Teachers Lesson Plans

Seeing Math in Art

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How does each artist approach sculpture?

Implicit in both these works is the important role of the viewer, as he/she walks around the sculptures and perceives the different sculptural elements. Both works are also made of new industrial materials.

Delavalle's work is characterized by an extreme formal economy. It is a plain geometric form made of an industrial material that has been treated to give it a bright clean look. It is stark, elegant, human in scale and free- standing. The unified structure can be understood at a glance. The work has a restricted colour range - black - and a deliberate lack of expressive content; meaning that there does not seem to be a personal narrative.

Saxe's large-scale work stresses the dialogue that takes place between the sculpture and the viewer. To experience this work, the viewer must walk around it. Saxe is interested in perception, and the process of creation. Choosing an instrument of geometry - the carpenter's square - as his model, Saxe imitates the square in the application of a standard, the right angle. The focus on the square illustrates not only the application of geometry - in this case the triangle - in a sculptural vocabulary, but also the instrument of assemblage. By overlaying shaped pieces of steel that show facets of the right angle, Saxe challenges the viewer to move around the work to experience it fully.

From a mathematical perspective, the Saxe piece largely focuses on layers of two dimensions, even the screened area focuses on the two dimensional. By contrast Delavalle`s sculpture focuses on the three-dimensional.