Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Visual Arts


Patrick Mahon


If consideration is given to math’s look when it is written out, math can be experienced visually without working with or understanding its logical content. This “meaningless math” then becomes a vessel into which new contextual meaning is injected by a given observer. “The look of math” is a part of ethnomathematics, or the culture of mathematics, which necessarily and anti-Platonically (i.e., taking math to be purely a human endeavor) contains mathematics per se. Formal elements in math-as-art can be categorized as algebraic, geometric, diagrammatic, or organic. The main idea is not “math can be art,” but rather that math has a look, which is not the same thing as math’s inner structure, and which is exploitable in nonmathematical ways. However, math has special properties that amplify its importance as some specific thing that has rarely been isolated and defined as art, thereby granting math potential for contribution to art.



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