Vandorn Hinnant at the New York Hall of Science

I am so happy Vandorn Hinnant sent me an invitation to his current solo exhibition “The Hidden Mathematics: a surprising connection between Math and Art” at The New York Hall of Science. This was my first visit to the Hall of Science located in a stunning 1964 World’s Fair building in Corona Queens NY. I had wanted to see the museum’s permanent “Mathematica” display for a long time but it was an amazing discovery to find out about their art galleries. What a great place to see Math Art!
Hinnart’s artistic practice is a perfect example of the visualization of meta-mathematics. Interested in exploring mathematical geometric as complete systems, his drawings achieve detail and accuracy relying only on the construction rules of Euclidean geometry using a straight edge and a compass.
Inspiration for these drawings and paintings come from numerous mathematical sources including the Fibonacci numbers, the Golden Mean and fractals.
“Navigator’s Song” from 1995 features both horizontal and vertical lines of symmetry as well as isosceles triangle forms.
“Aromatic Vortex in Red & White” from 2012 depicts a rotating series of equilateral triangles to build a spiral, referencing the Padovan sequence.
Hinnant credits the work of numerous historical figures in the development of his decades long creative process including Pythagoras and Buckminster Fuller.
Susan Happersett

More From The Bridges Conference 2015 in Baltimore


The use of computer generated drawing processes and inkjet printers is a popular means  of expression at the Bridges conference. Some of the more interesting examples on display were created by David Chappell. The artist builds a system of rules to generate graceful line drawings that are mathematically to related plant growth through space and time. The lines begin from a rooted position at the horizontal bottom of the picture plane and playful grow up into reaching tendrils. In order to achieve this lyrical organic quality (not an easy feat using mathematical algorithm computer generation) Chappell modifies the rules throughout the process. This extra attention allows the drawings to change and develop in a more free-form manner.


David Chappell -untitled – 2014
33 x 40 cm – Archival Inkjet Print
Picture courtesy of the artist and the Bridges Conference

Another means of creating computer assisted art is the use of laser cutting. In his work “Islamic Fractal Starflower”, Pill Webster has cut a lace-like pattern into a clear light blue acrylic sheet. The mathematics behind this pattern is a combination of two geometric themes: the symmetry in Islamic patterns and the recursive properties of fractals. This combination requires some heavy weight mathematics, but Webster’s choice of materials transforms  the complex theories into an ethereal presence. It has the appearance of being built from delicate and complex ice crystal. The juxtaposition between the serious mathematical generation and delicate physicality of the work create an interesting tension.


Phil Webster – Islamic Fractal Starflower – 2014
38 x 38 cm – Laser cut acrylic, light blue
Picture courtesy of the artist and the Bridges Conference

Nathaniel Friedman is one of my favorite artists for two reasons. First, he creates wonderful sculptures and prints and second because he is a very supportive of other artists. As the founder of the organization ISAMA – The International Society of Art, Mathematics and Architecture, he contacted me years ago to speak at one of the first Math Art conferences. This was my introduction into a whole community of other artists and mathematicians devoted to the aesthetics of Mathematics. I will be eternally grateful to Nat.


Nathaniel Friedman – Triple Twist Mobius – 2014
29 x 29 x 7 cm – Aluminum
Picture courtesy of the artist and the Bridges Conference

But back to the sculpture…. “Triple Twist Mobius” consists of three equal-sized aluminum bars each with a single twist. They are joined to form a triangle shape. The clean lines and the simplicity of the form are deceiving, this is a powerful shape. The 2-D photo does not do it justice. In the gallery each vantage point offers a different geometry, it  seems to change depending on where your stand. This act of looking at something from different perspectives is referred to as hyperseeing  (a concept Friedman taught me, Thank You!)

Susan Happersett