Karen Amanda Harris

Intercultural Communications Trainer; Language Development Tutor
University of the Arts London
London, UK

Mathematics, for me, is a spiritual practice. To engage in mathematical study is to travel into strange and mystical lands, to explore the very fabric of reality and illusion, and to uncover secrets which hold even deeper secrets within them.

When I set to work with a pencil, ruler, compasses, or other tools, it is in a spirit of both discipline and playfulness. The connection of lines and circles on the paper can suddenly lead to three-dimensionality, or an unexpected glimpse into infinity. These images are given life with richly toned markers, gel pens and ink liners. I choose colours with the same combination of artistic freedom and mathematical precision that I use for the initial outline - creating an intricate and glimmering world.

30 x 42 cm
ProMarker, gel pen, ink liner and glitter nail varnish on watercolour paper

Science fiction and mathematical exploration are profoundly connected. Especially intriguing is mathematical art which hints at a complex narrative beneath its surface. A 2D image, while technically motionless, might contain the tantalising promise of release from its static confines - with potential for backstory, movement and transformation.

This image started experimentally, with a zigzag that increased by a single unit at every turn. After tracing, reversing, superimposing, connecting the points and adding a mirror image beneath, what emerged -unexpectedly- was a crinkly sarcophagus, rich in symmetries and bizarre folds. On extending the left-right symmetry further, it became a sarcophagus-spacecraft, suspended in an improbable sky.

No Curve
28 x 28 cm
ProMarker, gel pen, ink liner and glitter nail varnish on watercolour paper

The apparent complexity of this design derives from a conceptually simple process: connecting points on the x and y axes at regular intervals (1,0 to 0,9; 2,0 to 0,8; 3,0 to 0,7...), applying and reflecting this throughout the image in a consistent pattern. The result is an illusion of three-dimensionality, with a central area that looms from its squeezed surroundings.

The title “No Curve” draws attention to the underlying technique. Contrary to appearance, the curvature is an illusion: every line drawn is entirely straight.

As with some of my other work, this image explores sci-fi-inspired themes. The colour arrangement conveys the sense of a flashing console, squishing and jumping and struggling against weird gravitational forces.