Robert A. Chaffer

Professor Emeritus of Mathematics
Department of Mathematics, Central Michigan University
Mount Pleasant, Michigan, USA
My art work is a result of experiments which combine elements of color, form, and texture to produce an aesthetically interesting whole. I have concentrated on the use of mathematical and computer processes for the creation and manipulation of these elements. Iterative processes have been central to this work. My process is very organic and experimental, using primarily global transformations of the major elements rather than local editing. Surprisingly, this method can produce complex and interesting detail in color, form, and texture. I am particularly interested in iteration, both in the traditional sense of mathematics and computer science and in a broader sense of multi-generation stages of development. Many of my projects employ multiple iterated function systems and their associated orbital pictures and fixed points. I am most pleased when I get an interesting outcome having a lot of associated stories of how mathematical ideas contributed during it’s creation.
MacDuff's Shield
12" x 15"
Giclee print on watercolor smooth paper
2007
MacDuff's Shield depicts the shield and spirit of the character MacDuff in Shakespeare's play, "Macbeth." The shield is constructed from two superimposed copies of a texture taken from a Julia set and styled for this purpose. This composite was then laid upon a surface of revolution to complete the shield. The ethereal veil in which the shield floats presents the idea that MacDuff is "not of woman born." This veil was created by orbit-trapping in the interior of the Mandelbrot set.