Elizabeth Whiteley

Studio Artist
Washington DC, USA

As a studio artist working at the intersection of art and mathematics, I am fascinated by the principles of dynamic symmetry. They are represented by simple geometric drawings in books for designers, mathematicians, and artists. I use the drawings as a preliminary structure for artworks.

I enjoy the challenge of looking at mathematical figures and finding directions for new visual compositions. Sometimes when the artworks are complete they stand on their own, without a visual trace, or memory, of the mathematical inspiration.

Dynamic Transformation 1
Dynamic Transformation 1
36 x 26 cm
color pencil on polyester film

I was inspired by a diagram from Jay Hambidge’s book, Elements of Dynamic Symmetry. Using a compass and a pencil, I constructed a rectangle partitioned by smaller square root rectangles in the dynamic series of 1, √2, √3, √4, √5. There are four arcs.The radius for each arc is an element in the dynamic series. I performed the 2-D symmetry operation of reflection with the diagram. The diagram serves as a compositional guide for the finished drawing. I positioned a sheet of polyester film over the composition. Along each curve segment, I used color pencil to make chords at regular intervals which met at an identical vertex for the arcs. Each ratio in the series has a different color. It is an original piece of art.