Insider: Art

By Kay Kipling Photography by Debbie Deamorim February 1, 2011

Math and art are not enemies—a point proven both in the personal work of math artist John Sims and in the show he’s curating this month at Selby Gallery on the Ringling College campus.

Actually, the connections between the two seemingly disparate fields range from the geometric to the conceptual to the social. The Selby exhibition, Sims says, “looks at how the structures intersect in very different ways and shows how math and art come together in an art context to provide a poetic voice.”

The show at Selby, titled The Rhythm of Structure: Mathematics, Art and Poetic Reflections, is actually a set of nine two-person mathematical art group shows first seen at the Art Wall at the Bowery Poetry Club in Lower Manhattan last fall. Sims, a former Ringling College instructor, now brings the show to Sarasota for a run through April 2.

More than 30 artists are featured, from the late Sol LeWitt (famed for his paintings and sculpture stemming from the cube) to the sometimes controversial multimedia artist Dread Scott to land-use artist Agnes Denes. The exhibition, which opens with a reception on Feb. 25, also includes a talk by Sims Feb. 24 and music and poetry performances by both local and New York performers, including Bowery Poetry Club director Bob Holman and “Nuyorican” poet Edwin Torres.

Sims’ own piece in the show highlights the idea of quilt making in the Cartesian MathArt Hive, a collaborative installation that he says “speaks to the wide spectrum of mathematical art.” Using his SquareRoot of a Tree (partly hand-drawn and partly computer-generated) as a centerpiece, he selected and arranged 17 other works around it on two grids to demonstrate how they relate to one another. Ultimately, the piece resembles the patches of a quilt, as does the overall show itself. Sims says his work with Ella Miller Toy and the Amish quilters at the Alma Sue Quilt Shop in Sarasota has been an inspiration. “The idea of the quilt,” he says, “actually became the central curatorial dynamic.”

The show includes stop motion animations and videos as well. For more information, call Selby Gallery at 359-7563. To view more of Sims’ work, go to­


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