Math, Art, Transfiguration

I’ve written before about mathematics and beauty, and the relationship between mathematics and music. There is a deep connection between mathematics and the arts (even when being used as an educational analogy). I am always suspect of a student who tells me that they aren’t a math person (a phrase which I detest by the way…as if you have an excuse to under-perform in  math because of your genes) but then I see them sketch a great piece of art or excel in band or on the dance team. Somewhere along the way they were misinformed that math and art are separate categories – one emphasizing logic and rigor and the other emphasizing creativity and personal expression. Any mathematician worth his weight in protractors can tell you that a great deal of creativity and personal expression is needed to be successful in mathematics.

Now I believe I have come across an artist who truly sees the benefits of mathematics. As a bonus, his work is also a very real expression of his Christian faith. It doesn’t get much better than that in my book.

Transfiguration by Douglas Peden

From Douglas Peden’s Site:

I think of my paintings as visual music – tone poems that make use of mathematical, compositional, and other aesthetic relationships to call forth both intellectual and emotional responses. I enjoy that my art is inspired by such disciplines as music, literature, philosophy, mathematics, and the sciences, and the belief that the most enduring art encompasses all life. Indeed, if my painting style need be categorized in a historical context, it could be seen as an extension of Geometric Abstraction to Abstract Expressionism.

His description of the above painting, Transfiguration:

Though my painting “Transfiguration” grew out of a specific event, I feel it has many levels of meaning which touch our shared human experience. It is basically a painting of hope and faith. The specific event in question is the pain and horror of my wife’s cancer and the hope of a joyful conclusion, whether it be in the beauty of bodily healing or the painless union with God. In any event, I saw it as a transfiguration through human suffering and understanding… Again, let me stress that this is but one interpretation out of many – such as the pain, death, and resurrection of Christ or a personal experience of pain and understanding. It is my hope that others will see more, different, or deeper meanings. It was simply my intent to express the best I could, given my “all too human” limitations, the power and the poetry of our human faith and spirit regardless of our individual religious beliefs.



3 thoughts on “Math, Art, Transfiguration

  1. ordinaryesotericist September 17, 2011 / 3:39 PM

    The link between mathematics and art (or aesthetic beauty) is something I’m very interested in. From the symmetry we see in the natural world to the seemingly chaotic array of stars in the night sky. I really enjoyed your post!

  2. Douglas (Doug) Peden September 22, 2011 / 10:09 AM

    Thank you for your mention and support of my work and painting, Transfiguration. Education is certainly a key ingredient in the importance of Art, Math, and Science. And, in that light, are you acquainted with another new heroic attempt at enlightenment ? I am referring to MoMath:
    Perhaps, in some form, working together might be beneficial; in any case, knowledge of eachother is necessary. Thanks again and good luck?
    P.S. I have a paper, Wave Space Art with Science, to be published by the international journal LEONARDO coming out next year.

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