Geometry and Art

I’ve written before about the relationship between mathematics and art.

Here is a great article from the New York Times on an art showing at the Museum of Modern Art. The artist is Dorothea Rockburne and the title of the exhibit is “Drawing Which Makes Itself.” Below is an image from the article and a few interesting quotes.

Spend an afternoon dipping in and out of galleries on the Lower East Side, and you are likely to encounter many examples of geometric abstraction — much of it offhand and whimsical. But if you want to see the work of an artist who cares deeply about geometry, pay a visit to Dorothea Rockburne’s austere, bracing exhibition of drawings at the Museum of Modern Art. The difference is instructive.

Ms. Rockburne, 81, studied with the German mathematician Max Dehn at Black Mountain College in North Carolina in the early 1950s. He taught her “mathematics for artists,” with an emphasis on forms found in nature; ideas from group theory, topology and non-Euclidean geometry drive her art, as do ratios like the Golden Mean, that staple of Renaissance art and architecture that used to determine pleasing proportioning within an artwork.

The best of this show, though, is the set of early drawings: the ones that “make themselves,” with a little help from an artist who understands that all art, abstract or not, boils down to geometry.

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One thought on “Geometry and Art

  1. Cheri Fields December 21, 2013 / 3:00 PM

    Interesting art pieces and love the concept. I’ve always been much fonder of organic flowing shapes than pure geometry, but even there rules based on geometrical principles are key. Without symmetry, rhythm, and proportion, you’re left with nothing but a confusing muddle.

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