Skip links


February 24 – March 24, 2007
Holly Fay
Opening Reception: Saturday,
February 24, 8:00 pm


Artist Statement

This project looks at the intersection of math (geometry, logic, science, precision) and nature (human, adaptable, organic, chance).

The curved form of a spiral holds aesthetic appeal. It intrigues us as it is associated with the natural world and the cosmos – microcosms to macrocosms daisies to planetary trajectories. It is in essence poetic geometry.

To draw the spirals I use a hand tool reminiscent of that prized childhood toy, the Spirograph. This hand tool employs the principles of math and geometry using two circles of different radiuses to generate a hypocycloid (the curve produced by a fixed point on the circumference of a small circle of radius rolling around the inside of a large circle of radius).

With the principles of math and geometry comes an aspiration for perfection. Math has always held for us the promise of stasis, stability and predictability. The construction of a spiral from a mathematical formula should be perfect. The spiral is as much a geometrical figure as the square, with its curves as measurable as a straight line. The formation of the spiral graph or hypocycloid is exactingly determined by the radius of the circles, the points in the circle and the number of rotations. However, inside my experiment of the drawn spiral this strict aesthetic logic collapses and the spiral shows the stigma of the human hand. The purity of the form gives way to the hand of the producer; it is lost to chance and the organic nature of human imperfection.

It is the somewhat unpredictable and changeable nature of the hand drawn spiral, however, that allows me to engage in it repeatedly and more personally. A few spirals done with the precise execution of a computer program and I start to become disengaged.

With hour after hour of spiral formation and with each wobble and skid reducing the superiority and purity of the math/logic/geometry even further I anticipate the hand drawn form will eventually arrive at divergence as its own standard.

Holly Fay


Without mathematics there is no art.