Artist/Professor of Mathematics
Oberlin, Ohio, USA
I am fascinated by constraints. As a mathematical optimizer, I know that in some cases, if I impose additional constraints on an optimization problem, it will become much more difficult to solve, but in other cases, it will become considerably easier. Some constraints seem to be structured in such a way that in their presence algorithms have trouble working their way to the best part of the feasible region, whereas other constraints provide the equivalent of handholds and toeholds that form an easily traversed path to an optimal solution. As an artist, I am similarly mindful of constraints. I am inspired by the words of Igor Stravinsky: "The more constraints one imposes, the more one frees one's self of the chains that shackle the spirit.
The Jordan Curve Theorem
15 x 45 cm
The Jordan Curve Theorem states that when a simple closed curve is drawn in the plane, it will cut the plane into two regions: the part lies inside the curve (here, the slightly darker-colored inset piece of wood), and the part that lies outside it (here, the slightly brighter and thicker frame).