Tessellations by Francine Champagne
Originally from eastern Ontario, now living on Vancouver Island, I’ve been creating tessellations for quite a few decades. Intertwining lovable animals, hilarious humans and geometric constructs, the tessellation topics are endless. My passion has always been to draw, to draw tessellations, complex nested shapes.
The Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher has inspired hundreds of serious artists around the globe, in the many artistic fields that he did explore in his lifetime. Lithography, block printing and carving, impossible space-worlds and symmetry prints.
In my case, I have zeroed-in on the field Escher named Regular Division of the Plane. Also known as nested shapes or tessellations. An artistic field that requires geometry skills, understanding two dimensional space and relationships, as well as a good dose of imagination. The pure imagination that kids have when seeing dog shapes in the clouds. Listening to your intuition and letting the universe flow a few nudges past your peripheral vision.
There are not that many women that strive for excellence in this field of art, 99% of tessellation artists worldwide are men. David Bailey lists about 115 men and only 9 women worldwide creating tessellations. But I was never afraid of entering any male-dominated field of work, having spent time as a woodworker, a wood carver, a programmer/multimedia artist. My largest carving project was a collaboration on a 34-foot totem pole at Vancouver Island University, quite a challenge. A legacy project for me.
Since the arrival of tablets and apps, my body of work has exploded. It requires much less time to tweak the lines, back and forth, which is the beauty of tessellations, the perfect give and take, concessions to the line’s two sides, in the many segments that are codependents.
A Crystal Symmetry lecture at Carleton U in the winter of ’88 was the catalyst that opened the door to the wonderful garden of tessellations. As M.C. Escher once said: “In mathematical quarters, the regular division of the plane has been considered theoretically. Mathematicians have opened the gate leading to an extensive domain, but they have not entered this domain themselves. By their very nature, they are more interested in the way in which the gate is opened than in the garden lying behind it.”
I believe I have entered the garden, wandered and wondered. Explored. Stretched the possibilities and the rules of symmetry, sketched the potentials, and raised my eyebrows at the graphic results. My main purpose is to make you tilt your head, while looking at these tessellations. Hopefully a small aha and a smile. 😉
- Cornwall Regional Art Gallery, 1994, Cornwall, Canada
- Galerie d’art Jean Claude Bergeron, 1994, Ottawa, Canada
- Dormido Schlafpalais, 1995, Essen, Germany
- MC Escher show, Brixen Bressanone Museum, 2017, Brixen, Italy
- MC Escher show, Palacio de Gaviria, 2017, Madrid, Spain
- Board Game House, 2017, Nanaimo, Canada
- Poetry of Primes, Group show of Tessellation Artists, 2019, Matera, Italy
- Eckankar Centre, 2019, Victoria, Canada
- MacMillan Arts Centre, 2020, Parksville, Canada
- Joint Mathematics Meeting 2021 Art Exhibition, Virtual, Global
- Bridges Math Art Conference 2021, Helsinki and Espoo, Sweden
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