Lawson Exhibits New Art Installations
During the 2012-2013 academic year, Purdue University's Department of Computer Science marks the 50th anniversary of its founding in 1962 as the first computer science department in the United States. In honor of this momentous occasion, the Richard & Patricia Lawson Computer Science Building will be showcasing the projects of several artists whose work celebrates the intersections of computer science and artistic expression. Two exhibits are continuing from the 2011-2012 year and new works have been added as well.
On Lawson’s second floor, Petrônio Bendito’s "Experience Color" exhibition explores color as an optical, psychological, and cultural presence. Bendito is an Associate Professor of Art and Design at Purdue University, and his art and research in computational color design methods has been presented internationally. Of his contributions he says, "I explore scientific and computational processes through my work. In the computer, algorithmic methods of producing or ordering sequences of color are limited only by one’s imagination. Models of perceptual color organization also impact my color design decisions. My work also raises questions about a potential digital color aesthetic."
Purdue University Professor Greg N. Frederickson, who joined the Computer Science Department in 1982, contributes "A Parade of Algorithmic Mathematical Art" – a collection of computer-generated images that illustrate geometric dissections of increasing sophistication. Dr. Frederickson’s three-dimensional pieces will be on exhibit on Lawson’s second floor, sharing case space with a digital frame displaying live animations. Elegant dissection methods are applied to symmetrical figures like stars. Garden benches twist to ring around a tree. These animations are algorithmic, Frederickson explains, because "we can detect algorithms both in the creation of smooth motion and in the use of dissection methods on certain infinite families of figures. So relax and enjoy the mesmerizing motion!”
David Spellmeyer contributed a series of striking photographs of cityscapes titled "Urban Geometry" which are on display on Lawson’s Third Floor. The photographs newly displayed in Fall 2012 are a continuation of his 2011-2012 collection. Recognized in 2011 as an Outstanding Alumnus by Purdue Computer Science (B.S. ’83), Spellmeyer is the current CTO/CIO of Nodality. His black and white photographs are captured, processed, and printed using a digital workflow. "My work often captures some combination of glass, concrete, and steel," Spellmeyer says. "I am drawn towards juxtaposition and balance in the symmetry, lines, arcs, and reflections, whether found in buildings, fountains, sculptures, the sky, or some combination." Spellmeyer’s photographs seek out surprising angles and rare light patterns in otherwise familiar scenes.
Newly exhibited in Fall 2012 is "The Quartet Collection" (PDF) – four series of digital prints by Clifford B. Peterson. Starting with one of his original paintings or photographs, Peterson alters and multiplies his source image into hundreds or thousands of variations, utilizing techniques such as extreme enlargement or reduction, simplification and complexification, transformation and layering, cropping and selection, and permutation and combination. Peterson, a West Lafayette resident and largely self-taught artist, notes that he “has worked with computer graphics for three decades, beginning at Purdue University North Central with the Apple II and LOGO and progressing to Macintoshes with Adobe programs.” His piece “Two to the Eighth Power Zoom” is exhibited on Lawson’s Third Floor. “A photograph of a lantana blossom in Purdue’s Horticulture Building garden is the source of these fifteen interrelated prints,” Peterson explains. Other works of Peterson’s can be seen in the Third Floor Leadership Suite and on Lawson’s First Floor in the Undergraduate Office.
Another new exhibit has an explicit connection to Purdue Computer Science’s 50th Anniversary celebration. Purdue University senior Visual Communications Design major Haley A. Richardson created a complex, multilevel timeline of Purdue Computer Science’s past 50 years, including important names, events, and a glimpse of the technological context. Built into the timeline are QR codes that take smartphone-equipped viewers to videos and other interactive elements on the Internet.
This art exhibition continues throughout the 2012-2013 academic year. It is hoped that it will not only beautify the surroundings and inspire the conversations of students, faculty, staff, and visitors who frequent the Lawson Computer Science Building, but will encourage those from elsewhere on campus – as well as the general public – to come explore these fascinating collaborations of art and science.