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In “Mathematical Formulations in the Service of Art”, Antonio Cortez explores the integration of Art and Science in the Digital Age. These newly created geometric forms are generated utilizing abstract mathematical principles and advanced technology software.  The work exudes forms of sensual beauty, elegance, and precision that transcend the boundaries between the real and the virtual. These new physical forms reveal contemporary design practices engaged with modern architectural sensibilities.

Mathematics has been a great contributor to visual arts for centuries. The influence is present in Islamic, Renaissance art, and more recently during the 20th century on artists that include Jesús-Rafael Soto, Carlos Cruz Diez, Youri Messen-Jaschin, Julio Le Parc, M.C. Escher, Julian Stanczak, Richard Anuszkiewicz, Yaacov Agam, Daniel

Buren, Nicolas Schöffer, Peter Sedgely, Bridget Riley and Marcel Duchamp.


For Cortez, as the Renaissance artists, the integration of science and art is key. Cortez believes that artistic expression is always evolving, and that technology is at its disposal to fully serve it, to challenge preconceived ways while producing exciting new forms. As for Cortez, the use the language of mathematics is a creative process and a tool to visualize complex geometries that are visually compelling and physically arresting. The explorations start with a somewhat simple equation that directs artist toward forecasts its geometry in space. The use of graphing software is tinkered to solve the equation and create increasingly more complex iterations until intriguing shapes emerge in a specific region of space.  The artist rotates, explores and captures the construct from different views and angles. The final design constructs are printed on aluminum plates and also calibrated for video viewing.


The Spanish Architect Antoni Gaudí is one source of inspiration for Cortez because of his exceptional and outstanding contribution to the development of modern architecture and building technology.  What is of interest and relevancy are Gaudi’s adaptation of nature's angles and curves that find their way into his designs and mosaics and the unfinished “Sagrada Familia” Cathedral in Barcelona. The hyperboloids and paraboloids Gaudí borrowed from nature were easily reinforced by steel rods and allowed his designs to resemble elements from the environment.  To evoke the legendary Spanish architect, Cortez in his series “Homage to Gaudí” is able to use digital technology to create the massive, the sprawling and swaying towers by bending the angles and straight shooting lines into curves and have our imagination follow his whim. 

Another influence and source of inspiration are the legendary mathematical explorations of Marcel Duchamp. Throughout his life, Duchamp maintained an interest in science, mathematics, optics and art and more than any other eminent artist of the twentieth century understood and researched non-Euclidean geometry and the mathematics of higher dimensionality. No coincidence that the "artist-engineer-scientist" side of Duchamp is evoked in the work generated by Cortez who last year immersed himself in studying Duchamp’s many facets. Duchamp himself was influenced by the mathematicians Henri Poincaré and Élie Jouffret as well as his own intense practice of chess and logic. Duchamp sought to merge the poetic and visceral nature of the aesthetic experience with the logical and systematic character of science.

Duchamp's application of probabilistic systems has evolved into a respected part of the discipline of chaos theory and non-linear dynamics that many mathematicians and scientists have adopted and are now busy applying to their work. Almost one hundred years later, Cortez experiments with chance (or aleatoric) techniques by applying algorithmic computation to prints. He lets design take its course and as a result the viewer experiences a dynamic asymmetry of forms conveying a three dimensional quality of possible future structures and objects.

Already, in the new digital age, fabrication and prototyping of such startling complex forms can be spun through three-dimensional printers and transformed into 3D objects of solid materials. It’s up to the adventurous builder and the creative designer to translate them into bridges, towers, edifices or functional objects to satisfy the contemporary demand of consumers for new products and experiences.

Hanna Regev, has an M.A. in Museum Studies and MA in Modern European History from San Francisco State University. She was president of the Docent Council of the California Historical Society, member of the board of directors and chair of collections. Regev completed a two-term service on the board of the African American Museum and Library in Oakland (AAMLO). She was President of the Northern California Council of the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NCC-NMWA). She serves on the board of the First Amendment Project and lectures at the University California Berkeley Extension teaching a course on museum and museum careers.



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