abstract art, a systems view

Posts Tagged ‘sequence

1+2+3+4=10 is beautiful isn’t it?

with 2 comments

I don’t know why I find the simple sequence 1+2+3+4=10 beautiful, I just do. It doesn’t have to be ordered in a hierarchy for me to find it so, in fact I think I prefer it not to be, though a lot has been made of it presented in this way, just google tetractys and look at all the images. There are some wonderful paintings and constructions by Natalie Dower exploring the series non-hiererchically arranged. I think it is only when the sequence is arranged as in the diagram that we call it a tetractys (though I could be wrong about that).

Apparantly Pythagoras gave it mystical meaning and it has significance in the Kabbalah too (see this website for more information about these mystical associations).

It gets used in this hierarchical fashion in poetry too, in relation to the number and pattern of syllables. Sharmistha Basu explains:

The poetry form, Tetractys, consists of at least 5 lines of 1, 2, 3, 4, 10 syllables (total of 20). Tetractys can be written with more than one verse, but must follow suit with an inverted syllable count. Tetractys can also be reversed and written 10, 4, 3, 2, 1. These two combined together, that is 1,2,3,4,10,10,4,3,2,1 is called double tetractys, it can be further extended to triple or more.

and offers some good examples at window2mysoul.


Written by Andy Parkinson

August 25, 2012 at 7:30 am

Natalie Dower: Constructive Line of Enquiry

with 4 comments

I wish I had seen the Natalie Dower exhibition Line of Enquiry at the Eagle Gallery in May. I became interested in her work after seeing the wonderful Fast track Through 44 points, at Lion & Lamb Gallery in June.

Well, I did the next best thing and bought a copy of the book that accompanied the show, published by EMH Arts London, 2012, with a preface by Mel Gooding and a text by Alan Fowler. I am enjoying it a lot.

Here’s a link to a summary with images at Abstract Critical, where in comments Alan Fowler says:

I find it fascinating that Dower – together with, among others, Jeffrey Steele, Peter Lowe and Gillian Wise – continue to carry into the 21st century an approach to abstraction which was prefigured 100 years ago by Kandinsky when he wrote in 1912 that he foresaw a time when the relationship between elements in a painting could “be expressed in mathematical form”, and concluded that “the time was approaching “when the painter would be proud to declare his work constructive

I also found this interesting podcast of an interview with Dower in relation to her paintings/constructions in the Government Art Collection. She comments on her artistic background, the notion of systems art, the Fibonacci sequence and the Dudeney Dissection. (It becomes clear that the interviewer is herself an artist, but I don’t know who it is.)