mathematics and art

Dan Brown in his book, The Da Vinci Code, talks about the "divine proportion" as having a "fundamental role in nature". Brown's ideas are not completely without foundation, as the proportion crops up in the mathematics used to describe the formation of natural structures like snail's shells and plants, and even in Alan Turing's work on animal coats. But Dan Brown does not talk about mathematics, he talks about a number. What is so special about this number?

How does a computer understand the colours to be displayed on the monitor's screen? It's all about red, green and blue and numbers written in a special way.

Heather MacKinlay's work as an engineer has taken her from the civility of Surrey to the wild west of Australian mining towns and multibillion pound projects in the Algerian desert. And along the way she has also become a successful painter. Heather tells Plus that engineering and painting are just different ways of looking at the world, and how her work as a cost engineer is all about understanding the big picture.

This article is based on a talk I gave at the recent John Cage exhibition in the Kettles Yard gallery in Cambridge. Cage is perhaps best known for his avant-garde music, particularly his silent 1952 composition 4′33″ but also for his use of randomness in aleatory music. But Cage also used randomness in his art.

Mathematical language can heighten the imagery of a poem, and mathematical structure can deepen its effect. This lovely blog by JoAnne Growney lets you feast on an international menu of poems made rich by maths.

SCIENAR, a European project to stimulate and develop links between science and art, has just produced a new DVD exploring three emblematic scenarios where science and art intersect. Looking at three historical ages, antiquity, the renaissance and modern times, the DVD explores a range of topics, from ancient geometry to perspective in renaissance art, as well as relativity and chaos theory.

If you're an artist who's inspired by maths and science, here's a chance to exhibit your work. Through its annual open exhibition opportunities, Orleans House Gallery in London helps artists both locally and nationally to showcase their work in group exhibitions. Each year, over 500 individual artists exhibit work in a range of open exhibitions across three galleries in London: Orleans and Stables Galleries, Twickenham and the Riverside Gallery in Richmond.

Fractals are a treat for your eyes, but what about your ears? Dmitry Kormann, a composer/keyboardist from São Paulo, Brazil, explains how he integrates fractal-like patterns in the very structure of his music, to obtain beautiful results.

Our sister site NRICH is celebrating the connections between maths and art with a special issue containing hands-on activities, challenges and articles to get your creative juices flowing

An unconventional perspective on an art show
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