Teachers Lesson Plans

Seeing Math in Art

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How does each artist form his/her image?

Both Gathie Falk and Kazuo Nakamura use a conceptual approach to art-making. Both also work in series.

In this work, Gathie Falk focuses on the contemporary theme of urban life within the city. Falk evolved this subject into a series. She began by systematically photographing the garden one frame at a time, later transforming the photographs into paintings. The crosswalk signs, picket fence, and flowers, help to remind us that we are in the city. By using translucent pigment, mixed generously with medium and applied freely to the canvas, Falk suggests an illusory, slightly dreamy space that has a poetic tone.

Nakamura's work is also poetic but in a different way. This purely mathematical work is generated by means of conceptual rules and systems. It presents in grid form an endless number of correlations and repeating patterns painstakingly executed by hand. The geometric order and deep blue colour, gives the work a sense of inner peace that adds to the poetic mediation on the mathematical structure of the universe.

From a mathematical point, it is interesting to note that Falk's border extends the painting's theme and indicates a difference between the inside and the outside. The image is formed within and includes a border with a smaller percentage inside than out. Nakamura, on the other hand, includes a geometric form that has no ending (fractal) and is not constrained by a border, but has been controlled and cut off by the artist to fit the canvas.