Tag Archives: Geometry

Broken Symmetries

In this problem students created symmetrical designs based on concentric forms. Introducing the element of line, and allowing for variables of thickness and direction, students sought to establish a tension between the static nature of the initial symmetrical construct and the dynamic variability of the line play. The symmetry of the original design structure allows for rotation, or interchangeability of component elements, introducing new potentialities for increasing complexity. The principle of continuity, or closure, generates new implied shapes, activating the ground as the eye connects the fragmented dark figures. The natural desire of students to control outcomes through drawing and planning eventually gave way to unique and very instinctual responses to the unforeseen visual energies that are produced by the interaction of the elements.

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Filed under Practice, Process

The Geometry of Music

Art is a non-verbal language. Finding precise words to describe non-verbal processes can be challenging. We fall back on metaphors and analogies to help us out sometimes. My analogies often come from music and poetry, where elements like rhythm or crescendo find plausible visual corollaries in the design principles of repetition and emphasis. A painter friend and colleague at the Pennsylvania Academy of Art in Philadelphia, Scott Noel, told me that he puts artistic concepts and techniques to students, and to himself, in terms of food! I also remember him once saying about a painting, “That shape is a real verb in that painting!”

In light of our first week’s experiences in class, and the copious musical analogies of our discussions, I share the following article:

The Geometry of Music, by  Michael D. Lemonick, Time Magazine, 1-06-0 7.

Additional links: Dmitri Tymoczko, musician/composer featured in the article.

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Filed under Theory