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.
The current Summer Group exhibition at McKenzie Gallery titled “The Possibilities of the Line” features the work of sixteen artist who employ a sense of linearity in their artistic practice.
Although there is a lot of great art in this show I was immediately impressed by the drawings of Caroline Blum. Executed on graph paper these two works manage to render complex, precise geometric spaces while still preserving the scratchy quality the ball point pen. The hand of the artist is juxtaposed with the structured nature of the drawings.
“Blue Abstract” from 2107 creates a lattice work of horizontal and vertical bands that seem to weave over and under forming pattern of square and rectangular empty spaces.
“Path to Beach” (also from 2017) uses horizontal and vertical bands as well, but in this case there is a reference to concentric rectangles that gives the work a feeling of depth. To me, a series of architectural openings appears, leading the viewer deeper into the composition.
The Carter Burden Gallery is presenting the exhibition “A Shared Interest” that shows work with an emphasis on color and surface. Lilyan R. Stern’s “Variation on Theme #1” from 1970 features three vertical rectangles. Each rectangle has been divided into a series of concentric bands of color.
The center form has two lines of symmetry both horizontal and vertical, but the two outer rectangles only have a horizontal axis of symmetry. Stern’s use of bright color makes the obtuse and acute isosceles triangles seem to vibrate off the canvas.
One of the fun things about NYC in the late Spring and Summer is the thematic group shows at many of the galleries. If the unifying theme is of the more conceptual variety, it is often an opportunity to find Mathematical art.
At the Jankossen Contemporary Gallery the exhibition, titled “Monochrome” has Dieter Kränzlein’s white marble wall relief on display. Viewed from the front it is all about the precision of the square grid. But from the side you can see the rough surface of one face of each of the marble cubes.
Storm King Arts Center is a world-renowned sculpture park located about a hour North of Manhattan near the Hudson River. The permanent collection of the park features a number of works with Mathematical themes. Charles Ginnever’s steel sculpture “Prospect Mountain Project ( For David Smith)” from 1979 is an excellent example.
The work is comprised of a giant parallelogram that has been sliced diagonally into three parallel strips that are also parallelograms. Each strip has been folded twice at vertical creases. They are connected at two points along the lines of the folds.
The two side sections have the steel bending forward and the center parallelogram has the folds towards the back. This not only gives the flat plane of the metal sheet a 3-dimensional presence, but it also allows the sculpture to stand securely directly on the ground. The weathered organic texture of the steel contrasts with the hard edges of the geometry. The sculpture complements the natural surroundings of the park.
The Marianne Boesky Gallery is currently presenting the solo exhibition “Julia Dault: More Than Words. Using industrial materials”. Dault has created a series of wall sculptures that explore the distortion of parallel lines.
In the sculpture “Cherry Bomb” from 2018, made of powder coated hand-rolled aluminum, the two figures each consist of a series of vertical parallel straight lines joined at the bottom by a horizontal bar but as the lines get higher they start to warp and bend.
“Blue Angel” also from 2018 is a lozenge shape where part of the form has a covertness quality with each line equal distance apart. By pushing the lines closer together in the top left section Dault has created an irregular shaped negative space in the center. altering the distance between the rings creates a sense of movement.
The exhibition “Abstractions of Nature” at De Buck Gallery features Cardenas’ sculptures and wall installations. Created using a multitude of small, painted, stainless steel wires these works remind me of the practice of cross hatching, used when drawing. In a drawing an artist would use short almost straight lines to built a gradient of lines from light to to dark to form the illusion of depth and shadow. This would give a 2-D drawing the illusion of 3-D space.
Here is gallery view of “Yellow Nest” and “White Nest” both from 2018. Cardenas has built curved surfaces in 3-D space using only small lines of stainless steel.
This close up view of “Yellow Nest” shows the intricate architecture within each sculpture. Inspired by nature and educated as a civil engineer, Cardenas presents elegant constructions with biomorphic sensibilities.