Center: The Artist, Yvette Kaiser Smith, in her studio by Chicago photographer Jim Newberry in April 2010
Clockwise from top left corner:
Commission work in progress from summer 2012. One of two panels that became “Unique: 97 in e” Final dimensions 98” x 126” x 4” This group of 96 flowers utilizes a traditional crochet form called Teardrop. 96 plus 1 for the division within the panel equals 97, a prime number which in itself is unique. Although each of the 96 individuals was crocheted to be exactly the same, every aspect of the material and creation process transformed each standardized pattern into an individual uniquely different from the other. Math maps out a seemingly random pattern as it distributes 8 different tones and values of blue according to the first 96 digits of the infinite number e.
Identity Sequence e Black (2007) 72” x 92” x 32” Identity Sequence RW pi (2007/2008) 88” x 112” x 6” Installation shot from “Digits” solo exhibition at Alfedena Gallery in Chicago during Spring 2008. Photographer: James Prinz “Identity Sequence e Black” is based on the first 49 digits of the number e. I wanted it to feel like a small section that seems to be cut away from a much larger one. Grid is constructed from 49 units in 7 rows by 7 columns. Here the digits are articulated by two systems: tonal gradation of the black where the darkest color value represents the 9 digit and no color represents 0; and the distance each unit pushes away from the wall, where units representing the 9 digit push 32” away from the wall and the zeros barely pooch up. The units are joined to form 3 solid vertical sections (2 columns, 3 columns, 2 columns).
Pi Etude . . . 47564 (2009), detail, 39” x 36” x 14” Side view. Etude from pi . . . 47564 is a direct articulation of a sequence of 5 digits from the infinite number pi. From front view, panels appear the same, but vary in spatial depth. Value 4 is closest to the wall and value 7 pushes away from the wall the farthest.
Studio shot from late Fall 2007, multiple works in progress for the “Digits” exhibition. Hanging on the right side are older works from 2002.
Grid (7+ strings folded into 1 dimension) (2012) 24” x 24” x 6” Off Grid (2012) 23” x 24” x 2” The first two variations of hopefully a much larger series that finds grid structures in traditional crochet all-over patterns.
From “Digits” exhibition, Alfedena Gallery, 2008, photograph by James Prinz. Based on the beginning sequenced from the number e, “Identity Sequence e 4” (121” x 117” x 8”) is constructed from 323 small units, 17 rows by 19 columns, to look like an enlarged section of a microscopic organic blueprint. Flesh toned units directly articulate each digit. The four molecule sequence of human DNA determined the use of four alternating colors which serve as the space between each flesh toned digit. The small units are joined together to form 9 sections, 3 rows by 3 columns, like a tic tac toe grid.
"I create my own fiberglass cloth by crocheting continuous strands of fiberglass into flat geometric shapes. These are formed and hardened with the application of hard-finish polyester resin and the use of gravity. A visual articulation of mathematics is used to generate random visual patterns through form and color distribution by utilizing the grid, Pascal’s Triangle, and sequences from numbers pi or e. Larger works are straight forward, more obvious, interpretations of each digit, while the source math in the small works is less evident.
My current practice of creating math generated work and crocheting fiberglass began twenty years ago when I started making sculpture that dealt with abstracting narratives of identity. Within this context, an exploration of fiberglass and resin led me to crocheting fiberglass roving. Years later, the same pursuit led me to start mapping patterns from math sequences. In terms of identity, math is the underlying principle in all of life and, as the search for numbers went on for thousands of years, numbers represent the human search for knowledge. All cultures seem to have their own lace tradition, a tradition of time, labor, and creativity. If identity is a hybrid of our heritage, then lace is, as tradition of time, labor, and creativity, one tiny point of intersection that connects us all." —Artist, Yvette Kaiser Smith