Geometry and Art

Geometry is a tool that artists have used to achieve balance in their compositions. Above, triangles are used in the composition to achieve balance and the positioning of the face in relation to the canvas edge is all based on ratios known as the golden ratio. Find out more from here

Task 1

You will need: Paper, crayons (wax would be ideal) scissors, glue

Take the crayons and the paper. Find textured surfaces from around your locality. Make rubbings of these textures, concentrating on getting even but distinctive textures. Use these rubbings as the raw materials for a geometric collage. Cut them up into geometric shapes and create interesting compositions with them.

Sally Port of Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque.JPG

Geometry has also been used to signify the spiritual dimension to life in many artistic traditions. It appears in the vaulted ceilings of mosques as can be seen above. It was used as a way to express the sublime in some avant-garde art movements, particularly Neo-Plasticism.

Task 2

You will need: Paper, Pencils, an organic shaped still life object (plant or clothing item)

Find an object you can use as a still life. Find an object that contains lots of organic forms. A plant or clothing draped over a chair would be best. Now draw them using only straight lines and circular curves. If you don’t have a compass and ruler to help with this then use a piece of string and the edge of a book. With your lines drawn, think about different ways to shade in the spaces between the lines. The emphasis should be on decorating your sheet rather than a close likeness to the still life.

Riley, Movement in Squares.jpg

The Op art movement was made up of artists who used geometry to create optical effects. Bridget Riley was a central proponent of this movement, producing many original compositions in purely geometric patterns.

Task 3

You will need: White paper, Coloured paper (paper painted a flat colour), scissors, glue

Take one sheet of white paper, one sheet of black. If you don’t have black paper, any darker color will do, or paint a sheet a darker colour. Use these to make an op art inspired collage. Consider how you can use repeating patterns, grids of alternating squares and triangles to create visual vibrations.

Klinom Krasnim by El Lisitskiy (1920).jpg

Here, forms derived from pure geometry have been used to create a new way of life, and a new visual language. The forms are positioned carefully within the frame for maximum dynamic effect. Compare and contest them to those compositions of Neo-Plasticism. above.

Task 4

You will need: White paper, Coloured paper (paper painted a flat colour), scissors, glue

Take one sheet of white paper. Divide it into 8 rectangles.Take one sheet of colored paper and cut 2cm squares out of it. Find at least 8 different ways of arranging the squares to make unique compositions. For an additional challenge use more than one color. How does your composition change with multiple colours?