Two Perspectives: Kristen Schiele and Amanda Valdez

I have just see two different solo exhibitions where the artists had very different ways of using geometric patterns in their work.

Kristen Schiele at Lu Magnus Gallery


Spirit Girls – Kristen Schiele
Picture courtesy pf the artist and the gallery

At the Lu Magnus gallery Kristen Schiele has an exhibition titled “Spirit Girls”. This show is Schiele’s expression of the future world her young daughter will experience. There are layers of figurative illustrations and geometric patterning.

Here is a view of the gallery wall with a series of patterned  parallel boards installed in a corner. This alludes to the layers of lines and patterns in the rest of the work. What interests me about this work is the silk screen overlays and underlays of mathematical lines and shapes. They created a disjointed quality to the work. Schiele seems to be  using the parallel lines,  radiating lines, and star and triangle grids as a metaphor for travel into the future.


Spirit Girls – Kristen Schiele
Picture courtesy pf the artist and the gallery

In “Spirit Girls”, an acrylic painting with silkscreen the sliver of a woman’s profile  is at the center of the work, with an explosion of lines radiating from behind. There are also sections of geometric patterning. To me, the use of these mathematical patterns express the non-linear nature of Schiele’s projected future society. This is an excellent example of the use of mathematical forms being used to make art about sociology.

Amanda Valdez at Denny Gallery

Artist Amanda Valdez incorporates geometry into her work as a connection to Art History. At the Denny Gallery, Valdez is exhibiting paintings in her solo show titled “Thick as Thieves”, that incorporate quilt elements. These pieced fabric sections relate to the Bauhaus workshops, Islamic design, as well as traditional quilts.


Amanda Valdez – Wild Goose Chase (2014)
Picture courtesy of the artist and the gallery

In the work “Wild Goose Chase” 2014, fabric and gesso on canvas, there is a large central shape made out of fabric columns of isosceles triangles. The direction of the triangles’ points and bases alternate from one column to the next, creating a glide reflection symmetry. There are horizontal lines of reflection and then a horizontal translation.

Both Kristen Schiele and Amanda Valdez use geometric patterns in their work. Schiele”s  work is inspired by the future, while Valdez has plumbed a wide scope of artistic traditions to connect with the present.



Rachel Garrard at Klemens Gasser & Tanja Grunert Gallery

Mitra Khorasheh has curated a fascinating exhibition of the paintings, sculptures, videos and performance art of Rachel Garrard title “VESSEL” at Gasser Grunert. All the work in the show is about geometry, a very personal geometry, based on the physical measurements of the artist’s body. In the press release from the show Garrard is quoted as saying: “I see the human body as a microcosm, a seed encompassing all the geometric and geodesic measures of the cosmos, as a container for something infinite”.

One of the geometric forms used by Garrard is the isosceles triangle.


The work “Convergence 2004” (quartz dust on linen) features layers of transparent isosceles triangles, 4 with the bottom of the canvas as the base and three with the top of the canvas as their base. The vertex angles are lines up on a vertical reflection line of symmetry that runs through the center of the canvas. This expresses the symmetric nature of the human form, with a vertical line of symmetry, but also the non-symmetrical nature, i.e. the absence of a horizontal line of symmetry.50-2

The geometry for “Blue II” (Ink on canvas, 2004) is takn diretcly from the outline of the artist’s body. Garrard uses various rectangles to create a structure that relates the proportions of her body and again displays a verical line of reflective symmetry.

Garrard has also created videos and performance works that are based on her techniques of dividing up her body into a sort of grid of points. The artist then connects these points with either tape lines, directly on her body, or paint lines on a clear panel.


The sculpture “Geometric Void” (paint on perspex) is the result of an 8-hour performance from 2010. Rachel Garrard has created a new way to express geometry based  on the proportions of her body. Although the nature of this work is very personal, the essence of these symmetries and proportions reveal universal truths.


MathArt in Chelsea Galleries – late February

Imi Hwangbo at Pavel Zoubok Gallery

Pavel Zoubok Gallery is exhibiting the hand and laser cut mylar 3-D drawings of Imi Hwangbo. Using layers of colored mylar sheets, Hwangbo creates intricate geometric reliefs that have both depth and line. In the piece “Azure Seer” (2004), a grid of squares is meticulously cut from each sheet of mylar.  Sheets with larger squares are at the front. With each sheet the squares get ever so slightly smaller until the farthest sheet has no cutout. This method creates a grid of inverted pyramids. It is very common for Math enthusiasts to cut and fold paper to make 3-D geometric solids. Hwangbo’s process of cutting into the layers to make geometric voids is a fresh approach.


Imi Hwangbo – Azure Seer (2004)
Courtesy of the artist and Pavel Zoubok Gallery

In a more recent work named  “Lens 2” (2013) Hwangbo has layered a series of net-like webs of patterns in hand-colored red and blue sheets. In the pattern there are intersecting blue circles with perpendicular diameters. These diameters run diagonally across the work creating a diamond grid. Then, in red layers there are two different sizes of smaller circles. Looking at a small section you can see the order 4 rotational symmetry around the center of each blue circle.

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Imi Hwangbo – Lens 2 (2013) – DETAIL
Courtesy of the artist and Pavel Zoubok Gallery

Hwangbo has been influenced by ornamentation from religious and spiritual architecture. This inspiration enables her work to transcend the flatness of the mylar and create environments of space, light, and pattern.

Richard Kalina at Lennon Weinberg Inc.

My fascination with MathArt goes beyond art whose direct theme is Mathematics. I am also intrigued by work that is inspired by, or is a reaction to, the systems in Mathematics. Richard Kalina‘s new work falls in this category. Lennon Weinberg Inc  is currently exhibiting his works on paper, as well as collages on linen. Using a  background grid consisting of overlapping rectangles of white paper in  “Nominal Space” (2012) Kalina paints a collection of brightly colored circles. These circles interact through a network of black straight lines that connect them. The lines have one of three possible directions: vertical, horizontal or diagonal, from lower left corner up to upper right corner. Each circle can have one, two, or three connecting lines radiating out from it, creating angles of 45 degrees. 90 degrees, 135 degrees, or 180 degrees. The patterns of connections seem like an homage to the molecular and  geometric models we made in high school.


Richard Kalina – Nominal Space (2012)
Courtesy of the artist and Lennon Weinberg Inc.

For the collage on linen “Neochrome” (2013) Kalina changed the rules with regard to the angles of the connecting lines. There are many more possible angle structures and the circles can have up to six connections. “Neochrome” has the energy of a complex flow chart with many possible routes to connect different elements within the network. Richard Kalina has had a long and esteemed career in the Arts. His work is included in many museum collections including the National Museum of American Art, the Fogg Museum, and the Wadsworth Atheneum. Kalina has also served as a contributing editor for Art in America magazine.


Richard Kalina – Neochrome (2013)
Courtesy of the artist and Lennon Weinberg Inc.