“We live in a universe of patterns.
…The human mind and culture have developed a formal system of thought for recognizing, classifying and exploiting patterns. We call it mathematics.”
Ian Stewart in “Nature’s Numbers”
Numbers are the notes of the cosmic symphony writ large.
They reveal what we can see and, most importantly, what we can’t. As Ian Stewart notes: “Nature’s patterns are not just there to be admired. They are vital clues to the rules that govern natural processes.”
Numbers form the foundation of mathematics and the backbone of all our scientific inquiries, as well as a basis for interpreting many of our daily encounters. Numbers codify what we see and feel: the temperatures we experience, the speed with which travel from our home to grocery, the distance we walk or the elevation we climb on a hike in the wilderness.
In essence, some see the world as fundamentally nouns, the important objects like earth, water, sun, air and people like you and me. Others prefer to think that verbs, more than nouns, underlie our reality. The relationships between nouns more adequately describes the activities and meaning of our lives.
In mathematics, the numbers serve the purpose of nouns and the equations the verbs. Only together do they form an accurate assessment of reality. More importantly, only together can mathematics predict and anticipate new relationships, hidden, unseen relationships between “nouns.”
This facet of numbers and their connection to our understanding of the universe and our lives within it drives one aspect of my art – to somehow link the assemblage of numbers and their geometric patterns into a larger, more aesthetic whole.
This craving to capture the essence of reality in numbers and geometry has led me in a few directions (still exploratory and not yet wholly satisfactory). One is to think about my paintings as a means of abstracting the cardinal numbers so that the numbers themselves become geometric or aesthetic objects, sometimes just in themselves or in the shapes they form in juxtaposition, while at other times, combining into something larger than themselves.
Thinking about numbers as a means by which scientists test, interpret and predict relationships has led me to see yet other of my paintings as experiments in revealing the hidden or, conversely, hiding the obvious. In one painting, for instance, the instructions for executing the painting are an essential element in the painting itself. In other paintings, I attempt to hint at higher physical dimensionalities than the four dimensions we populate and the trinity of spaces that some of my canvases are often divided into. By accepting the canvas as a world in its own right and by suggesting that beneath that outer surface other surfaces and worlds exist, I acknowledge current scientific theory that postulates that we live in a 10- or 11-dimensional universe, where higher dimensions are compacted and thus invisible to us.
In my series titled “Color of Geometry,” I attempt to share my fascination with biological and cosmic shapes and emphasize patterns are geometric and aesthetic entities, again in their own right. As Ian Stewart writes, “Mathematical shapes can always be reduced to numbers.”
In my abstract paintings, much like a musician, I use color and form as my notes, but rarely to write a song, but rather as a jazz ensemble. It’s the interplay of notes, not meaning that is essential.
The paintings I share with you here represent some of the outcomes of these considerations, such as “Numbers Count,” “Color of Geometry,” or “Hidden Worlds.” Within these themes, I explore those concepts in visual rather than mathematical terms.