Continuum, Broken Symmetry, and More


The sculptures shown here span a thirty five year period and cover several areas of mathematics. I rely on mathematics even when spoofing the powers that be, such as "The All American Cookie Cutter" proposed for Kansas City or "Bullet Proof Campus Art" in front of the University of Denver Library.

The breadth of expression possible with mathematics as a discipline is almost endless. The real reason that I deal with mathematics is that this is what excites me. Just as it sets my brain off to hear Bach, so the exquisite natural laws of form strike a chord in me. Figurative sculpture is often amazingly beautiful, but I'm not built to do that.

"What if' has often been the question that starts the day dream that may turn into some twenty foot answer. But then I have been blessed by being asked to place my musings in front of edifices around the world. So in each case I ask the main question: "What is appropriate and why should it be here?"

The piece "Continuum" in front of the National Air and Space Museum is perhaps the most lucid example of this. The sculpture is a moebius of seven saddles. It was designed to represent the continuum of the universe. The center core of the sculpture represents a black hole where the edge represents the path of a star as it passes through going from positive to negative space and back. I felt" that the sculpture in front of the greatest museum about our space travel should also be about the concept of our universe and I was sure that the "Big Bang" theory was not right.

Well certainly only a few of the pieces are that heavy in their reasoning. I hope I never lose my sense of wonder of "What does it all mean?" The greatest thrill comes from the invention, when the bell rings clearly.

But that is only the beginning bell. Making this type of sculpture (large scale) is not like playing the guitar; where you enjoy the music while you play. One could say that it is just a lot of work but that's not all true either. Going from the idea to the real thing is a large part of the experience. The game is often about what material to use and how to build it so that you further the desired image. This period is a constant combat of needs and desires. It is also that overused phrase "The Creative Process."

But it's just play, a titillation of the brain. It all depends what you want to express with your obsession. If yesterdays' injustice drives some art, so be it. I am more interested in giving thanks for today's beauty and I am curious about tomorrow's questions.

Charles O. Perry
20 Shorehaven Road
Norwalk, CT 06855