Bruce Torrence

Professor of Mathematics
Randolph-Macon College
Ashland, Virginia, USA

As someone with a passion for the visual arts, I've long been fascinated by tilings, photo-montages, and the ways in which our brains process visual information. As a mathematician, I am familiar with the joy that comes from the hard work of solving a difficult problem. With my art I hope to present viewers with patterns and symmetry from pure mathematics, to convey a sense of wonder in its intricacy and scale, and to challenge viewers to make sense of what they see.

Visual Limits
Visual Limits
38 x 50 cm
Archival Print

The image pictured under the eyeglasses is the unique solution to the all-ones problem on a 127 x 127 grid: the black squares indicate which buttons to push to solve a Lights Out game if initially all lights are on. The solution comprises two distinct regions. The contrast between them is emphasized by the placement of the eyeglasses, which introduce a third dimension. It is a human dimension, suggesting both the power and the limits of mathematical insight and understanding. These layers of ambiguity invite the viewer to discover meaning in the patterns.