While Bathsheba Grossman thinks of herself as a designer first and math-junkie second, her work over the past decade has done more to get people excited about the math-side of these digitally plotted objects than almost anyone. From her “Klein Bottle Opener” (a pretty math joke that makes a lovely gift) to models like the 120-Cell design (below), she draws on delights in math and geometry to guide her to striking sculptural creations:
I’m an artist exploring the region between art and mathematics. My work is about life in three dimensions: working with symmetry and balance, getting from the origin to infinity, and always finding beauty in geometry.
That’s to say, I like to think about shapes, and occasionally I think of a new one, and usually they come out very symmetrical. I’m like any artist in that it’s difficult to explain how and why this happens.
So I’ll write about my odd points. Apparently I’ve studied more math than most artists. I don’t use it very directly – I wouldn’t call myself a mathematician, and most of my designs are drawn rather than computed – but it’s plain that my creative engine is interested in this.
I like technology. 3D printing in metal is my main medium now, and I also work with subsurface laser damage in glass. This isn’t because I love gadgets, it’s much more trouble to do this than to use the mature tech that most sculptors enjoy. I do it because the shapes I have in mind aren’t moldable, and I want to make a lot of them. Those two constraints, taken together, turn out to be remarkably constraining: most traditional sculpture technology simply doesn’t operate on un-moldable objects.