The Science of Art: Exploring the Math Behind Islamic Art
When does math become art? Looking at the history and significance of Islamic patterns, Ontario artist Gillian Turnham recently shared the fascinating intersection between mathematics and Islamic art with Trent students. The lecture was presented in conjunction with the launch of The Interlaced Project – an exhibition produced by Turnham on displayed in the hallways of Trent’s Enwayaang Building.
As an artist working within the tradition of Islamic geometric design, Turnham has spent several years studying with some of the world's top educators in the field. Alongside her commissioned works, she has also published writings on Islamic geometry and produced a radio series with Trent Radio about Islamic art.
During the lecture, Turnham discussed the history and significance of Islamic patterns, and how they are constructed using geometric principles. She emphasized the use of Euclidean Geometry in the creation of these patterns, which has been a central part of Islamic art for centuries.
“In a sense, we can say that the subject matter of Islamic geometric art is the majestic mathematical systems which underpin our reality,” said Turnham. “To study, explore, and express them is a goal shared by Islamic geometric artists, scientists, and mathematicians alike.
“I feel honoured to have the opportunity to continue in that centuries long tradition with the wonderful students and faculty at Trent.”
An interconnected, collaborative effort
The presentation of Turnham’s collection is a collaboration between Trent University's Department of Mathematics and Peter Gzowski College and funded by the City of Peterborough through Electric City Culture Council's Grants for Individual Artists program.
Posted on March 16, 2023