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Art HERstory: Dorothea Rockburne

Art HERstory: Dorothea Rockburne

Picking #2 pencil shards out of my teeth is how I spent many a class period in college. Every student has come to a point where they’ve asked themselves, ‘When in the Ryan Seacrest will I ever use this crap?’ As a creative mind I  found it more beneficial to doodle doing math class than to actually memorize theorems. Polynomials? The only math I cared about was counting the buttload of moolah peeking through the seams of my Supreme duffles once I scored my first writing gig. Funny. If I knew then what I knew now I would’ve buckled down and made sense of all that seemingly senseless numbers stuff. After all, Dorothea Rockburne (c. 1932 – ) took sine, cosine, and tangent and made it work for her. She turned it into mathematically correct works ten times better than the hearts and rainbows that were scattered across my college-ruled pages.

'Narcissus' (1985). I am head over heels in love with these colors! Not to mention the overlapping planes add depth to the piece. One of my favs!

This math and science driven artists is Canada raised and NYC educated. In 1950 she moved to the states to attend Black Mountain College in North Carolina. There she extended her knowledge in math and astronomy which would eventually serve as the foundation for her abstract art. The colors, shapes, and layouts of the pieces are obviously inspired by science.In all honesty I have much respect for Dorothea’s ability to take two structured concentrations and turn them into something any individual can visually appreciate.

'Piero's Sky' (1991-4). Yep, that looks like a sky alright. Well, more like a constellation.

The big apple became her home from 1955 until the present. She is now a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the National Academy of Design.

Image Layout: Phaymiss

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