Josef Weese

Information Technology Unvergraduate Student
Northern New Mexico College
Espanola, New Mexico, USA

As minimalist conceptual artist, interested in graphing geometrical proofs, I start with those from Euclid's Elements, Book 1, in this case, 1.47, the Pythagorean Theorem. 2-D tree graphs easily expand to 3-D, interesting for me as they preserve the same data but are aesthetically much more pleasing. The results are mobiles, friezes, and free- standing pieces. The frieze, "The Proof, the Whole Proof, and Nothing but the Proof," appears in the Proceedings of Bridges 2016 Art Gallery. The 2019 free-standing submission, "The Pythagorean Forest," invites both me as artist and viewers to contemplate, from the forest's canopy, the network of 192 premises, fundamental for 1.47, teased into five trees to become the sculpture's forest.

The Pythagorean Forest
The Pythagorean Forest
31 x 53 x 40 cm
Birch (Betula) and Maple (Acer) Spheres and Blocks,Tumbled Obsidian--Materials Common in Ancient Greece; Glass Plates (Acrylic for Gallery Display)

The 3-D free-standing sculpture, "The Pythagorean Forest," arises from a 2-D rooted in-tree dependency graph of Euclid's proof of the Pythagorean Theorem, 1.47. The tree graph has 7 levels--acrylic plates--supporting maple (Acer) and birch (Betula) spheres that represent the 5 types of premises in the proof--26 construction and 63 inference propositions, 43 common notions, 45 postulates, and 15 definitions, totaling 192. These numbers arise from annotations of four well-known commentators on Euclid, including Heath. Each premise type appears as its own "tree" arising from its root (1.47) at ground level among obsidian, a not uncommon, though imported, feature of Ancient Greece's landscape. The piece disembles for shipping or storage.