Friday, April 16, 2021

Tension between subject and background in painting creates visual democracy - Patterns

Supposedly, the placement occurrence of motifs in Penrose tilings are impossible to predict in 2, 3, or 4 dimensions. One looks a bit like a joker, another motif like a snowflake, etc. We can assume they will reoccur, much like we can assume that there are no end to prime numbers, but both of those assumptions require fancy mathematical proofs.

Whatever. My point is that some people think you can predict Penrose tiles in a higher (5th) dimension – planes upon planes colliding and multiplying, in a sense, but ironing out to something comprehensible.

Here is an earlier post on the subject: 

Caspar David Friedrich, Romanticism, Penrose, and the 5th Dimension

And then Yayoi Kusama puts a dot on it. Multiple dots. And psychedelic mushrooms in neon colors on black light. Fun. Why? Tension? Democracy of subject? That's my favorite explanation - visual democracy.

I wanted to work with students to create this competition between subject and background. We chose a lovely spotted frog as our subject, and a not especially aggressive play on the spots and patterns in the background. 

Frog in Frogland, by Julia Gandrud, copyright 2021, all rights reserved

I'll add a student's work when they are finished with it.


  1. Lovely post! Have you seen this video from Veritasium about Penrose Tiles?[
    I found your blog via common friends on fb.] Best regards.

  2. This is wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing :)