Judy Holdener

Professor of Mathematics
Kenyon College
Gambier, Ohio USA

When creating artwork I do not see myself as a mathematician who uses algorithms and formulae to create interesting visual patterns. Nor am I an artist who uses math to carry out my artistic vision. Rather, I am an observer and a thinker who seeks to understand patterns in the mathematical and physical worlds in which I live. Both worlds contain realistic and abstract components, and it is the interplay between the realistic and the abstract that I find most exciting. Making creative use of abstraction, symbols, technology and imagery, I seek to communicate my ideas, experiences and feelings to others, and through my artwork I hope to make abstract mathematical ideas more concrete for some while making reality more abstract for others.

60 x 60 cm
Digital Art (Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop)

In my artwork "Immersion" I examine the notion of ``immersion" from both the vernacular and the mathematical points of view. The surface patterns in the piece reflect my day-to-day immersion in mathematics, featuring vectors fields, contours, and symmetries residing within the courses I teach, as well as tilings and fractal images emerging from research I have conducted with undergraduates. I reveal the formal mathematical meaning of “immersion” in the winding curves and floating surfaces that play a significant role in the composition of my work. In particular, I highlight the “Boy Surface”, a well-known example of an immersion of the real projective plane into three-dimensional Euclidean space.