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 spaceworlds
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, observations and drawing discipline, 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, the majority of tessellation artists worldwide are men. The web lists
about 115 men and only 9 women worldwide creating tessellations. 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.
- Resilience: The Power of Adaptation, The Old School House, January 2022, Qualicum Beach, Canada
- M.C. Escher exhibition, September 2021, Genoa, Italy
- Bridges Math Art Conference August 2021, Helsinki and Espoo, Finland
- M.C. Escher exhibition, Drassanes de Barcelona, April to August 2021, Barcelona, Spain
- Joint Mathematics Meeting 2021 Art Exhibition, Virtual, Global
- MacMillan Arts Centre, 2020, Parksville, Canada
- Eckankar Centre, 2019, Victoria, Canada
- Poetry of Primes, Tessellation Artists group show, 2019, Matera, Italy
- Board Game House, 2017, Nanaimo, Canada
- MC Escher show, Palacio de Gaviria, 2017, Madrid, Spain
- MC Escher show, Brixen Bressanone Museum, 2017, Brixen, Italy
- Dormido Schlafpalais, 1995, Essen, Germany
- Galerie d’art Jean Claude Bergeron, 1994, Ottawa, Canada
- Cornwall Regional Art Gallery, 1994, Cornwall, Canada
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