“Roads Untaken”: the intersection of art and mathematics

I imagine that Leonardo Da Vinci is the person most of us would call to mind if asked to think of an individual who embraced both the abstract world of mathematics and the tangible world of artistic creation.

However, poking around on the internet I came across the work of George W. Hart, a sculptor who is also a research professor in the department of computer science at the State University of New York in Stony Brook, New York. Hart specialises in geometry, one of his publications being the online Encyclopedia of Polyhedra, in which he writes:

“Polyhedra have an enormous aesthetic appeal and the subject is fun and easy to learn on one’s own… The more you know about polyhedra, the more beauty you will see.”

He could not be more right, for Hart is also a sculptor.

The picture that prompted me to this blog piece is below. It is a stunning testament to the beauty of mathematical forms translated into sculpture. Here, he describes it in his own words:

“Here is one of my favorite sculptures: Roads Untaken.  A mosaic of three exotic hardwoods (yellowheart, paela, and padauk) with walnut “grout,” it is 17 inches in diameter, and stands 21 inches on the base.  Those are the natural colors; it is just oiled, not stained.  The ball just rests on the three struts, so it can be lifted and returned in any orientation.”

Roads Untaken, George W. Hart

For more of Hart’s hypnotic creations, take a look at the section of his website on geometric sculpture.


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