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Math ImageryThe connection between mathematics and art goes back thousands of years. Mathematics has been used in the design of Gothic cathedrals, Rose windows, oriental rugs, mosaics and tilings. Geometric forms were fundamental to the cubists and many abstract expressionists, and award-winning sculptors have used topology as the basis for their pieces. Dutch artist M.C. Escher represented infinity, Möbius bands, tessellations, deformations, reflections, Platonic solids, spirals, symmetry, and the hyperbolic plane in his works.

Mathematicians and artists continue to create stunning works in all media and to explore the visualization of mathematics--origami, computer-generated landscapes, tesselations, fractals, anamorphic art, and more.

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Home > 2011 Mathematical Art Exhibition

"Fractal Tree No. 13," by Robert Fathauer (Tesselations Company, Phoenix, AZ)

Digital print, 13" x 16", 2010

"Fractal Tree No. 13" is a black-and-white digital artwork constructed by graphically iterating a photographic building block. Several photographs of a small portion of a palo verde tree were combined and digitally altered to create the building block, which allows smooth joining of smaller copies to larger copies. In addition to being scaled down, the three smaller copies, added with each iteration are rotated by varying angles, and one is reflected as well. A sufficiently large number of iterations were performed so that the image is indistinguishable to the eye from the image that would result after an infinite number of iterations. In this particular tree, the iteration rules result in considerable overlap of the branches, leading to a complex collection of small features reminiscent of pencil marks. The fractal shape of the envelope of these features didn't emerge until approximately one dozen iterations were performed. --- Robert Fathauer (

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