Rashmi Sunder-Raj

Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Math lured me in early, it felt pure to be able to chose one's axioms and proceed. I had a need to understand from first principles rather than memorize the methods of others, resulting in "hard" things being fun and easy and "easy" things hard. This carries over into my creating. My pleasure is derived from generating ideas, experimenting, finding non-standard materials and creating tools rather than applying preexisting methods.

My sense of aesthetics pushes me to imbue my work with as many layers of meaning as I can manage. Ideally, I would incorporate music, poetry and a bit of science with visual art, cross-connect the ideas, and turn them into a teaching tool and/or play equipment. Predictably, most of my works remain "in progress"

Pent Up
Pent Up
38 x 45 x 45 cm
Paper, duct tape, aluminum tape, fabric paint, clear plastic, spiral binding coils (I am unaware of similar misuse of such coils)

Minds may feel the need to reduce themselves to fit expectations rather than alter expectations to fit themselves. Taught to live in a cage fashioned by the historical needs of society, they may be unaware of alternatives. Pent Up is a depiction of a 4D creature (related to the 120-cell), convinced that it must live in a 3D cage, unaware that it can escape. In the 80s, I experimented with "packing" dodecahedrons, and built the creature from truncated triakis tetrahedrons since they almost "fit around them"

If I could but reduce myself to something less
Lose dimensions and flatten myself to fit
I could slip between the spaces
And pass
As something else
I cannot exist
I must admit
That together we have built a beautiful cage

Platonic Friends - icosahedron
Platonic Friends - icosahedron
30 x 30 x 30 cm
Fabric and fill
About 2000

Quite a while ago, I wanted to make stuffed Platonic Solids to be called "Platonic Friends". So far the closest I have come is this stuffed cushion which resembles a bloated icosahedron. I can remember obsessing over the placement of colours and the positioning of the lines in the fabric. It is even lined to prevent fluff from the stuffing getting out. It has been a good friend over the years, while demonstrating that geometry can be functional. In terms of mathematical significance, it serves to remind me of the topological equivalence of simple polyhedra and spheres...or whatever shape it is on a given day. Unfortunately, I can only turn it inside out using the zipper, which I'm sure would horrify most topologists.