Art+Mathematics – Sharol Nau at Landmark Center, Saint Paul, MN

This week a guest blog entry by Sharol Nau. Her show “Art+Mathematics” is on through April 22, 2018 at the Landmark Center (North Gallery), 75 Fifth Street West, Saint Paul, MN. 

On June 7, 1742, Christian Goldbach wrote a letter to Leonhard Euler, suggesting that any even number greater than 4 is expressible as the sum of two odd primes. Goldbach’s conjecture has served as a springboard, providing me with inspiration for a series of artworks. The patterns produced that were inspired by this simple statement are tiled patterns with an even number of tiles that are partitioned into two sets. Each set consists of a prime number of tiles. My goal was to construct interesting artworks using traditional and non-traditional materials.

Square arrangement: The canvas is partitioned into an even number of squares distinguished by a design based on two primes that sum to that even number.

Tapioca, 48″ x 48″ (Square Arrangement)

Scattered arrangement: The distribution of triangles is separated into several groups, offering several smaller shapes similar in color or texture relating to their designated prime.

Goldbach White, 36″ x 48″ (scattered arrangement using the even number 32 = 19+13)

Tight arrangement: The distribution of triangles is separated into only two shapes.

Goldbach Orange, 10″ x 8″ (tight arrangement using the even number 32 = 19+13)


Sharol Nau



Math Art in Finland

Last week the Bridges organization held their annual conference in Jyväskylä, Finland. This international conference features lectures and workshops that highlight the connections between mathematics, music, art, architecture, education and culture. My favorite part of the five day event is the art exhibition. This year there was a wide range of styles, techniques and mediums on display. it is difficult to select only a few for this blog but I will try.


Sharol Nau

Sharol Nau repurposes unwanted hard cover books to create sculptures that contain parabolas. A parabola is a curve with reflective symmetry, in which each point on the curve is the same distance from a fixed focus point and a fixed line. The artist  carefully measures and folds each page to the common focus point. The resulting portable sculpture preserves the exterior shape of the book but creates a new visual story for the interior.



Nithikul Nimkulrat – “Black & White Striped Knots” – Knotted paper – 2015

Nithikul Nimkulrat hand-knots sculptures using paper string. Inspired by mathematical knot diagrams, the artist employs two colors of string to better indicate the positions of each stand within the knot structures.”Black & White Striped Knots”examines properties of knotted textiles.


Nithikul Nimkulrat – “Black & White Striped Knots” – Knotted paper – 2015 (Detail)

Looking closely at the work, the circular patterns emerge. Overlapping circles cross to form four equal arcs. This creates a series of monotone circles with the arcs of adjacent circles forming a pattern with order-4 rotational symmetry. Nimkulrat’s intricate structure is a wonderful exploration of the mathematical possibilities in textile and fiber art.

Susan Happersett