About my art
This piece was originally written for a poster on my art work (shown below). It had to be shortened, partly as a poster can only have so much text and partly as the font was my own design, so I had to typeset by hand. This took a long time!
My art work comes directly from my mathematics research, in fact it is hard for me to see a clear line where one starts and the other finishes. My mathematical work is therefore very visual, playing off the intuition I gain from the aesthetic considerations in pictures. However, aesthetics should not be seen as something foreign to mathematics. In fact you will often hear mathematicians refer to work as `beautiful’ or `ugly’. In a subject where results can see practical use years after they were proved, aesthetics and taste are essential tools. In fact, even when an area of mathematics does have applications, the reason people choose to study it is often its beauty, rather than its practical use.
The problem with mathematical beauty is that it can be well hidden. The language of mathematics requires years of study, almost initiation, to use with any fluency. Perhaps music gives a good analogy. Imagine trying to appreciate the genius of J S Bach purely from his written music. This would require the ability to read music, but also an understanding of the structure of the musical scale, fugues and canons. In listening, these requirements disappear and one can simply be swept up in the music. Visual images can play the same role for mathematics, revealing its beauty.
The importance of revealing the beauty of mathematics (and science in general) is the power of inspiration. Inspiration, far more than practical applications, has the power to bring people to the subject with the willingness to put effort into learning the more difficult technical details. In my work I attempt to reveal this beauty, without equations or formulae, and thus inspire people into learning more about mathematics and science.
Yes I agree, more emphasis should be made on the aesthetic aspects of math.
Pingback: Responsibility of Mathematicians « Maxwell’s Demon