“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.
The Select Art Fair in NYC last week had an emphasis on Performance and Installation Art. I was not sure I would find any work with Mathematical elements besides my own work and the Tessellation prints of Dikko Faust. After the smoke cleared, and I mean that literally – an installation piece featuring mating bigfoot mannequins used a smoke machine during the busiest hours of the show – I was able to find some Math Art. The Transmitter Gallery exhibited the work of Gilbert Hsiao in their booth. I was particularly impressed with The sculpture “Headstone Friends”.
“Headstone Friends” from 2015 is a cylindrical column made up of a stack of vinyl records. The circular discs are all parallel with a uniform sliver of space between each record. There is a smaller solid column steel and concrete column running up through the center of the sculpture. The most amazing aspect of this work is the way the light shines through the records at the viewers sight line. Only when the viewer looks straight between the discs is the light between the vinyl visible. Here is a video
demonstrating how the light moves up and down with the sightline.
“Headstone Friends” is an interesting use of circular discs to create a column but it is also about how the viewer’s line of vision behaves like a vector. Hsiao enables the viewer to take an active role in the mathematics.