Week 2: “Opposites” Attract- Math and Art Working as One by Leslie Grant


This week’s lecture stimulated my thought process on many issues, one of them being the potential that math has to enhance artists’ works and perceptions. I was fascinated by M.C Escher’s ability to use perfect mathematical precision in his use of repetitive shapes and figures in artwork, and thought that it must be impossible to accomplish such a task. As I further contemplated this feat I made a surprising realization- I too had done the same thing for an art project that I completed during middle school. Obviously I most likely had more discrepancies in my measurements than Escher did, but I still managed to create a stencil of a creature that would be symmetrical and fit into itself when traced on paper, a sort of puzzle piece for itself. The task seemed daunting at the time, and still seems like it would be extremely difficult to attempt again from scratch. The fact that this project, which was perfected by an artistic and mathematical genius, was clearly proven to be doable by a group of seventh grade students six years ago, proves that anyone is capable of creating their own forms of art, even if they feel that they are not naturally adept at the task they have set out to accomplish, even if they are having difficulty initially grasping the idea that inspires their work, or even if the art that they are attempting to recreate is based on a concept that is unorthodox. Originally I planned to incorporate one of Escher’s symmetrical drawings to illustrate this concept, but upon searching and finding this modern 3D lego rendition of one of his most famous sketches, I figured that the ingenuity of it captured the idea even better. 



This project shows just how much can be done when imagination is put to use.

This project shows just how much can be done when imagination is put to use.



On that note, I lead into my theories on the fourth dimension and how they have affected the world of art. Linda Henderson’s article, “The Fourth Dimension and Non-Euclidean Geometry in Modern Art,” presents an interesting history of its introduction into society, and there is one statement in particular which I find to be extremely important and worth pondering, and which I would like to expand on. Henderson states that “like non-Euclidean geometry, the fourth dimension was primarily a symbol of liberation for artists.” It is interesting to think of the fourth dimension as a novel idea which artists were, at one time, just beginning to consider and explore. I feel like this sums up the entire concept of art. I see art not only being able to look upon something tangible and depict it with feeling, but also as having the ability to imagine something in a way that no one else does and effectively portray your personal visualizations and ideas to the outside world through a creative outlet of some sort. Interestingly enough, I have always seen Salvador Dali as a prime example of one who felt comfortable expressing abstract visualizations on canvas, and it was merely his thought process which brought to life some of his more famous paintings. It is only upon doing more recent research, at this site in particular (http://www.philipcoppens.com/dali.html), that I discovered that it was not Dali’s mind alone that inspired these images, but that hallucinogenic drugs had a great deal to do with it. One of my more recent displays of naivete, I suppose. I suppose my point, before I got sidetracked with this interesting tidbit of information which depicts Dali as somewhat playing into the stereotype of artists, is that I feel that if everyone contemplated this all-encompassing definition of art it would be more clear to some why technological advancements can fit into the category of artwork.

Solely based on the previous ideas and theories that have been floating around since what seems to be the beginning of time, I am quite curious to see what theories about the fourth and fifth dimensions will surface as time and research continue. I am certain it will be a topic of interest for quite some time, and am glad that I will be around to see what unfolds.


Leslie Grant

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