Purgatory Pie Press
Mathematical Meditations in Beacon, New York
Math at the E/AB Fair
This week there are numerous art fairs in NYC that emphasize prints and artist’s books. I am participating in the E/AB fair with the letterpress publisher Purgatory Pie Press. We are exhibiting the first of series of three prints based on my Fibonacci Spiral drawings.
Using an algorithmic process of folding and tearing double-sided prints, we have made an edition of a book called “Galactic Collision, Fibonacci Spiral”. This book breaks up the spiral patterns into small segments of the curves.
Bernard Chauveau Editeur brought some very interesting work from Paris including “Mineral Skin”, a limited edition cut and folded paper sculpture by Arik Levy.
“Mineral Skin” is a single sheet of paper that has been cut and folded to create a surface of pentagons and hexagons.
At the Wingatestudio booth Sebastian Black’s large scale accordion books are on display .
“Period Piece, Simple Sequence” is a series of two sets of counting books. The first starts with one randomly placed black square on the first page. Each subsequent page has one more square, up to ten squares. The second set begins at eleven square marks and continues up to twenty.
There is a very diverse collection of work at the E/AB fair and I was quite pleased to find some work with mathematical themes.
Rotational Printing by Dikko Faust at Purgatory Pie Press
Dikko Faust has been making prints using rectangular sections of grids and other geometric line patterns. By shifting the grids across the plane he has created a series of overlapping prints. Recently he has added a new twist to his process. Faust has invented a new printing tool that allows him to rotate the rectangle around a central axis point.
(A quick note about printers’ measurements: In the print studio distances are measured in picas and points. One inch is equivalent to 6 picas and 1 pica is equivalent to 12 points.)
To measure the rotation of the rectangle, Faust uses a straight edge to form a line from the bottom corner of the rectangle that is perpendicular to the horizontal bottom edge of his press, and then measures how far from the center point to the horizontal line. The initial measurement for a straight up and down rectangle would be 12 picas from the center (the rectangle is 4″x 6″ or 24 by 36 pica).
Faust has been experimenting with what happens to different patterns throughout the rotation process
To better explore the relationship between the grids,Faust has made series of two-color prints. He has selected only the prints that are the most visually interesting. Making consecutive prints with the number of ratio of pica differences to correlate with the Fibonacci Sequence is one technique.
The day I was in the studio, Dikko was working with a pattern he had created using airline (1/2 point) rules. He used parallel lines: there is 1 point of space between the first two lines, 2 points between the 2nd and 3rd line, then 3 points between the 3rd and 4th….. up to 6 points of space between the 6th and 7th line. Then the whole pattern repeats 12 times.
While I was at the printing studio Faust was making a single print with multiple rotational images. I took pictures throughout the process.
This is an early stage of the process: it has the original line print plus a 5 pt and 10 pt rotation clockwise and a 5pt and a 10pt rotation counter clockwise.
This is the finished print. There are 5pt, 10 pt, 15 pt, 20 pt, and 25 pt rotations in both the clockwise and counter clockwise directions. The process that Faust has developed to create these new prints is very algorithmic. It requires a commitment to experimentation trying different patterns and rotations. The outcomes are then judged on their aesthetic merit determining which prints are to be completed works of art.
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).
Select Fair in NYC this week
This is another big week for Art Fairs in New York. I will be at the Select Fair in Chelsea, New York with Purgatory Pie Press. It will run from Wednesday night through Sunday. If you are in the area stop by for a visit and see some new work. I will be showing some of my Mathematical Marking Drawings, Fibonacci Flowers, Spirals and Trees. Dikko Faust’s Tessellation prints will be on display, as well as his newest work (the ink is still wet) with Mathematical Moiré patterns. This is an exciting new process Faust has developed using rotating grids. It should be an exciting week!
Math meets Art at the EA/B Fair in NYC
This weekend at the Editions/Artist’s Books Fair Purgatory Pie Press will be exhibiting limited edition letterpress artist’s books featuring my mathematical drawings. I have been collaborating with Purgatory Pie Press for fifteen years and we have published numerous Mathematically themed artworks.
“Box of Growth” is a set of five small accordion books. Each features a series of my counted marking drawings based on different growth patterns created using the Fibonacci Sequence.
Another topic we have explored is Cantor Set. “Infinity Remove” has two sides; one with self-similar gridded marking drawings, the reverse had famous quotes about Infinity.
“Fibonacci Flower” shows the development of a Mathematically generated flower using the Fibonacci Sequence.
Our most recent project is “Box of Chaos” is a series of four paper sculptures with my fractal chaos drawings.
The EA/B Fair is free and open to the public this Friday (November 7, 2014) to Sunday at 540 West 21st Street NYC.
Dikko Faust – Tesselations
Dikko Faust is the printer and co-owner of Purgatory Pie Press, a letter press publishing company in Tribeca, Manhattan that he runs together with Esther K. Smith. Faust also teaches a course on Non-Western Art History at the City University of NY. It was his experience in looking at Non-Western patterning that has lead to his recent series of prints called Tesselations. The prints are made by hand setting bits of lead to create the pattern, using only red and black ink. Each patterned print has its own set of distinct symmetries. Today, I will discuss two prints from the series.
The first one is “Tesselation 4 -Nessonis 1: Pyrassos”. Printed on the back of the card is the following descriptive text: “A serving suggestion for a Middle Neolithic stamp seal design found in three sites in Northern Greece”:
I see this print as a fragment of a wallpaper symmetry, because the repetition in the pattern is based on the symmetries between the shapes. The white figures with the black outlines that resemble a $ or an S and the 8 red squares around them have order 2 rotational symmetry. If you rotate the figure 180 degrees, you have the same figure again. Each of the $ or s shapes has glide reflection symmetry with the upside down $ or S in the rows above and beneath it. In a glide reflection symmetry we see the mirror image of the original shape, but then it is glided or moved along the plane (in this case, along the paper).
The second print is “Tesselation 6- Magnified Basketweave”. The text on the back of the print states “aka Monk’s Cloth or Roman Square Quilt As seen on NYC sewer covers”:
This print is a great example of reflection symmetry. It has two lines of symmetry: one horizontal though the center, and one vertical through the center. Another interesting mathematical feature of this print is the similarity between the larger sets of black or red bars and the smaller sets. Two figures are similar if they have the same shape and are only different in size. Both the large set of bars and the small set of bars form two sides of a square: all squares are similar. The inner rectangle of larger bars measure 5 sets by 7 sets. It requires a rectangle of 11 sets by 15 sets of the smaller squares of bars to frame the large rectangle. There is a border with the width of one small square, so after subtracting 1 set from each dimension, we have the inner rectangle of 5 by 7 surrounded by a 10 by 14 rectangle of smaller sets of bars. The ratio of the dimensions of the larger to the smaller is 2:1.
Faust has made a whole series of these striking Tesselation prints. He has been inspired by what he has encountered teaching art history, and what he sees all around him looking at art, and in the case of Tesselation 6, the streets of New York City. The mathematics in these prints go beyond the patterns themselves and connect the viewer with distant times and cultures, and links us all in a visual aesthetic.
– Susan Happersett