In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Alan Turing’s birth, I thought I’d put together a posting of some of my paintings that owe a direct debt to Mr. Turing, and not just because he’s one of the fathers of computer science (see today’s Google Doodle). These paintings feature “Turing Patterns” as the key compositional structure. Turing predicted in a highly cited (though little known to the general public) paper that a “reaction-diffusion” process in nature could be responsible for various patterns in nature, such as the stripes on a zebra or the spots on a leopard. (I recently attended the Turing Centennial Celebration at Princeton University, where Professor James Murray gave a fascinating talk showing how the various patterns on some animals are largely dependent upon the shape of the animal in the early stages of its development.)
Several years ago, while I was experimenting with ways to create interesting patterns that had a certain balance between the positive and the negative shapes, I developed a technique to create what I found to be fascinating, curvy patterns. It was only later that I learned these patterns were Turing Patterns and had been discovered half a century earlier. For me, they provide a limitless variety of structures on which to play with the interaction of color, embed meaning (through the starting state of the “morphogenesis” process or through the enfolding of twists and turns into the pattern), and create layers of interlocking design.
Here are a few of my Turing Pattern Paintings:
Creation is now hanging at the “Trenton Makes” exhibition at the Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie through September 1, 2012 (opening reception tonight, June 23, from 7-9pm!):