Geometry, though it has its roots in mathematics, has been celebrated by artists for centuries.
Geometric shapes, such as the sphere, cone, cylinder, pyramid and the five Platonic solids have all been explored by artists, such as Luca Pacioli and Leonardo da Vinci.
An artistic take on geometry and the ways it presents itself in so many aspects of our environment are currently being explored in Harmonia, an exhibition by Gordon Froud, which is currently on at Cavalli Gallery.
“Geometry is widely held to be the universal plan on which all material existence is based,” says Froud.
“The patterns of proportions, shape, form and numbers are found in the smallest atomic structures and are perpetuated at every level of existence – even as far as a pattern for the expanding universe in which we live.”
Froud’s artistic interest in geometry came about during his residency at Nirox Sculpture Park, located in the Cradle of Humankind outside Johannesburg, where he came across a glass-topped table in the outdoors.
This led to the first chapter of the exhibition – a series of photographs of the shapes of some of the Platonic Solids and circles disrupting the landscape they are imposed on.
The second chapter explores geometry in the city. Based on images taken by the artist in Johannesburg, this chapter features landscape drawing in which geometric forms are highlighted to deconstruct the city and draw attention to the importance of geometry for the formation and construction of a city.
“These works articulate my fascination with the occurrence of geometry in everyday situations that are taken for granted,” he explains. “Roofs need to be held up and, other than construction teams or builders, we mostly take the geometry needed for this for granted.”
Froud not only explores geometry in nature and architecture, but also the geometry that can be found in the human body – the third chapter in the exhibition.
By superimposing triangles onto black and white photographic prints, he explores the triangle as a geometric shape, which can be found in various poses of the human body.
“The notion of the body’s geometric framework is taken into purposeful bodily articulation, as seen in the way that people seat themselves for meditation or prayer,” he says.
This chapter shows how geometry forms a link between the perfunctory and the spiritual, which is the theme of the final chapter in the exhibition.
His exploration of the spiritual is not partisan (as he does not subscribe to a particular belief system himself) but looks at sacred geometry in most belief systems – from ancient Egypt, Mayan temples and Islam to contemporary beliefs in aliens, crop circles and the like.
“Most belief systems acknowledge geometry as a plan, blueprint or map according to which matter has come into being,” he says.
“This has variously been described as the thoughts of God, divine utterances, proof of a creator, a master plan and so on. It is thus often imbued with notions of the divine or the sacred referring to a creator of God or energy force.”
The exhibition is curator by Amy Lyn Eveleigh and can be viewed ‘til 14 October.
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