Phil Webster

Phil Webster Design
Scotts Valley, California, USA

All of my work stems from one core impulse: to celebrate the inherent beauty of mathematical forms. These forms appear all around us—in trees and crystals, in dunes and flowers, in ancient temples and modern skyscrapers. Rather than directly depict these outer manifestations, I explore the abstract forms underlying it all—polyhedra, fractals, tessellations, lattices. There is something sacred in the creation and viewing of these forms that allows me to meditate on the infinite patterns present in the deep structure of our world.

Since traveling to India in 2012, I have been particularly focused on blending traditional Islamic motifs with polyhedra and fractals. The results are distinctly Islamic in flavor but with a modern twist.

Screened Icosahedral Lamp
18 x 18 x 18 cm
3D printed plaster composite

The geometry of this piece is formed by applying a traditional, hexagonal-repeat Islamic pattern to the faces of a regular icosahedron. The 6-fold rotational centers of the original pattern that land in the centers of the faces remain intact, while those that land at the vertices "lose" 1/6 to become 5-fold. the piece was inspired by the stone screens I saw in the forts and palaces of Rajasthan province in India, and tries to evoke the complexity and mystery of those places. This particular sculpture takes advantage of full-color 3D printing and utilizes a two-toned color scheme. The piece is lit from the bottom using a triple LED puck light, causing it to cast bold, intricate shadows across all nearby surfaces.

50 x 50 cm
Digital print on aluminum

Starbirth is part of my ongoing Fractal Islamic Patterns series, and is based on the work described in my Bridges 2013 paper. It prominently features the ten-fold rosette commonly found in art and architecture throughout the Islamic world. Using techniques I've developed, this motif is carefully scaled and laced together to form a infinite fractal pattern. Gradual shading from yellow through deep purple gives the piece an appearance of back lighting, drawing viewers into the center. The overall impression is of an outwardly expanding explosion, or an inwardly contracting tunnel, depending on the viewer and angle. The first interpretation is what inspired the title.

Islamic Fractal Starflower
38 x 38 cm
Laser cut acrylic, light blue

In 2013 I exhibited at Bridges two black laser cut pieces entitled Islamic Fractal Star and Flower. This work synthesizes the two forms into one, carrying the fractal recursion of an eight-fold Islamic pattern to both the inside and the outside of a central ring of eight rosettes. To the inside the pattern recurses in neat rings towards the center, while on the outside it evolves into a complex fractal curve.