In the painterly world of Michael Schultheis, there is an inherent link between Abstract Expressionism and ancient Greek geometry. The path that Schultheis explores leads to a unique space where art and math meet; a place that examines and links both classical and contemporary concepts.
Using a conceptual and visual language, Schultheis renders his ideas in layers of acrylic paint, utilizing math from antiquity to explore geometric models of the emotional and physical world. Through his process we are prompted to think about the world in a different way and appreciate the interconnectedness of everything within the experience of life.
In The Gardens of Archimedes, Schultheis explores the geometry of Greek mathematician Archimedes of Syracuse (c 287-212 B.C.) and transposes his ideas into a symbolic and visual language. These representative models are developed in each painting the same way the artist might tend a garden – thoughtfully and systematically.
For example, Archimedes employed a mathematical technique to approximate the ratio of pi (π), along with a method to calculate the length of arcs. Schultheis uses these equations in his work (the arc specifically) to try and understand basic human experiences such as the circular rhythm of breath and heartbeat and the historical [and romantic] concept of finding one’s “other half,” or soul mate.
Schultheis pays homage to the Hellenistic period in which Archimedes lived by utilizing the classical antiquity colors of ochre, vermillion and lapis lazuli. Schultheis also refers to the works in The Garden of Archimedes as the “Circle of Life Paintings” not only due to the subject matter, but also because of the rich verdant palette.
"Michael Schultheis has an academic background in mathematics and economics, and certainly not in art. Art was carelessly tossed in the artist’s mind when he was but a student, when he would observe geometric forms unfolding on the chalkboard of his professor. A seed was planted in his mind; a unique bond was so created. The artist renders his ideas in layers of acrylic paint, exploiting mathematical formulas and geometric forms to explore unseen relationship between math and the human experience. Through this process, Schultheis prompts us to reflect about the world that surrounds us, and see whatever we want to see: a child would see a butterfly or a flower in a geometric form on a painting, yet an adult would see something else." Read Full Essay →
Davide Di Prossimo