Likening the canvas to a chalkboard, I create paintings consisting of layers of mathematical notations and drawings that describe the form and motion of three-dimensional geometric shapes. Using this layering precess, I explore form, content and the narrative that develops between them on the canvas. I am interested in interpreting what happens in the human mind at the intimate and profound moment when analytical ideas render and how we draw them in perpetuity.
There is an Ellsworth Kelly sculpture titles Curve XXIV (1981) installed at the Seattle Art Museum's Olympic Sculpture Park. Calculating the tangent and curvature of this leaf shape led me to the ancient literature on Conics and it became my muse.
During the Hellensitic Age, Apollonius of Perga (262 - 190 BC), also known as the Great Geometer, wrote a famous treatise on Conic Sections that revolutionized the way we see geometry - especially the parabola, the ellipse and the hyperbola.
Conic comes from the Greek word for cone, konos, and a pinecone demonstrates the same geometric patterning discovered by Apollonius. While exploring these ideas in my work, I discovered by Apollonius. While exploring these ideas in my work, I discovered that Ellsworth Kelly sculpture exhibits the perfect scale of a pinecone.
In Conics of Apollonius, my process took me on a journey which proved essential for discovering the biomorphic and mathematic relationships between a sculpture, a field of geometry, and a botanical form.
I was immediately taken by the elegance of these marks; gestures that were sometimes partially erased, indicating that there was much to discover. Moments later, I was immersed in Michael’s world of math, physics, and history, and discovered his passion for these critical elements of his work that are the driving force behind the success of his paintings. Michael’s artistic contribution has many parts, but perhaps the most notable is this: Michael convinces us that there is beauty in mathematics. This is perhaps one definition of a true artistic voice— he believes in the beauty of mathematics, and he convinces me to join him. Read Full Essay →
Jess Van Nostrand, Assistant Director
Museum of Modern Art