Q. What does mathematics have to do with art? (Hint – the illustration below offers quite a few clues).
A. A whole lot,
actually. Mathematics has long been defined as “Art, motivated by
Beauty”; moreover, “Maths” (as the Brits call it) and the Arts have been
interwoven almost since the beginning of recorded history. Think of
Pythagoras, DaVinci, M.C. Escher, or 21st Century architect Frank Gehry,
to name four out of thousands of artists through the ages whose work
has been informed and inspired by mathematics. In fact, none other than
renowned philosopher/mathematician Bertrand Russell said: “Mathematics,
rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty”. In our
present hyper-digital era, “Maths” is everywhere in the arts - even in
unsuspected places like the movies (think CGI-intensive films like
“Pete’s Dragon”, or the “Harry Potter” and “Star Wars” sagas). And the
number of artists who utilize higher mathematics – often without
realizing it – is growing every day, as more and more people discover
the incredible power of computer-generated imagery.
with that introduction, your MIT Club of Maine is proud to invite you
to join us on September 15th and meet our next guest lecturer, Dr. Frank Farris,
of Santa Clara (CA) University. He has invented a brand-new way to
create dazzling symmetrical images using waveforms. Below, he describes
what he does and what he’ll tell us. (Incidentally, he has promised that
he will emphasize the artistic, rather than the computational, parts of
the process – so as not to unnerve those of us whose math skills are
well, rusty ... Or worse)
the always-intriguing intersection of mathematics and art, Frank Farris
introduces the mathematics of symmetry and how to create mind-blowing
symmetrical images using his new waveform technique. He came up with
this concept by rejecting the traditional wisdom that “wallpaper*”
patterns must be built up from blocks - a sort of potato-stamp method.
Instead, he created patterns from continuous waves. In today’s talk, Dr.
Farris will describe the role of complex numbers in his wallpaper
method and will touch on other topics in symmetry, from color-reversing
patterns to polyhedral and hyperbolic symmetry. He’ll show us how wave
functions can draw on photographic images to create beautifully
symmetrical patterns. His main focus will be on art, but in the
background you’ll be able to glimpse such mathematical topics as group
theory, functional analysis, and partial differential equations.” *Some
So please join us for a
delicious pub luncheon at 12:00 noon on Thursday, 15 September 2016, at
Joshua’s Tavern, 123 Maine Street, Brunswick ME. We’ll enjoy good
victuals and conversation, and then have a peek “behind the veil” of a
fascinating new technique for making fine art. Y’all come!
11:30 a.m. – cash bar and social
12:00 p.m. – Lunch
12:45 p.m. – program starts
02:00 p.m. – program ends
NOTE: As a prelude to our lunch meeting, a gallery show of Dr. Farris’ art will open on September 12, 2016 at Bowdoin College,
as part of the Symmetry Works! Initiative, a multi-phase project at the
College. Similar exhibitions of his work have also appeared at Cornell
University, Carleton College, the University of Minnesota, and Pomona
College. He is the author of Creating Symmetry, The Artful Mathematics of Wallpaper Patterns, from Princeton University Press.
Driving Directions to Joshua’s Tavern, 123 Maine Street, Brunswick, ME 04011
Take I-295 to Brunswick, exit onto Pleasant Street (US
Rte.1). Continue straight on Pleasant St. to Maine Street; turn left.
Joshua’s Tavern is about two blocks down Maine Street, on the right and
just before Center Street. Look for the blue awning. Diagonal on-street
parking is available in front of the Tavern and in municipal parking
lots behind it, accessible via Center Street.