JUDITH K. TOWNSEND
The inspiration for many of my paintings comes from a
fascination with the beauty and timelessness of pure mathematics and the
ambiguities of quantum physics and cosmology. Is mathematics a
discovery or an invention? Does science impose order on the universe or
describe the universe's structure and function? Questions about the spiritual
nature of the universe often seem to mirror the scientific questions and perhaps
answers can be found at the intersection of the two lines of inquiry.
Mathematics is often thought to be a dry and humorless
subject. But with the discovery of chaos theory and fractal geometry, mathematics
emerges as an exciting partner in trying to understand the mysteries of life and
the universe. Not until the invention of the computer were we able to see into
the world of fractals. By programming a simple equation, the computer is able to
bring fractals to life for us to visualize, just as a musician can interpret a
musical score and allow us to hear what the composer heard.
Organic Geometry reflects
a vision of the world around us consisting of shape and pattern:
symmetry of Euclidean geometry creates a rhythm of repeated color and shape that
is calming and meditative while aesthetically pleasing.
Geometry in nature
can be found in the spiral of a nautilus shell, the pattern of seed distribution
in the sunflower and pinecone, the skin of a pineapple, salt crystals
and snowflakes, as just a few examples.
Fractal geometry is an exciting new discovery arising out of chaos theory. Patterns in nature which seem random actually present
a repeating structure at progressively smaller and smaller scale. This can be
seen in the branching of trees and the nervous system,
or the swirl of rising smoke and flowing water.
Mathematics is simplicity
within complexity and complexity within simplicity. Life presents us with an ongoing challenge to live
with uncertainty while continuing to explore the ambiguity. The search for
ultimate truth is in itself an aesthetic endeavor. I paint as a way to explore
these ideas and create something that is, hopefully, simple
yet elegant in the best mathematical tradition.