Art and Math and da Vinci – Day 28

[Today’s featured artwork for Day 28 of the 365 Days Project is by Martha Hall.]

Colorful quilted wall art by Martha Hall
“Little Peace In 2 4 U” by Martha Hall. Photo courtesy ©Martha Hall.

Artists aren’t supposed to be good in math.

#28 – Many Artists have a natural aptitude for math.

I love math and have always been good at it. So if you listen to the myth circulating about artists and their supposed lack of aptitude in math, I shouldn’t be an artist. Neither should Leonardo da Vinci.

Granted, math is a function of the left brain and linear thinking. But I always saw the creative side of math so it also appealed to my artistic brain. Plus I was fortunate to have an excellent math teacher in school who inspired me. But any artist who has worked with perspective, the golden ratio, fractals in nature and many forms of sculpture has an ability to think in mathematical terms – and geometry in particular.

Leonardo Da Vinci used mathematically-inspired proportion including the golden ratio. Ada K. Dietz developed a method for generating weaving patterns based on algebraic patterns. M.C. Escher explored hyperbolic geometry. Charles O. Perry created mathematically-inspired sculpture. Studies on the paintings of Jackson Pollock reveal the same fractals found in nature.

Maybe it’s an innate ability. Or perhaps some artists didn’t have a great math teacher or they just weren’t interested in it. I am super-organized in business and I’m an excellent planner. But once I’m in the studio, I never plan what I’ going to create until I have to consider sculptural logistics. There is beauty in both math and art and I am fortunate to be able to embrace both in my work.

“Science and art sometimes can touch one another, like two pieces of the jigsaw puzzle which is our human life, and that contact may be made across the borderline between the two respective domains.”
M.C. Escher

“The mathematician’s best work is art, a high perfect art, as daring as the most secret dreams of imagination, clear and limpid. Mathematical genius and artistic genius touch one another.”
Gosta Mittag-Leffler

“Dreams are what guide us, art is what defines us, math is what makes it all possible, and love is what lights our way.”
Mike Norton

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Quilt with 13 moons by Martha Hall
“Thirteen Moons” by Martha Hall. Photo courtesy ©Martha Hall.

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The 365 Days Project

In 2012, Serena Kovalosky committed to writing an article a day for 365 days as an exploration into the lives of artists and the value of creative thinking in our society.

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Descriptions of the images included in this post:

Little Peace In 2 4 U
Martha Hall, New Jersey, USA

Thirteen Moons
Martha Hall, New Jersey, USA

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