Anna Chupa and Michael Chupa

Associate Professor of Art (Anna) Manager of Research Computing (Michael)
Art, Architecture and Design Dept. (Anna) Library and Technology Services (Michael) Lehigh University (both)
Bethlehem, PA, USA
Tilings is a body of work inspired the architecture and gardens of Córdoba, Granada and Sevilla, incorporating surface detail found in Andalusian architecture and close-up images of plant materials. Details were extracted from backgrounds, montaged into still life compositions and embedded into gireh tiles. The word girih (literally, “knot” in Arabic), was first used by Peter J. Lu to describe a set of five tiles decorated with strapwork lines. Pattern groupings are set into tiles using the strapwork as guides. The five tiles are then arranged in bilaterally symmetric, but nonperiodic, compositions. Theoretically, these patterns could tile infinitely, echoing similar geometries in Islamic tiling to express divine infinity. At close distances, floral forms are visible and distinct, but these dissolve into the broader geometric pattern at more typical viewing distances. Some examples shown employ pattern mismatches that occur when pieces are joined in ways that are symmetry breaking.
Bachelor Buttons, Violets and Stock
34 h x 17 w
Pigment Ink on Yellowstone Arista Cotton
2012
Flowers photographed include violets, violas, bachelor buttons, stock, iris, coneflower buds, houttuynia, laburnum, delphinium and grape hyacinths. These were montaged into five tiles defined by lines or strap work called "girih" which are inspired by Islamic tiling patterns dating back to 1200 C.E. We were inspired by an article written by Peter J. Lu and Paul J. Steinhardt on "Decagonal and Quasi-crystalline Tilings in Medieval Islamic Architecture." Science 315 (2007) 1106-1110 describing a tessellation approach used by medieval artisans to produce "nearly perfect quasi-crystalline Penrose patterns, five centuries before their discovery in the West." We use the girih without imitating any architectural sample by using the tiles as an underlying structure for a floral montage.
Hydrangea, Ginseng and Gooseneck Loosestrife
36h x 16w
Pigment Ink on Arista Yellowstone Cotton
2012
Flowers and plants photographed include hydrangea, gooseneck loosestrife, ferns, buddleia, ginseng, balloon flower, Queen Anne’s lace, ageratum, alyssum and Echinacea. These were montaged into five tiles defined by lines or strap work called "girih" which are inspired by Islamic tiling patterns dating back to 1200 C.E. We were inspired by an article written by Peter J. Lu and Paul J. Steinhardt on "Decagonal and Quasi-crystalline Tilings in Medieval Islamic Architecture." Science 315 (2007) 1106-1110 describing a tessellation approach used by medieval artisans to produce "nearly perfect quasi-crystalline Penrose patterns, five centuries before their discovery in the West." We use the girih without imitating any architectural sample by using the tiles as an underlying structure for a floral montage.
Lobelia, Bachelor Buttons, Roses, Yarrow and Grape Hyacinth
36h x 16w
Pigment Ink on Arista Yellowstone Cotton
2012
Flowers and plants photographed include hydrangea, alyssum, lobelia, dascia, bleeding hearts, grape hyacinth, hellebore, gooseneck loosestrife, bachelor button, rose, snapdragon, nigella, yarrow and hydrangea. These were montaged into five tiles defined by lines or strap work called "girih" which are inspired by Islamic tiling patterns dating back to 1200 C.E. We were inspired by an article written by Peter J. Lu and Paul J. Steinhardt on "Decagonal and Quasi-crystalline Tilings in Medieval Islamic Architecture." Science 315 (2007) 1106-1110 describing a tessellation approach used by medieval artisans to produce "nearly perfect quasi-crystalline Penrose patterns, five centuries before their discovery in the West." We use the girih without imitating any architectural sample by using the tiles as an underlying structure for a floral montage.