Depicting the Braille text for “Love,” this painting brings into focus the true meaning of the word. The painting appears here with white marks on a black ground with an off-center spot revealing a red blemish. The workʼs title, “Love is Blind,” is here disproved: Love in reality is all-seeing yet deeply accepting— recognizing the imperfections in others, and at the same time choosing to bear them joyfully. Here, the white spot is in the process of covering the imperfection of the red spot, demonstrating perfect love.
Canvas and Acrylic Paint; 60" x 84"
SHIP OF THESEUS
High quality signed and numbered lithographs are available on this piece.
Ship of Theseus is a playful yet sinister work commenting on the state of the inflated international art market, which is both volatile and – like any bubble – a fragile ecosystem that must be treated delicately to survive. Here, a translucent bubble optically encases a quote by Isaac Newton written in Braille: “I can calculate the movement of the stars, but not the madness of men." (uttered after losing a fortune on the South Seas Bubble burst). The colorful braille marks resemble spots on Damien Hirst's paintings.
Dots that match the Braille in the bubble form a pictorial Ship of Theseus, which precariously floats atop the bubble itself – threatening to collapse it at any moment. Its ominous presence brings into question the impermanence of all art, but especially of the current market environment, where art’s monetary value is hiked almost daily past unprecedented levels. More presciently, this work questions the definition of original art, recalling again the mimicked permanence of Hirst's The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, in which a shark is suspended in formaldehyde: In reality, the shark deteriorated even within the tank intended to preserve it, and had to be replaced. If indeed the market is a bloated mass, then its greatest threat may be the refute of originality.
Metal; 48" x 48"
PRIME EXAMPLE OF NARCISSISM
In a field of prime numbers – represented here in colorful Braille dots on a dark landscape - Saiers has included the Braille text for his own name. Given the prime numbers’ centrality to math and human thought, the choice to include oneʼs own name is playfully narcissistic.
GENOCIDE IS EVIL
This piece is an homage to the mathematician Georg Alexander Pick, who is best known for his formula that determines the area of a lattice polygon. The central form in this piece is a polygonal shape created by connecting the dots that spell “Genocide is Evil” in braille. The simplicity of the form, and the choice of bold and primary colors used to fill the dots, suggests the innocence expected of childhood, as well as the moral and ethical obviousness of genocideʼs evil: Even a child knows when evil is at play. The underpinning of moral absolutism in this picture is an even more somber ode to Pick, who was tragically killed in the Holocaust.
Canvas and Acrylic Paint; 36" x 36"
ORIGINAL ART BASEL (MIAMI)
Original Art Basel (Miami) addresses the question of mathematical beauty by abstractly portraying the Basel Problem. Having withstood the assaults of the greatest mathematicians in the world for almost 100 years before Euler's solution, the Basel problem was both a very natural series to study and a difficult one. The solution to the Basel Problem, π^2/6, is spelled out in colorful braille-based abstraction (Euler went Blind in his 50s). The area of each circle represents the value of each of the first 13 terms of the infinite series defining the problem, i.e., the area of the circles approximates the braille number they spell out. The notes scribbled throughout the piece are all relevant to the problem, and its generalization, the Zeta function (an extremely important mathematical function).
COUNTEREXAMPLE IN 3D
DID YOU DO THIS
Nelson Saiers: Did You Do This
Pin Up focuses on women in math and science. A Pin Up is typically thought of as an alluring image of a women with wide pop culture often appearing on calendars , i.e. pinned on a wall. By challenging the physical view of a beautiful woman with Maria Agnesi, a woman who was both very mathematically talented and deeply charitable, the piece highlights her pioneering work on calculus, notably her magnum opus, Analytical Institutions, which is considered to be the first book on differential and integral calculus. A field of braille marks spells it's title. Constructed with painted pieces of calendar and thumb tacks, the size and coloring of the circles hint at some of the theories she highlighted in this book especially those of Leonard Euler, who went blind late in life.
An excluded element was added.
Wood, Calendars, Thumb-tacks, and Acrylic Paint; 48" x 72"
"Nothing" contrasts its namesake with deep mathematical substance. Playing on the idea that the number 0 is nothing, the piece presents one of the most beautiful results in all of math (that 0=e^pi • i + 1) in abstraction as a counterpoint. Hence nothing is actually represented by a profound image.
In 2overcome the vertices of the simple shapes are positioned to spell words in braille. If braille marks were placed on these corners the word "overcome" would appear twice.The revolutionary formula 2 = v+f-e applies to each of these shapes as it does to all convex polyhedron-like forms. The simplicity of the formula belies it's universality and its importance. The words and the use of braile becomes more personal when reminded its author Leonhard Euler overcame eye problems, even blindness, to become one of the greatest mathematicians ever.
Finally, hidden in mathematical abstraction the painting hints at a deeply personal experience from Saiers childhood living in Afghanistan as the Russians invaded.
Canvas and Acrylic Paint; 36" x 36"
A white flag typically is associated with weakness and surrender. In contrast to this, Tang celebrates the extraordinary achievement of the United States Apollo 11 mission to the moon. The work draws on the iconic imagery of the United States flag that Neil Armstrong planted on the moon's surface, which in reality was bleached white by radiation due to the moon's limited atmosphere. Here, the white flag backdrop recalls this highest of accomplishments. The most prominent feature of the work is the word “Peace” painted in 11 Tang colored braille marks. This word hints at another goal we should all strive for, but also references the plaque Armstrong left on the moon that stated, “We came in peace for all mankind”. The choice of Tang points to the drink-maker’s strong marketing campaign around the lunar missions.
The variety of sizes for the braille marks points to Galileo's observation that gravity is indifferent to the size of an object. The choice of braille was used to point to our collective blindness towards many of the world's problems , and the fact Galileo went blind late in life.
Nelson Saiers: Tang
LOVE IS BLIND #2
Depicting the Braille text for “Love,” this painting brings into focus the true meaning of the word. The painting appears here with black marks on a black background with an off-center spot revealing a red blemish. The work's title, “Love is Blind,” is here disproved: Love in reality is all-seeing yet deeply accepting— recognizing the imperfections in others, and at the same time choosing to bear them joyfully. Here, one of the black spots is in the process of covering the imperfection of the red spot, demonstrating perfect love
Einstein Frowns wrestles with the essence of mathematical beauty. Euler's identity, e^(πi)+1=0, is considered by many to be the pinnacle of mathematical beauty because of its utter simplicity. It only consists of the five most important mathematical constants and the three most important arithmetical operations (subtraction and division are sisters of addition and multiplication and not considered operations in their own rights). In this work, the observation that zero equates to 'nothing' is employed. e^(πi)+1 appears as a Braille-based abstraction in black on a black background, thus the apparent blankness of the work simulates 'nothing' from a distance. In an effort toward utter simplicity and hence elegance, Greek Braille is used to represent π because just one Greek character is required, and it resembles the 'p' of English Braille. To represent the same concept in English Braille would require two letters, 'p' and 'i,' adding unnecessary complexity.
So why would Albert Einstein frown? His famous guidance, "Make everything as simple as possible, but no simpler," has been violated in two obvious ways. First, the choice of using Greek Braille to represent π has been negated by annotating an English Braille 'i' with a light black arrow. Now there is something unnecessary disrupting 'nothing.' Secondly, a portion of one of the dots that make up the constant 'i' (by which π is multiplied) has been truncated because it was placed over the right edge of the piece. By truncating, or oversimplifying, Euler's identity, its essence has not been conveyed, and its elegance has been destroyed. Both of these violations of Einstein's words of wisdom ruin the natural beauty of the equation and the resulting image would certainly meet with a disapproving grimace from one of the most profound minds of physics.