Week 13: Artist Interview

Marty Knop

Marty Knop’s installation, titled icosikaihenagon, is all about the visual representation of mathematical functions. For this show, Knop used Mathmatica and Photoshop to generate the patterns seen in the gallery. He would then screen print the patterns and on some of the pieces, would also add colors to the patterns using paint.


Some of the pieces were based on the graphs of trigonometric functions, while others were generated using the inverse matrix function. He was particularly interested in the symmetric properties and the “textilely” patterns that the inverse matrix function produced. He would then take these patterns and superimpose them on polyhedron. He added that these low-poly shapes were used by the software to aid in computing, but that wasn’t why he used them. Instead, he felt like they created more interesting images.


When choosing the colors, Knop was focused on the contrast between the colors. He was mostly interested in the individual shapes, and he felt that the “color helps [him] define that territory.” These three pieces shown below all have the same shapes and patterns, however, the colors that fill each shape are different. At first glance, they appeared to be three different images, but then I saw the commonalities.

Knop feels like there is a lot of potential in exploring math this way. He sees computers as an invaluable tool and that as they evolve and progress, so to does mathematical exploration. Today, because of advances in and the reduction of cost of computing, Knop is able to generate patterns which would have been infeasible just a few years ago. It will be interesting to see what artists like Knop will produce as computing continues to advance. This novel approach at exploring math may bring about new understandings that traditional schools of thought were unable to produce.