Sunday, July 3, 2016

Week 1: Math + Art

       This topic makes me think of how the seemingly unrelated arts: patterns, paintings, music, etc., are linked to math in beautiful ways. As we always hear people say, art comes from life and goes beyond it. Art is used to depict and illustrate people’s receptions and imaginations of nature and life. Meanwhile, the purpose of math on earth is just to explain the myths of nature. In this sense, math and art stemmed from the same origin.

       In math, it is always intriguing to talk about dimensionality. The more dimensionality, the more difficult it is to understand the underlying logic of math. Yet before we noticed, these ideas are beautifully transformed into arts. The origami artist Robert J. Lang plays a between the two and three dimensions, bring the flat surface to pieces of lively art projects. Only by understanding the dimensions so well as an expert could he made his works from uncut papers, which is indeed impressive.

One uncut square of duo Origamido paper

       In contrast to making three dimensions out of two dimensions, the art form of painting sometimes tries to put the three dimensional world on the two dimensional surface. Every starter in drawing is constantly reminded to “not violate the laws of physics,” such as the nearer objects appear to be larger, and the law of perspective, etc. In the article “Vanishing Points and Looking at Art,” Marc Frantz showed how these simple rules are sophisticatedly explained by math, which is quite fun to know about. Another interesting fact I want to mention is about the famous painter Pablo Picasso. He is famous for his “unreadable” style, that objects look distorted in his paintings. And some people said that it was because that Picasso could actually saw the fourth dimension—time. Although sounding impossible, but I actually find such guess plausible. 

The Weeping Woman - Pablo Picasso

       Another resource from this week, the hyperbolic crochet discovered by Daina Taimina, reminded  me of a Ted talk I saw before, in which the Figurer Margaret Wertheim talked about the art project she started—crocheting a coral reef and how this project was integrated with math and other fields of science. She refers to science as the “think tank” and what she was proposing as the “play tank,” which is a way to incorporate arts into science. Just like what we talked about before, the “play tank” is also a beautiful expression of the “third culture.”

TED Talk: The beautiful math of coral - Margaret Wertheim


Lang, Robert J. Perching Cardinal, Opus 689. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web.

Frantz, Marc. "Vanishing Points and Looking at Art." N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. pag. Web. 

Picasso, Pablo. The Weeping Woman. Digital image. Top 10 Most Famous Pablo Picasso Paintings
     and Artwork. N.p., n.d. Web. <

"Daina Taimina." Crochet Coral Reef. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 July 2016.

TEDEducation. "The Beautiful Math of Coral - Margaret Wertheim." YouTube. YouTube, 24 Nov.
     2012. Web. 03 July 2016. <>.

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