by Shawn Vinson
DIFFERENT TRAINS GALLERY Director/Partner
With only three days left until the M.C. Escher + exhibition comes to a close, we've been reflecting on the sensational response we've had to this outstanding show. It opened in conjunction with the 13th Biennial Gathering 4 Gardner on Friday the 13th of April, and we had the good fortune of hosting an international assembly of 300 mathematicians, polymaths and all-around-brilliant people for an afternoon street fair and Escher preview reception. The + in the exhibit's title refers to the group of acclaimed math artists whose work was also featured, adding a fresh perspective and verifying Escher's vast influence on artists and mathematicians worldwide.
It was a joy to welcome Antonio Peticov, who travelled all the way from Brazil, and Akio Hizume from Japan. We spent time with George Hart, Paul Hildebrandt, John Miller, Robert Fathauer and Chaim Goodman-Strauss. Our friend Dick Esterle was here, and we introduced a new artist to the G4G circle, Atlanta's own Erin Sledd. We paid tribute to the late Marc Pelletier by showing his remarkable prints and his widow, Amina Buhler, kindly loaned us an Escher confectionary tin that was given to them by Donald Coxeter - who originally received it as a gift from Escher himself! Atlantan Eben Dunn, Colorado artist Clark Richert, Fabien Vienne from Paris, English painter Marek Tobolewski, and the late great French-Hungarian op artist Victor Vasarely rounded out the show...
It was a privilege to have Professor Doris Schattschneider at the gallery. Earlier that morning, she visited Atlanta's NPR station WABE for a live interview on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes". The author of many Escher books, including Visions of Symmetry, gave an insightful presentation on 'Math & M.C. Escher's Art' later that evening at the Decatur Presbyterian Church.
Escher loved Bach, once writing "I believe that no music moves me as much.", so we invited the supremely talented oboist Natalie Twigg to play in the gallery. She was enchanting! Outside on the balcony, the lovely Jessica Messere played Bach's cello suite while guests enjoyed a catered lunch and some southern hospitality from our pals at Georgia Smoke BBQ.
If there was a rock star in attendance, it had to be Ernő Rubik, the Hungarian architect, professor and inventor of Rubik's Cube. He held court upstairs for hours and always seemed to have a trail of fans following him. Speaking of rock stars, this exhibition was made possible in the first place thanks to our friend & colleague, Skot Foreman. We actually began planning this show before we knew G4G was coming to Decatur.
I wonder what mathematicians make of serendipity?
The Gathering 4 Gardner was the brainchild of the late Tom Rodgers, an Emory grad, puzzle collector and polymath, who was a fan and a friend of Martin Gardner. He invested countless hours, and dollars, to create G4G over twenty six years ago, basing it at the Ritz Carlton in downtown Atlanta. After the first few gatherings, Tom's wife Sarah, owner/partner of Different Trains Gallery, suggested they invite everyone to their beautiful Japanese style home in Buckhead for a day of food, drink, music, magic, math and camaraderie. We're honored to continue that tradition here in the Old Depot District.
Martin Gardner was a 25-year contributor to Scientific American magazine with his 'Mathematical Games' column and introduced countless readers to 'recreational math'. He is also at least partially responsible for bringing Escher's work to the US, having written him in the early 60s to ask if he could use some prints to illustrate an article about tessellations. As it turned out, Escher was a fan of Martin Gardner's book, The Annotated Alice and he happily agreed. The two formed a lifelong friendship - although the editors of the magazine were not held in the same esteem by Escher, having decided to colorize his print without permission before placing it on the front cover!
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