms using wool yarn on wood boards for the series “ Possibilities of a Structure” from 2018. Each of these works have an underlying stitch pattern featuring order 4 rotational symmetry and a circle inscribed within the square structure of the board. The symmetry is broken by highlighting some of the geometric forms with colored thread. Each shape possesses one curvilinear side. The concept of a non symmetrical pattern with a symmetrical framework offers a refreshing way to look at geometry.

Susan Happersett

Finding Fibonacci

Two Fibonacci Number sightings.
I am happy to report that the “Box of Growth” set of artist’s books published by Purgatory Pie Press in 1999 is on display at Connecticut College’s exhibition “Loose Leafs and Bindings: Book Arts and Prints”. This set of five small books feature my counted marking drawings that illustrate Fibonacci Sequence growth patterns.
Installed in the backroom at the Odetta gallery in Brooklyn. I found two cement Fibonacci Numbers from Patrick Gallagher and Chris Klapper’s “Exploring the Poetry of Numbers” series.
This number is F67, the 67th number in the Fibonacci Sequence
This number is F96, the 96th number in the Fibonacci Sequence.
Susan Happersett

“Falling into Place” at Odetta Gallery

The Odetta Gallery in Brooklyn is currently presenting a group show titled “Falling into Space”. It explores how physical forces affect the position of objects the artists each utilized a distinct geometric language.
Mary Schiliro’s acrylic painting on Mylar “Cat’s Cradle 7” from 2006 incorporates two columns of circular cutouts. The vertical line of reflection symmetry resulting from the cutouts is subverted by the fluid veil of blue transparent paint.

Schiliro’s installment “Disembody” from 2017 continues the theme of a straight line of circular cutouts. The long Mylar ribbon is presented in loops hung from a plexiglass rod running through the center of the gallery. The forces of gravity creating the undulating curtain. The cutaways lined up to create a series of voids illustrating the concept of positive and negative space.

Daniel G Hill’s wire frame wall drawing “Dishtowel Fold” from 2018 is a construction using straight lines to present the basic outline and folds of a form effected by gravity. The two ends are isosceles right triangles. The left hand triangle flush against the wall and the right hand triangle falling forward off the plane.

All of the work in “Falling into Place” involves each artists’ geometric processes in a very personal way. The viewer can move through the gallery and interact with each piece on a very human level.

Susan Happersett

Josef Albers at David Zwirner 

The David Zwirner gallery is presenting “Sonic Albers” an exhibition related to Alber’s interests in music and sonic phenomena. Albers is known for his his investigations  into color and geometric forms. His series of paintings “Homage to the Square” produced between 1950-1976 are an iconic contribution to the lexicon of 20th century Art. This current solo exhibition includes some work almost devoid of color, only using black and white.
“Structural Constellation M-9” from1954 is a line drawing created using machine-engraved plastic laminate that references the outlines of geometric solids in 3-D space. Two rectangular cubes share a segment of one side. The central figure is a rhombus depicting the shared section. It seems as though the two solids are sliding against each other on the same plane.
Here is another panel from the “Structural Constellation” series instead of featuring closed geometric solids this work depicts open forms that share edges in what looks like a precarious arrangement.
Susan Happersett

More Art at JMM Exhibition

Here are two more great selections from the Art Exhibition at JMM.
Uyen Nguyen creates computer generated origami. Using precise Mathematical calculations, “Wiggle” presents a raised modeling of a non-linear curve. It can be folded up accordion style into a compact pattern.
“Symmetrical Studies 19” an Ink on acetate drawing by Olivia Bridget O’Mahoney has an interesting order 9 rotational symmetry. The artist incorporates both a curvilinear wave type of illustration as well as a straight edge cubic rendering. O’Mahoney states that this piece  was inspired by the work of both Leonardo Da Vinci and Stephen Hawking.
Susan Happersett

Exhibition of Mathematical Art at the 2019 Joint Mathematics Meetings in Baltimore

Once again this year the most popular venue in the conference hall is the Art exhibition. There were dozens of exciting art works on display and here are just a few of my favorites.
Matt Enlow’s prints “Breaking The Ruled”  have been shaped to mimic the old school, student wide-ruled binder paper. In an interesting twist Enlow questions the confines of parallel lines. In this example the vertical red margin stays in its traditional location but the blue lines are no longer all horizontal instead the distance between them becomes smaller from left to write across the page. There is the perception that these might be parallel  lines going into the distance, utilizing rules of perspective.
Stephen Kenny explores the concept of nine point circles in his color pencil drawing “Nine Point Circle and Euler Line for an Acute Angle”. A Nine Point Circle is constructed in reference to a particular triangle. The nine points consist of : the midpoints of each of the three sides, the foot of each of the three altitudes, and the mid point between each vertex and the orthocenter (the point where the three altitudes intersect). Kenny incorporates these complex geometric constructions to define the abstract shapes and create straight-edge wedges of color.
Susan Happersett

Knitting Circle at Joint Mathematics Meeting – JMM Baltimore 2019

This year the Joint Mathematics Meeting was held in Baltimore Maryland. There has been a lot of discussion into the mathematics involved in the patterns of knitting, crocheting and other needle crafts. One of the featured events at the conference was a Knitting Circle, where people could work on, and share, their fiber arts projects. Much of the work being produced had a mathematical component. Here are a few photos from the gathering.

Rebekah DuPont , Ted Ashton, Carolyn Yachel

Corrine Yap

Wendy Smith

Kim Plafker, Jeff Suzuki

Much more from JMM next week.

Susan Happersett

Julio Le Parc at the Met Breuer

The MET Breuer is currently presenting a solo exhibition of the work of Julio Le Parc. Focusing predominantly on his work made around the year 1959, just at the time the Argentinian artist moved to Paris. Much of the work on display involves the use of sequences of geometric figures to create a sense of movement through space.

In “Rotation of Fractioned Circles” each of the unevenly divided circles remain the same. It the position of the dividing chord within each circle that changes as the circle rotates 10 degrees around it center point. The progression follows left to right then down to the next line then left to right again.

“Metamorphosis of a Line” is a series of nine panels beginning on the left with a horizontal line segment. This line segment seems to fold open becoming a rhombus with obtuse angles at the top and bottom vertices. These angles become smaller. On the fifth panel all vertices are 90 degree angles forming a square. The angles of the top and bottom vertices continue to decrease. The angles of the side vertices of become obtuse until the rhombus folds inward leaving a vertical line segment.

Le Parc’s elegant and precise gouaches illustrate geometric forms changing and moving through a series of consecutive images. These works are the precursor to his later Kinetic art in the 1960’s.

Susan Happersett