Virtual Visit: Summer School, Geometry
Text + Images Courtesy of Phoenix Art Museum

Above: Emil Bisttram, Tensions (Tensiones), 1939. Oil on board. Gift of Richard Anderman in honor of Lorenz and Joan Anderman.

Some may say life is pointless without geometry, but that’s a tangent for another day. In honor of one of the oldest branches of mathematics, this week’s PhxArt Summer School Virtual Visit is dedicated to all things shapes, lines, and curves with select artworks from the PhxArt collection. And, you’ll also take a deep dive into the mathematics behind a dress from the fashion-design collection.

Above, top left: Takemura Yuri, Teabowl, not dated. Ceramic. Gift of Carol and Jeffrey Horvitz. Top right: Marta Chilindrón, Blue Cube 48, 2006. Twin wall polycarbonate. Collection of Phoenix Art Museum, Gift of Nicholas Pardon. Image courtesy of Nicholas Pardon. Bottom left: Julian Stanczak, Monad (Mónada), 1972. Acrylic on canvas. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. David K. Anderson. Bottom right: Philip C. Curtis, Space Activity (Actividad espacial), 1946. Tempera on paper. Gift of the Philip C. Curtis Restated Trust U/A/D April 7, 1994. 

Above: Ralph Rucci, Taupe Infanta dress (Vestido de infanta en color gris pardo), spring 2003. Silk faille and silk organza. Collection of Diane Halle.

This signature evening gown, whose volume is created without rigid understructures or petticoats, is called the “Infanta.” It was developed by Ralph Rucci in partnership with Chado’s master pattern maker Gail Gondek. The garment’s pattern is derived from a mathematical formula based on the Golden Mean and through an understanding of the capabilities of the selected fabric’s drape, while the use of an algebraic equation to determine the size and variation of the pattern pieces creates a more exact balance between symmetry and asymmetry than could be achieved with freehand draping.

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