‘Unusual Geometries’ blends math and art at OSU Museum of Art
Tuesday, October 17, 2023
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Get ready to explore the visual side of math in “Unusual Geometries,” Oklahoma State University Museum of Art’s newest exhibition.
Running from Oct. 17 to Dec. 16, 2023, “Unusual Geometries” invites guests to rediscover the hidden beauty and playfulness found within the world of geometry.
“The full breadth of geometry encompasses everything from the shape of coral to the behavior of fractals and tells us not just how to measure objects and their spatial relationships, but how to view them,” said Dr. Jay Schweig, department head and associate professor of mathematics.
Schweig, in partnership with fellow OSU faculty including Drs. Henry Segerman, David J. Wright and Lisa Mantini, contributed artworks exploring such topics as geometry, fractals, optical illusions, hyperbolic planes, stereographic projections and more.
Complimenting the faculty’s artistic research are works from the museum’s collection.
“Blending art from the museum's collection with projects from mathematics professors and their students provides an interesting opportunity to experience the many dimensions of artistic expression,” said Vicky Berry, director of OSUMA.
Brightly colored paper strips fold and intertwine in origami structures by Mantini. A man’s profile spins around a central axis, translating a two-dimensional shape into three-dimensional form in Renato Giuseppe Bertelli’s “Profilo continuo di Mussolini” (Continuous Profile of Mussolini). This work inspired Segerman’s students to experiment with positive and negative space, modeling and 3D printing. Mesmerizing circles expand and repeat in never-ending patterns in Wright’s explorations into the work of Felix Klein. Crocheted frills twist and curl into a hyperbolic plane, a concept modeled after mathematician Daina Taimina’s creations.
Viewing math in such a way offers the intellectually curious opportunities to strengthen observational skills and foster creative problem-solving.
“Coming at a problem from different perspectives can often be helpful,” said Segerman, associate professor. “It might be a rare mathematical problem that benefits from an artistic perspective, and a rare artistic problem that benefits from a mathematical perspective. However, if you do know about both fields then you might be able to spot the crossovers that do exist. … If you know about other, apparently distant fields, more possibilities are open to you.”
Guests are invited to continue their cross-curricular curiosity in the artLAB by learning basic origami techniques and contributing a paper cube to a growing community art installation. ArtLAB activities are drop-in and available throughout the exhibition run.
“Unusual Geometries” is on view Oct. 17–Dec. 16, 2023, at the OSU Museum of Art in downtown Stillwater. A reception will be held from 5–7 p.m. on Nov. 8. Learn more at https://museum.okstate.edu/art/unusual-geometries.html.