George Hart

2016, 40” diameter, laser-cut wood (stained)

Anemone is an abstract form assembled from sixty identical flat components which weave through each other in an intricate manner.  The wood parts are stained different colors on the inside and outside, which helps the viewer discern its structure more clearly.  They are assembled with cable ties, which I left unclipped on the outside to give it an organic feeling, reminiscent of an undersea organism or a cell with cilia.

To design the structure, I began with an Archimedean dual polyhedron called the “pentagonal hexecontahedron”.  Each part lies in the plane of one of the polyhedron’s sixty faces, but extends beyond the face. Because the polyhedron is symmetric with identical faces, I could design the parts to all be identical.  Wherever two parts meet, they join at a line which is the intersection of two planes.  I wrote special software to help me calculate the necessary lengths and angles for everything to meet exactly and output a file for guiding a laser-cutter.

To fabricate the sculpture, I used a laser-cutter to make the parts. Then using a disk sander, each is beveled to the proper dihedral angles on the edges where they butt together.  The faces are surface sanded, water-based stain is brushed on front and back, and a clear matte finish applied.  Once I have prepared the parts for a sculpture, I enjoy organizing a group of helpers do the actual assembly.  In this case a couple of hours of careful work is required, using 180 cable ties.


1998, 35” diameter, aluminum

Whoville can be seen as 60 identical “doorways” passing through each other. I wanted to create a sense of confused ups and downs, after M.C. Escher, in a self-contained three-dimensional form.  The name derives from Dr. Seuss’ stories about Whoville, because as I worked, I recognized the curve I made was similar to his doorways.

The geometry of the form derives from an icosahedron and dodecahedron in mutually dual position, which would lie in the empty central region of the sculpture.  The five-fold dimples correspond to the vertices of the icosahedron and the three-fold dimples (in the “basements” of the three-sided buildings) correspond to the vertices of the dodecahedron. The lines of the sculpture extend or parallel the edges of these polyhedra.  The rectangular form of each doorway was chosen to be a golden rectangle and the triangles chosen to create parallel planes.

To fabricate the sculpture, I first made paper models to develop the form and refine the curves.  Then I cut and drilled the aluminum parts, bent the folds on a hand-brake, assembled everything using with rivets and gave it a wire-brushed surface finish.


To learn more about George Hart, try one of these resources:

George Hart’s website

Euclid’s Kiss: A fast tour through an exhibit of Hart’s mathematical sculpture at the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics at Stony Brook University.