abstract art, a systems view

Posts Tagged ‘tetractys

Duke Street Tetractys

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I had the idea for this tetractys when I was working at Wallacespace on Duke Street, St Pancras

duke 2

Duke Street Tetractys 2, 2012, Acrylic and Permanent Marker on Board, 11 1/4″ x 11 1/4″

I was clearing away the marker pens after the day’s work when I noted this sequence of colours: yellow + blue = green, complementary = red, adjacent to orange made by adding yellow, complementary = purple. I made a sketch that same day and then during the next few days completed a version in acrylic and marker pen on acrylic paper, currently on display at First Come First Served at The Lion and Lamb Gallery. More recently I painted the version shown above, on board using narrower lines (possibly too narrow).

(The photo has a slight red cast due to the direct sunlight. My fairly good camera has a limitation of having automatic white balance only.)


Continuing to experiment with Ehrenstein and neon colour-spread figures arranged in tetractys

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I continue to be fascinated by neon colour-spread phenomena and subjectively constructed contours….

Multi-colour-spread Tetractys, 2012, permanent marker on paper, 8″x8″

….arranged in tertacys derived patterns. I am slowly starting to understand (practically) what helps and what hinders the formation of the colour-spread effect.

Written by Andy Parkinson

November 30, 2012 at 8:30 am

Split and inverted

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Networked double tetractys…

Distributed Double Tetractys, 2012, permanent marker on paper, 8″x8″

…divided in half vertically, one half inverted and arranged in opposition.


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Drawing: Networked Double Tetractys, permanent marker on paper, 8″ x 8″

Written by Andy Parkinson

November 24, 2012 at 8:30 am

1+2+3+4=10 is beautiful isn’t it?

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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