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March's First Thursday Art Walk: Art ∩ Math

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The energy was high at Pioneer Square’s First Thursday Art Walk. A diverse array of smiling, brightly dressed members of the Seattle community, including students, artists, mathematicians, engineers, and architects, crowded through the CoCA door, eager to attend the opening night of CoCA’s new exhibit, Art ∩ Math (Art intersect Math). 

This exhibit, created and curated by Kate Vrijmoet, Katherine Cook, and Dr. Dan Finkel, is a thoughtful, interdisciplinary collaboration featuring works from 17 artists and mathematicians. Art ∩ Math seeks to explore the intersections of these two traditionally antithetical subjects and prompts conversation centering around topics of sameness, shape, form, function, and more, asking viewers to consider and share how an understanding of one field (art or math) illuminates the other. 

The exhibit revolves around four central themes: equivalence; geometry and topology; algorithms, iteration, and chaos; and networks and graph theory. Each theme is displayed on one side of a pillar at the center of the gallery, and color-coded lines connect the themes to their corresponding artworks. This serves as a jumping-off point for experiencing the exhibit.

Eavesdropping on attendees’ conversations proves that Art ∩ Math is powerful. Casey Curran, a kinetic artist who attended the event, comments, “When you look at [Yellow Quintessence and Response], they just seem like abstract paintings, but then knowing that they came from a very regimented system… they have to be constructed in this way, and these rules create these colors and shapes... That kind of abstraction is really fascinating.”

Chris Graesser, architect, who also visited CoCA during the Art Walk says, “I think it’s sort of fascinating that you can approach the intersection of mathematics and art through so many kinds of mediums. Anything from origami to 3D printing… It’s also interesting that the artists are not necessarily making the things themselves. Take [Folds I-IV], the artist isn’t really making this, because the machine is making it. It’s being generated by an algorithm that the artist has made. There’s a separation between the artist’s hand and the actual making… there’s a lack of immediacy.”

June Sekiguchi’s piece, Collapsed Geometry, is featured in the show and she shared the inspiration and process behind her work, “My father was a mathematician, but I didn’t absorb his sense, you know, the mathematics part. So my piece is about taking the material and collapsing it. It’s also metaphorical for my collapsed sense of mathematical understanding”. 

She also echoes the importance of curators Katherine Cook and Dr. Dan Finkel’s mission, by noting, “I had watched Dan’s TED talk, and when he was talking about math education, I was like ‘oh yeah’, use math like a language, and teach math in a way that is understandable to people, instead of this kind of abstract disconnect… I feel honored that they saw my work and included it”.

Art ∩ Math will be featured at CoCA through April 14, 2018. We invite you to join us for several other events:

Sound Bathhttp://cocaseattle.org/exhibitions/2018/3/18/sound-bath

The Beauty of Math Pi Day Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/178585679535021/

Two opportunities to experience Katherine Cook’s “Necessary and Sufficient” Dance Performances: https://www.facebook.com/events/178585679535021/

Gathering for Gardner: https://www.facebook.com/events/217385755505573/

For more information on the exhibit, please visit: 
http://cocaseattle.org/exhibitions/artandmath

In this perspective-expanding and enjoyable talk, Dan Finkel invites us to approach learning and teaching math with courage, curiosity, and a sense of play. Dan Finkel wants everyone to have fun with math. 

Earlier Event: November 8
CoCA Legacy Auction Photos