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.
"Autumn Moths from a Hike in the Hills," by Frank A. Farris, Santa Clara University, CA
Digital print on aluminum, 20" x 20", 2016
The big surprise about wallpaper patterns is that there are exactly 17 types. After making many examples of each type, I still return to the type of this pattern as a favorite; it’s called p31m. Notice the three-fold rotational symmetry, but also the alternation of mirror symmetry with three-way pinwheels. For me, this gives a beautiful balance of sameness and variation. It’s symmetric, yet organic. I took the source photograph on an autumn day, hiking in the golden hills above San Jose, CA. This piece shows that interesting patterns can arise from photographs with rather limited color palettes. --- Frank A. Farris