a nonlinear artwork for wild 2002 : : painting


exploring ideas of curved space by charmian smith
Reprinted from the Otago Daily Times

"Ian Clothier is a painter and philosopher who explores the concept of curved space in his painting. With a fellow artist from Akaroa, craft jeweler Peter McKay, he is exhibiting at the Aero Club Gallery.

The idea of trying to paint curved space was sparked when he saw an exhibition in Japan in the late 1980's called "Space in European Art." It covered 2500 years of Western art and explored the Western perception of space which was different from the Japanese, he said.

Different perceptions of space were dependent on particular belief systems. In the Middle Ages and in some Eastern art, space had been flattened whereas Renaissance artists had developed perspective to represent three dimensions. Cubists had developed another concept of space, looking at objects from multiple viewpoints.

The idea of the curvature of space was first proposed by Einstein and had been developed by later physicists. The fact that space was curved might entail new ways of looking at space. "It is well understood by physicists that apples do not fall downwards from trees but are attracted towards a centre of denser gravity."

Paintings representing curved space had no top or bottom and so depended on rotational symmetry. They could be looked at from any angle and the principle of orientation around the centre was pivotal, he said.

They also relied on recursion across scales, a characteristic of computer fractals, in which the character of something was repeated whether the observer was close or at a distance, he said.

However, Mr Clothier said he was not only painting ideas. His own emotions and reverence for the wholeness of nature also influenced his paintings.

He was born and educated in Christchurch New Zealand, at Burnside High School and Canterbury University, then attended Monash University in Melbourne where he graduated with diploma in visual arts. In between visiting galleries in Europe, America and Japan, he was Exhibition, Education and Publicity officer for the Akaroa gallery."


Actually, the idea of developing a curved space occurred to me in 1994; the understanding of the role of space in Western art happened in Tokyo in 1987.


Curved picture space is made up of attraction to a relative centre (e.g. galaxy clustering, gravity); rotational symmetry (visual and mathematical property of many culture's output); and recursion across scales (prime element of fractals).

Once picture space is seen as a shape, it becomes possible to ask: what about a triangular picture space? But as yet, there's no work that could provide evidence of it.

This is a link to my site.


documentation of installed wild2002 component