Craig S. Kaplan

Associate Professor
School of Computer Science, University of Waterloo
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Most of my academic research concerns ways in which mathematical ideas and computer algorithms can be used to amplify the creative potential of humans. As much as it is a pleasure to articulate scientific discoveries via the standard medium of scholarly papers, it is more satisfying to test the value of my research by putting it to use in the creation of finished artworks. I have spent many years exploring different construction techniques for Islamic geometric patterns, and enjoy finding opportunities to put those techniques into practice. I seek ways to marry these ancient designs with modern mathematical ideas and construction methods.

Tending toward the convex
Tending toward the convex
45 x 60 cm
Digital print

In 2015, I was commissioned by the director of a new Vienna production of Ayad Akhtar's play "Disgraced" to design a prop. One of the play's protagonists, Emily, is an American artist who explores Islamic themes in her work. A painting of hers serves as a focal point for the set. It's described in the stage directions as "A vibrant, two-paneled image in luscious whites and blues, with patterns reminiscent of an Islamic garden". A character in the play later describes it as "a bending of the picture plane" and "tending toward the convex". This design represents my interpretation of that description. The base design juxtaposes two traditional patterns. The composition is warped in 3D, coloured, and processed for a painterly effect.