Geometric Cabinet at Kristen Lorello Gallery

The “Geometric Cabinet” at Kristen Lorello Gallery  is an exhibition based on an instructional tool used in Montessori early childhood education to teach geometry. This tool consists of 6 puzzle-like drawers with removable trapezoids, triangles, quatrefoils, and other shapes. The children learn about the shapes by running their fingers along the edges of the shapes, as well as the process of fitting the shapes into the corresponding cutout frame. Two of these drawers are laid out on mats on the floor of the gallery. Kristen Lorello has curated this exhibition by selection work that relate to these geometric shapes and the prescribed educational activities.


Drawer from a Montessori “Geometric Cabinet”
Picture courtesy of Kristen Lorello

The work of eight artists has been included included in this show. There is a kinetic, rotating, circular stone-like wall sculpture by Rachel Higgins that reminds the viewer of the tactile experience of a young student running their fingers along the curved sides of the circular shape taken from the cabinet. Michael DeLucia has provided a direct response to the quatrefoil shaped piece with his drawing “Quatrefoil” .


Michael DeLucia, “Quatrefoil”, 2016, ink on paper
Picture courtesy of Gallery 11r

“Quatrefoil” features a 2-dimensional depiction of four tire-like tori. A torus is a 3-dimensional topological form that has genus one. This means it has only one hole, like a bagel. The tori have been drawn in perspective so that front single torus is larger and in the foreground. There is a pair of tori in the middle ground and the smallest torus in the background.

Through this work De Lucia has not only referenced the basic geometry of the flat cabinet shape but he elevated the quatrefoil to a complex form. The structure of each torus has been expressed by drawing a series of circles rotating in 3-dimensional space around a circular axis. Adding the tire tread element to the shapes gives the form a textural quality that take the drawing out of the realm of text book figures.

The exhibit Geometric Cabinet has one of the most interesting curatorial premises I have encountered. The history and principles of Mathematics education are a fertile ground for creative interpretation and Kristen Lorello has presented a thought provoking selection and installation to explore these ideas.

Susan Happersett

Topologist’s Pool Toy

We have been having a hot and humid week in NYC so it was probably not the most well advised plan to go traipsing around the Lower East Side. I was thinking to myself what am I doing here in the midday sun walking from gallery to gallery and then… I saw this amazing sculpture that just seemed to scream Mathematics in the Summer time.

This inflated vinyl hanging form”Squirm” is the work of Doreen McCarthy and is part of the group show titled “Object’hood” at the Lesley Heller Workspace. This sculpture has the materiality of a classic tube used for floating around in a pool on a steamy afternoon. Topologically we think of the traditional pool toy as being a donut-like torus, but this baby blue version is a knot instead. It is a 3D interpretation of a trefoil knot, Which is a basic overhand knot with the ends joined together. I found “Squirm” to be a refreshing topographical Summer treat.
15-30-2Susan Happersett

Richard Sarson: Math Artist

On my quest to find more MathArt I am always looking for clues. The cover of the January 2014 issue of Wallpaper magazine features a beautiful black line drawing . At first I thought the photograph showed a sculpture, but upon closer inspection I discovered that it was, in  fact, hand drawn with a compass by Richard Sarson. An award winning British artist and designer, Sarson has had his work featured in many publications, including the New York Times, Seed Magazine, Creative Review, and Eye. Sarson has exhibited extensively in Britain, including a recent show at Somerset House.
Sarson’s meticulous use of the compass creates the optical illusion of what – at first glance – resembles a tangle of three dimensional wire tori. Sarson created a video in 2010  titled “Circle” that shows his process creating a single torus drawing. A torus is the mathematical term for a doughnut-like surface. In topology, a Torus has genus 1 because there is only one hole.
In 2008, Sarson did a series of drawings he calls “Graph”. For these works he drew directly on millimeter grid graph paper. This technique allows the viewer a clear look at the Mathematical backbone of these drawings.
This drawing uses circles in descending order of the lengths of the diameters, starting with 80 mm, down to 70 mm, 60 mm, 50 mm, and finally 40 mm. This is an interesting twist on shifting concentric circles. The largest outer circles have a diameter  twice the size of the smallest inner circles.
Not all of his drawings are based on circles. In this next drawing Sarson used a straight lines  to create a sort of hypnotic drawing, working within the grid. Using 17 evenly spaced points 5mm apart horizontally along the top of the drawing and 17 evenly spaced points 10 mm apart 80 mm below the first line of points. The center points in each of the 2 rows of points line up along the vertical grid line. With this point structure in place, each point on the top row connects with every point in the bottom row. This creates an interesting study in the density of lines and shifts in the diamond patterns from the top 40 mm of the figure and the bottom 80 mm.
Richard Sarson uses Mathematics to build the framework for his drawings and then, painstakingly, brings his drawings to life. I must commend him for only using the most basic tools and executing all of his drawings completely by hand.