The 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.
"Heighway Dragon Tiling," by Larry Riddle (Agnes Scott College, Decatur, GA)
25 x 25 cm, back stitch embroidery on 18 count canvas, 2012
The Heighway Dragon fractal was introduced to mathematicians by Martin Gardner in his Mathematical Games column of Scientific American. One of the amazing properties of the dragon is that despite its boundary being extremely non-smooth, four copies of the dragon fit exactly together around a central point. This back stitch design illustrates that mathematical idea by showing 4 copies of 12 iterations in the construction of the dragon via line segments, each rotated in succession by 90° around the center. The entire image can then be repeated to tile the plane. What might not be obvious from the design is that each dragon can be traced starting at the center point as one continuous alternating sequence of vertical and horizontal stitches. More information. --- Larry Riddle