About Geometricism

Overall, the sculpture and graphic work shown here is presented without a great deal of explanation or attribution. This is deliberate. It seems to me that this art should really speak for itself and not be encumbered with long-winded interpretations. For similar reasons I prefer to leave my work untitled. As far as I’m concerned the sculptures in particular just are; their constrained, geometric formalism either appeals, or does not …

I do not feel over-precious or over-protective about this work. It seems perfectly valid to have the assistance of others in its making, or indeed for some of it to be entirely manufactured by those with the skills and equipment needed to carry out commissions. Equally, as a conscious reaction against the over-inflated values (and egos) associated with so much Art these days, I’m perfectly happy to have any of my work replicated, or for others to make their own versions or copies of it. And in this same, Post-modern spirit, these structures are not carved out of the fine stones associated with traditional sculpture, but have been made using conventional construction materials – primarily, cut and welded steel, concrete, and cement-based products.

As for influences on my work, these are - the geometries of regular and semi-regular polyhedra; the structural forms found in crystals (and crystallography); and the massive geometrical monuments of the Ancient World. It has long seemed to me that, considerations of scale apart, there are clear and fairly obvious points of comparison in the appearance of these different modalities. They are all relatively simple, highly geometric and project an enduring, transcendent quality - features that, of course, account for their aesthetic appeal. I have laid out the relative contributions of each of these influences in my own work (and the over-arching guiding principles of Post-Modernism) in the ‘Other primary influences’ section.

I have also devoted a section to my recent publication – ‘Fantastic Geometry: Polyhedra and the Artistic Imagination in the Renaissance’ – the brief tradition of geometry-inspired art presented here relates to my own work in ways that should become obvious on closer investigation. This is an intriguing earlier example of artistic fascination with the formalities of geometry.

There is, of course, absolutely nothing new in the use of geometry in art – indeed, in some cultural contexts of the past it has been a dominant influence. Geometry is obviously involved in every form of pattern-creation for instance, and pattern itself arises naturally in most repetitive processes such as weaving or bricklaying. The powerful symmetries of regular geometry are also evident in much of the monumental architecture of the more remote past (Pyramids, Ziggurats, Temples and the like). But it would seem that the modern (and post-modern) recourse to geometric themes are of a rather different kind. The abstract, timeless qualities of polyhedral forms, for instance, clearly have an aesthetic appeal of their own - an appeal that seems bound up with their quality of transcendent immutability, particularly relevant perhaps in our present period of artistic equivocation. Unfortunately, from my point of view, the field of 3D geometricism in recent times has been somewhat dominated by those whose mathematical criteria takes precedence over those of aesthetic imagination. For many, of course, this notion of a separation between artistic and mathematical creativity is contentious, even irrelevant, and tends to raise sensitivities in some quarters. Let me lay my cards on the table and declare that my own sculptures, although inspired by geometric concepts, are firmly in the artistic camp – that is to say that I regard the mathematical aspects of my work as fairly trivial. For me, the distinction between  geometry-influenced art and mere ‘mathematical recreation’ is best put this way – a mathematical production makes a statement that has a certain finality, so that however aesthetically appealing it might be, it has to fit within the matrix of the established mathematical canon. By contrast, the primary purpose of any genuine work of Art is to engage and stimulate the viewer’s imagination. Which is to say that however ‘mathematical’ its appearance, its main role is conducive - to amuse, to suggest, to indicate connections in the very broadest sense - in short, to lead the viewers mind on from the basic starting point of this ‘geometric’ artefact. I would like to feel that my own work falls very definitely into this category …