New CFAC exhibit blends art and mathematics

The Center Art Gallery in the Covenant Fine Arts Center (CFAC) is currently home to a collection of mixed media artistic works that are inspired by mathematics. The exhibit is titled “Approaches to Abstraction,” and Tia Wierenga is the artist behind the works in the subsection called “Art = Math.” Her creations challenge the idea that art, a discipline of the humanities focused on creativity, and math, a STEM subject known for logic and right-or-wrong answers, have nothing in common. Wierenga uses the fact that patterns are important in both disciplines to connect them. She drew inspiration for her work from the Fibonacci sequence and the golden ratio.

The pieces vary wildly in size, medium and color. In particular, Wierenga uses a variety of materials, from canvas to foam to cloth to wood. One of her works is called “Study of a cube/Parallel universes” and consists of three large canvases painted to look like graph paper. Each one contains a painting of an orange 3D cube oriented in a different direction. They play tricks on the mind of the viewer; it is hard to tell if the cubes are truly symmetrical or not. Another cube made of foam sits on the floor. In the middle of the gallery there are small pedal stalls with smaller pieces of art on display, including two articles of clothing embroidered to look like notes taken in a math class. From a distance, they appear to be regular notes because the stitching is so intricate. Wierenga also created three gigantic paper airplanes that are hung in the corner. They are made of wood painted to look like paper. In her artist’s statement, Wierenga writes, “This exhibition celebrates mathematics and our underlying connection to it,” a sentiment which she creates a visual representation of in her works.