Stephen Andrews at The Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto

The Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto is currently exhibiting a large solo exhibition called “Stephen Andrews POV” in their Contemporary gallery. Stephen Andrews is known for his photographs, videos, and paintings that address difficult societal issues, using both representational and abstract formats. A recent (2014-2015) series of paintings titled the “Butterfly effect” is Andrews’ expression of the Chaos Theory. Using a defined set of restrictions the artist explores the multitude of outcomes.

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“Butterfly Effect”

Each work in the series consists of a white canvas with six rectangles that are identical except for color. Two of the rectangles are red two, are blue, and two are yellow. Each of the primary colors has equal representation. The oil paint has been applied using mylar sheets to ensure the integrity of the rectangles. It is the placement of the rectangles that changes with each painting. There are an infinite amount of possible outcomes. Andrews is interested in the accumulation of colors that eventually make black. The areas where all three colors overlap become black rectangles. These black rectangles appear in different locations on each canvas. At first these painting look random but upon closer inspection you realize they all share the same geometric elements, there is consistency in the chaos.
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Stephen Andrews has expressed his ideas about the chaos he sees in our troubled world by using the ideas of the mathematical Chaos Theory  to create abstract geometric paintings.

Susan Happersett

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Chaos at the Metropolitan Museum

In between observations on math art in Manhattan galleries and beyond, a quick shout-out for my own art work. Two of my collaborations with Purgatory Pie Press are now for sale at the new “Paper Project” gallery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (back of the lobby on the left side when you come in through the main entrance).

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Box of Chaos is a series of 4 paper sculptures based on Chaos Theory.

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The “Happersett Accordion” is a modified, folded Moebius Strip

Off the Wall in Chelsea

I discovered a very interesting trend at the Chelsea galleries this week. I found three different exhibitions where an artist presented drawings, paintings, or sculptures, but also built an installation work that protrudes off of a gallery wall.

Robert Curry at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery

Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery  had a collection of Robert Currie’s perspex cases with monofilament line 3-D drawings.

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9,772 inches of Black and Red Monofilament (2013)
Picture courtesy of the artist and the gallery

In the sculpture “9,772 Inches of Black and Red Monofilament”,  Currie uses a series of threads hand-strung in grids to form angled wedges of red and black that intersect at the center, forming an area of at what – at first – looks like disorder. Upon closer inspection the consistency of the patterns becomes clear. This work has a number of mathematical connections: The careful measurement of the monofilament is a defining factor in the title for this work. Currie uses a series of grid patterns to thread the work. There are intricate geometric shapes created within the cases. The finally mathematical connection is his allusion to Chaos Theory, where there is underlying order in what at first appears to be disorder.

At the entrance and in the hall of the gallery, Currie has installed a site-specific thread drawing based on the architecture of the room “12 miles 1647 yards of Black Filament”. This work explores the gallery space using repetitive straight lines.

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12 miles 1647 yards of Black Filament
Picture courtesy of the artist and the gallery

Mark Hagen at Marlborough Chelsey Gallery

At the Marlborough Chelsea Gallery, Mark Hagen has created an aluminum and stainless steel space frame installation named “To Be Titled Ramada Chelsea #3”,  that climbs in front of his “To Be Titled Gradient Painting #35”. This geometric construction features cube formations meeting at star formations formed by 12 line segments radiating out from a central point.

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“To Be Titled Ramada Chelsea #3″in front of “To Be Titled Gradient Painting #35”
Picture courtesy of the artist and the gallery

Ryan Roa at Robert Miller Gallery

The Robert Miller Gallery is presenting a group show titled “Six Features”.  One of the artists, Ryan Roa, is exhibiting drawings that relate to fractions and geometry. In the same room he has created site-responsive installation that create a sense of movement within the space.

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Site-specific installation
Picture courtesy of the artist and the gallery

In his drawing “12X12 series #01”,  Roa has drawn a multitude of equal line segments radiating out from two opposite corners of the square, creating two equal quarter circles that overlap along the diagonal.

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12X12 series #01
Picture courtesy of the artist and the gallery

In “12X12 series #02”, the artist uses the same technique of drawing equal line segments, but in this case they radiate out from the two left corners of the squares. The circles overlap to form a pointed dome shape.  The right square is not completely filled in with lines: it  retains the curves of the circle segments.

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12X12 series #02
Picture courtesy of the artist and the gallery

It is fascinating to me how Roa has been able to create two drawings with such different proportion shapes and energy using basically the same technique by only changing one parameter.

It is amazing that within the course of an afternoon walking only a few blocks I was able visit three installations of Mathematical constructions by artists with very different practices and techniques. By expanding their formats off the gallery walls, each artist has created an exciting space to engage with the measures, proportions, and geometries that make up their work.

Susan Happersett