Splashes of brilliant colour meld seamlessly with intricate patterns in a fascinating new exhibit by artists Elyse Eliot-Los and Janice Johnson, on display at the Red Deer Public Library downtown.
Fractals Infinitum runs in the Kiwanis Gallery through to April 29.
A fractal is a mathematics term coined by Benoit Mandelbrot in 1975 to describe equations that, for Eliot-Los and Johnson, are the best mathematical descriptions of many natural forms.
Eliot-Los and Johnson eventually worked with these equations to produce digital images called ‘fractals’, effectively described as a marriage between geometry and art.
Eliot-Los, who lives in Benalto, became fascinated by the concept after years of producing ‘mandalas’ which are also based on geometric structure. And Johnson, who hails from Calgary, was inspired by a love of numbers and an avid interest in what can be produced digitally.
“As an artist making Fractals, I use the computer to make a basic design,” said Eliot-Los. “By zooming into the algorithm, I can select a design of my choice.
“This is like zooming into infinity, because the patterns are ever changing. This is then treated as a ‘sketch’ and worked on with many mixed media like acrylic paint, metallics, India ink and sometimes collage. However the use of digital manipulation has imbued these recent art pieces with new excitement.”
As Eliot-Los explains, once the patterns start unfolding the artistic possibilities are endless. “I just found this fascinating once I got into it. The universe is really full of patterns. I love mystery, and to me, it’s just so mysterious that you can take a mathematical equation and make art out of that formula. It merges math with art.”
The results are indeed stunning, and absolutely compelling in their sheer variety. Eliot-Los adds that she’s long been an artist with a particular interest in colour, so her pieces shimmer with vibrant, bold tones.
Known also for her continual desire to explore fresh artistic expressions, fractals have offered her an invigorating means of sharing her imaginative gifts.
“It’s nice to discover something new. When you can open up to opportunities and see things that are really quite fascinating, then all kinds of things are possible.”
Johnson also points out that she has long admired mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci, who lived in the early 1200s. He introduced a sequence of irregular numbers which when divided with each other relate to the Golden or Logarithmic Spiral, which is derived by plotting a curved line along the divisions of the Golden Mean.
“This constant of design has helped me appreciate the interconnectedness of everything in life — the spiraling seeds of a sunflower, the way trees branch out, how a plant twists and rotates as it grows. All these seemingly ordinary processes can be explained by numbers and in particular, with the Fibonacci sequence.
“This, along with a love of mathematics, led to my fascination with Fractals.”