Margaret Kepner

Washington, DC, USA

I enjoy exploring the possibilities for expressing ideas in new ways, primarily visually. I have a background in mathematics, which provides me with a wealth of subject matter. My lifelong interest in art gives me a vocabulary to utilize in my work. I particularly like to combine ideas from seemingly different areas and try to find parallels and relationships. Some years I ago I coined the term “visysuals” to describe what I do, meaning the “visual expression of systems” through attributes such as color, geometric forms, and patterns. Topics that I have explored include: tesselations, symmetry patterns, edge-matching, group theory, dissections, magic squares, modular systems, knots, fractals, and number theory. For the most part, I use inkjet printing to produce my artwork. I have also experimented with screen printing, textile constructions, digital printing on fabric, and book making in order to produce pieces at a larger scale and/or with more physical variety.

Magic Square 25 Study
18" x 18"
Archival inkjet print

Magic squares are numerical arrays that have substructures with constant sums. This design is based on a magic square of order 25, containing the numbers from 0 to 624. Each row, column, and main diagonal sums to the “magic constant” of 7800. The numbers in the magic square are represented by a visual base-5 system: four concentric squares serve as the 1, 5, 25, and 125 places, while shades of grey stand for the numerals 0 to 4. Coding the numbers into their base-5 versions yields a pattern of 625 unique, nested-squares in shades of grey. This particular magic square also has a substructure of 25 mini-squares of size 5. Each of these mini-squares is “magic” (although the numbers are not consecutive), with rows, columns, and diagonals summing to 1560. In addition, certain other groups of 5 squares add up to 1560. Examples are the quincunx and the plus-sign shapes (when fully contained in a mini-square). The colored accents are used to indicate a few of these “magic” substructures.