In my first experiment deriving art directly from geometry I was thinking about artistic language very formally and hit on an idea of using geometry to structure and meter an experiment to generate a particular visual dynamic. Central to this dynamic was the problem of, how to describe spherical or ovoid form on a two-dimensional surface. This problem was of great significance to many artist in the past including Michelangelo and Cezanne and was a key force in the evolution of their painted and drawn languages.
When I was younger I would think about visual composition very formally. For instance: How does the force of gravity effect the visible structure of nature and does this relate to the visual balance of an abstract image with no symbolic reference to an up or down? Today, I’ve become lazy and find it less troublesome to just rely on my intuition when making art!
I liken the geometric metering system I use to the structural conventions evolved and adhered to in musical composition. These conventions limit, define and order an abstract sound world into musical language. As with some musical language my visual language is shaped by the concerns of harmony, dynamics, rhythm, lyricism and counterpoint. I find music, and musical terminology an invaluable resource in describing my work and in finding tangible ideas for invention within geometric art.
Plato described geometry as the purest philosophical language. Our own experience of using geometry may also indicate that it is a powerful tool for exploring abstract thought. The type of simple geometry I employ is like a very primitive language, and can be learnt and articulated intuitively. We can find on many occasions when exploring geometry that we known certain relationships exist before we can produce the drawings or maths to prove it.
Pythagoras discovered the connection between musical harmonics and mathematics and it was universally believed until that time that there was no connection between the science of nature and numbers. Mathematics in ancient Greek times was a purely philosophical discipline. In fact it was also Pythagoras who was also believed to have invented the term philosophy. Mathematics today seems to creep into just about all subjects including art.
Because the form of geometry I use is so elementary, the relationships and ideas it can express are also elementary. I feel geometry can give form to concepts that do not readily have a powerful translation in words. This does not mean that geometry is a more powerful language than words. Just that working with and simply looking at geometry can extend our range and mode of thinking.
The most basic building blocks I use are the square and circle. From these elements the relationship of the square root of two to one can easily be derived in many ways. My first website was called Root2art, because this relationship was so woven into my work’s DNA. The resulting geometry was elaborated in search of a strong visual motif in accordance with a visual grammar. A grammar determined by geometric simplicity and homogenous interconnectedness with the initial study.
The rudimentary beginnings of this work were developed in the mid 90s with a compass and rule. Motifs were developed out of simple geometric relationships, these being a diagrammatic expression of what I found pure and exciting within the geometry itself. These early investigations have no mathematical value and little artistic merit. Yet through years of trial and error and a stubborn adherence to this means of creating art I formed the foundation of the artwork I continue to develop today.