Blog Post 7

I think about material and my making process a lot. I decided to leave my studies in mathematics to pursue art largely because for me math was lacking a physical element.  I did ceramics as a hobby for many years, but I was finding that the more hours that I spent thinking about abstract math, the more I wanted to make physical objects.  In this way, I was craving knowledge through physicality and making, which Tisseron talks about. I also found, that around the same time I decided to leave the math world, many of the mathematical concepts that I was studying entered into my work.  It was as if I was so fed up with the purely theoretical nature of the math I was studying, I needed physical proof to back it up.  It is around this time that I made the Klein bottles that I posted earlier.  I also really resonated with the Barrett reading because I suddenly found myself dealing with mathematical concepts in the art world.  This is still something that I grapple with in my work.  In math, the rules and logic are agreed upon and are absolute, and I am constantly trying to negotiate how those rules fit into the context of art.  I also liked the examples that Barrett gave of how following an artistic line of inquiry could lead to new and different knowledge and discoveries as seen in the blogging as art.  I do not presume that I will discover some new mathematical truth through my work, but my practice feels like a way for me to understand math concepts that I am familiar with in a different way.

I have also been thinking about materiality a lot in my work lately.  My most recent body of work has revolved around making physical representations of math functions.  Inherent in this endeavor is that no material will allow for the “perfection” that is found in the theoretical function. Even by using computer programs to design the work, and CNC machines to help make it, I end up confronting material constraints all the time.  I am interested in what is lost and gained by transforming these theoretical functions into wood, clay, foam, and plaster. Right now, much of this lies in the agency of the materials.  I could not help but feel like the wood I was using was fighting back when I left with many splinters and scraped knuckles.  Perhaps by turning these functions into materials, I am attempting to give them their own agency in the world.

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