By Louise Witonsky, Volunteer at Grounds For Sculpture
Math is often an integral part of art. Artists who are knowledgeable
about such mathematical concepts as the Golden Rule or Fibonacci’s
number might incorporate these concepts into their sculpture. So when
someone who understands the math sees the sculpture, the observer may
see something more in the piece than meets the average museum
Stefanie Mandelbaum, who is both an artist and a mathematician,
recently lectured to the volunteers at Grounds For Sculpture about math in art, using slides from the Grounds to illustrate mathematical concepts. As one volunteer commented after the program, Stefanie’s lecture was certainly something to think about.
Stefanie Mandelbaum, who taught math for many years at Rider
University in Lawrenceville, NJ, has a BS in mathematics from Queens
College (CUNY), and an MAT (mathematics) from Montclair University. Because she has an MFA (sculpture) from Pratt Institute as well, Stefanie also taught art history courses at Rider.
As an artist, Stefanie does math-inspired sculpture, mixed media
collage, wall sculptures, paintings and prints. She has
exhibited in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Vermont,
Mexico, Canada, and Russia. Her works are in several private, museum,
and university collections.
Stephanie developed a program she calls ARThematics –art that uses
mathematical concepts. For more than ten years, Stefanie Mandelbaum
taught numerous ARThematics workshops for students and
teachers in the New York tri-state area. She utilized art projects to
reinforce mathematical concepts. Stefanie has also started a program
called ARThematics Plus which extends the original math/art concept to
incorporate language arts, world cultures, music, dance, architecture,
science and even culinary arts into the teaching of mathematics.
Stefanie has coauthored ARThematics Plus: Integrated Projects in Math,
Art and Beyond. Published in 2003, this is a resource book for teachers
of grades 4 to 6, but many of the lessons and ideas can be tailored for
older or younger grades, as Stefanie herself has done.
Stefanie Mandelbaum says that “I live in two creative worlds that are
inextricably intertwined: art and mathematics — with a tad of music
thrown in. The state of mind, the feeling I get when I do a
mathematical proof is exactly the state of mind I’m in when I do my
artwork. Each mathematical system has its own internal logic, its own
consistency. In this respect, a mathematical system is no different
from a painting, a sculpture, or a musical composition.”
All images Courtesy the Artist.