Jeanette Fintz - Artist


Symmetry of the plane, improvisation and ellipsis

in the Worldline Schreiber paintings, 2016–2018
Jeanette Fintz

School of Designs Strategies, Foundation, New School University, Parsons the New School for Design, NYC, NY,USA

Journal of Mathematics and the Arts      ARTICLE HISTORY Received 8 May 2018; Accepted 16 November 2018

   I am an abstract painter who has over the past 30 years completely succumbed to a love of geometry. Very early in my life as a painter, this manifested as a natural affinity for planar analysis, fracturing the surface using cubist processes. I am not by any means a math scholar, but there is in me a pull towards what it contains, that being elements of mystery and rationality which, through process, systematically lead me beyond perceptual reality to an higher order.
   In the mid-2000s, I began working with symmetry of the plane inspired by Islamic geometry, basing my paintings on the rose or star motif made by six circles arranged around an inner circle, found both in mosques and cathedrals as a serene iconic presence. Thereafter, I found my own pathways through the hexagonal grid that these made, pulling out rhombi and trapezoids, rectangles, and triangles. I did this not just with line but with color, creating planes receding, advancing and dissolving.
   Later, I began dividing my canvases at an oblique angle, contrasting different geometric configurations on either side of the line that were derived from the same underlying hexagonal grid. The isometric grid created all number of floating architectonic structures that I could then deflate or enhance at will. This series, entitled ‘Role Play’ (though it could have been tagged ‘unity in diversity’), was the harbinger of a spiritual undertone in my work.
   In 2016, I moved away from a full color palette for just blue and, white, and began to emphasize line solely, rather than shape. The painting presented, Worldline Schreiber # 2 (2016), is comprised of two overlapping grid systems, creating an unstable field that feels dynamic, fluid rather than fixed; conflicts and affinities and unusual three-dimensional structures seem to appear then disappear or shift their allegiance if you move your focus over eight inches or so. The linear entanglements and spatial double entendres generated, seemed to me to be visual diagrams for emotional and psychological attachments, as well as for phenomena in quantum physics.
   The base grid is one that is comprised of rotated squares with a 30–150 degree rhombus between them that I first encountered in a mosaic in Ephesus, Turkey, in 2013. This gives the surface a steplike chunkiness that then interacts with a hexagonal grid generated by six circles arranged around a central circle. Radial offshoots, often indicated with dashed lines, complicate the field, harmonizing with and interrupting the base layer angles. The rotation and location of the first placed square and first circle determine the axial implication and thrust that the painting will have.
   I use concentric circles in opportune locations to widen the circular energy if it feels right. The completed painting is really an editing of the grids to create ellipsis of edge, selecting which of the underlying elements appear and/ or disappear. The surface feels deep and shallow at the same time, flipping from volume to pattern, often flattening ambiguously. The uniform monochrome field emphasizes this ambiguity.
The series is named for a phrase that appeared to me in dream, Worldline Schreiber. I had to research it upon awakening it for it was completely unknown to my conscious mind. It apparently refers to the fourth dimension and is used in quantum physics to refer to entanglements of particles that, once in connection, are always in connection. It also is descriptive of the shape of one’s path through time and space over a lifetime.