For the Love of Math

For the Love of Math    (by M of the frenzygals)

I have lately been rather down on math in general as a result of having to do so much accounting and tax paperwork. (Much to the chagrin of several of my Engineer friends.) However, a recent trip to the Akron Art Museum with a friend has caused me to have a change of heart and I can now see the beauty and perfection that math can create.

Escher's Verbum

While I was peripherally familiar with some of M.C. Escher’s work, it wasn’t until I walked into the exhibit hall that I was really confronted with the variety of his skills and the complexities of his dedication to his art. It was my first real experience with tessellations and fractals (and the proper terminology for them) and I must confess I was a bit overwhelmed and awed by his mastery of other complex mathematical concepts as well. I had heard of Mobius strips and forced perspectives, and have had the crystalline structures of nature explained to me by K in her excited geologist’s tone, but I had not been prepared for the seemingly simplistic yet obviously laborious portrayal of their existence evidenced in Escher’s lifelong pursuit of understanding. Also the breadth of his mediums of choice was impressive. Until that day I had absolutely no idea the amount of steps and work involved in creating a lithograph. (Not to mention I didn’t really know what a lithograph really was.)

It was a surprisingly intimate experience to be able to see the evolution of the artist and his skills through the

Escher's Horsemen

display of art he created throughout his life. You could really see the increase in his mastery of the different forms and structures he chose as his subjects as he grew older. His unwavering determination to show the world to us from a new perspective through the marriage of math and art was inspiring. The exhibit was well done with plaques that provided Escher’s own words about his work and the concepts he struggled with. His enthusiasm for what some consider to be “lesser” art forms – illustration and animation – struck a chord with me as I often feel people get told what is art and what is not instead of deciding it for themselves.

Escher's Other World

My favorite part of the exhibit was the feeling with which I left the gallery. I left with a sense that everything comes from and feeds into everything else ad infinitum. Describing and experiencing the universe through math can be rewarding, creative, and surprising. I love having my eyes opened to new possibilities. It is always refreshing in an exceedingly jaded world to discover new things that re-excite you to the mundane wonders surrounding us every day.

I will leave you with a lovely quote I had to write down from one of the plaques:

Escher's Magic Mirror

“If we are going to construct a universe then let it not be some vague abstraction but rather a concrete image of recognizable objects.”

For some great information on the Math of Escher visit this website: http://www.princetonol.com/groups/iad/lessons/middle/tessell.htm

2 Responses to “For the Love of Math”

  1. Résultat loto Says:

    Thanks for sharing that, I will save it Regards

  2. Chad holmes.. Says:

    amusing

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