Patterns with distinct edges and shapes have been implemented by humans for centuries to use geometry as a form of expression. Studies of Palaeolithic cave art have revealed that even the earliest humans were fascinated by geometric patterns. Some of the earliest documented artistic examples came from the Geometric Art Period (circa 900-700 B.C.) in Ancient Greece.
Greek philosophers Pythagoras and Plato were strong believers in the idea that these geometric patterns, or “sacred geometry”, had symbolic and sacred meaning to them. There is no available explanation for why these patterns were deemed sacred. However, the concept of using geometry as an art form stuck and evolved to take on a wide variety of meanings. Geometric art is found in religious architecture all over the world, but it also evolved to take on a more creative than functional position in the art world. One massive example is John Powers’s God’s Comic (Fat Bastard).
The only readily available information on this piece is that the large piece was “constructed” in 2010 when John Powers meticulously arranged and rearranged polystyrene shapes. The process that the artist went through to create this work clearly identifies a desire for structure and organization, which is embodied by the piece itself.
Other examples of contemporary geometric art include the paper sculptures of Richard Sweeney. He studied Three-Dimensional Design at Manchester Metropolitan University after finding that he had a knack for sculpture. Sweeney claims that he is driven by “an experimental hands-on approach, utilizing the unique properties of often mundane materials to discover unique sculptural forms. Again, this suggests a desire for creative organization. One of his sculptures is shown below.
Geometric art has also had an influence on paintings and photography, particularly booming in the 1960’s with psychedelic and fractal art. One such artist who took inspiration from this style was Andy Gilmore. A graphic artist from New York, Gilmore seems to have taken some kaleidoscope-esque inspiration from the geometric art of the 1960’s in the piece below. Another major influence on Gilmore could be the industrial nature of his community, inspiring a passion for geometric patterns.
The painting below by Stephen Lursen also exhibits some of these influences but uses softer lines with a circular pattern rather than the hard edges seen in Gilmore’s work.
One artist takes this concept to another level creating entire giant portraits from shapes. Included is a link to a short video of Josh Bryan creating a portrait of Marilyn Monroe by using triangles. He has created many other portraits of celebrities like this one, which can be found on his website.
Geometric art is even used in art that we incorporate into our every day lives. One man decided to decorate his newborn-to-be’s room using a 3-D printed triangle and grid lines on the walls.
“An Explanation for Our Aesthetic Appreciation of Geometry.” Sam Woolfe. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Jan. 2017.
Author: Department of Greek and Roman Art. “Geometric Art in Ancient Greece | Essay | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art.” The Met’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Jan. 2017.
Richardsweeney.co.uk. “Biography.” Richard Sweeney. Richard Sweeney, n.d. Web. 25 Jan. 2017.