Fielding Brown

Westwood, Massachusetts, USA

My sculptures are Lissajous figures in 3D. I first saw these figures on the screen of an early oscilloscope, flat curves describing, for example, a spinning coin or a gyrating hula hoop. I then imagined how I might describe these Lissajous in 3D, and then how to actually build them as sculpture.

I have devised a twofold process to do this. On my computer I first write three, simultaneous, parametric equations (time as parameter) to define a particular Lissajous. Then, if the corresponding curve is aesthetically pleasing and also buildable, I build it in my shop.

This process is quite general since, by changing equations, a limitless number of Lissajous sculptures can be produced. The body of my work has been created in this way.

Bicycle Wreck
Bicycle Wreck
45 x 45 x 45 cm
wood & aluminum frame, silvered mylar strings

This sculpture is in two parts: an outer frame of laminated hardwood and aluminum, and an inner web of strings. The frame is defined by three, simultaneous, parametric equations, time as parameter. The strings are silvered, package-wrap string, space-defined by a commercial graphing calculator program. The web of strings guides the eye to see imaginary lines and surfaces.

My Lissajous-defined, string-web sculptures are unique. Strings have long been used to represent certain geometric surfaces, e.g.hyperboloid, and similar fixed frame sculptures have been built. However, there appears to be no other work that uses Lissajous figures in 3D as I have here and throughout the body of my work.