“Art and math may at first seem to be very differing things,” notes Natasha Glydon of the University of Regina. “But people who enjoy math tend to look for mathematics in art. They want to see the patterns and angles and lines of perspective. This is why artists like M.C. Escher appeal to mathematicians so much. There is a large amount of math involved in art, not to mention basic things like measuring and lines, but the intricacies of art can often be described using math.”
According to the American Mathematical Society, “the connection between mathematics and art goes back thousands of years.” Today, with the help of computers, mathematicians and artists are entwining their skills to take things to a whole new level.
“In art, mathematics is not always visible, unless you are looking for it. But there is much symmetry, geometry, and measurement involved in creating beautiful art. As well, many artists take advantage of mathematical findings, such as the golden ratio to make their artwork realistic and beautiful. Angles and perspective can also be described using math. Perhaps math and art are quite intricately linked,” Glydon says.
Below is a selection of inspiring works by mathematical artists and artist mathematicians that showcase the aesthetic side of math.
- The Mathematical Art Galleries Web site is the online home of the mathematical art exhibits from the annual Bridges Conference and Joint Mathematics Meetings (JMM).
- The Virtual Math Museum’s Mathematical Art Gallery is designed to show how beautiful mathematical objects can be, and also to present artists who use mathematical ideas as subject matter, inspiration or both.
- “Newton Biomorphs: Mind Toys,” by Daniel Ashlock, University of Guelph, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, features a demonstration of mathematical objects that remind the viewer of a living organism.
- SnowArt: A book by Simon Beck showcases artworks the orienteering expert creates by walking in the snow wearing raquettes (snowshoes).
- Mathematical Concepts Illustrated by Hamid Naderi Yeganeh features four galleries of mathematical figures created by the Iranian mathematical artist.
- Mathematical Art by Henry Segerman features 3D printed sculptures created by the mathematician, an assistant professor at Oklahoma State University.
- “Surface detail: A myriad of details in an evolving fractal landscape” is a 3:10-minute video that is part of a 34-video collection created by Tom Beddard to showcase digitally rendered three-dimensional models that he calls Fabergé Fractals.
- The aim of the Hevea Project is to provide an implementation of the Convex Integration Theory in order to visualize isometric embeddings of flat tori in three-dimensional Euclidean space.
- Domino Artwork: The Mathematical Art of Robert Bosch highlights his use of mathematical optimization techniques to create visual artwork (domino mosaics, flexible Truchet-tile mosaics, map-colored mosaics, TSP Art, simple-closed-curve sculptures, loops, and labyrinths).
- An algorithmic taxonomy of fractals contains a classification of fractals by the algorithms that generate them.
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