The paintings in this series are generated from a
vertical sculpture. The color column is a segmented sculpture made
of six stacked hexagonal volumes, separated by bearings, and free
to rotate on a central shaft. The face of each hexagonal volume
is painted one primary color of the rainbow sequence—red,
orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. The volumes can be turned
to create a variety of color compositions.
Six color columns were
placed in a row to form the basis for the paintings. Each hexagonal
volume facet can display
two or three colors depending on its rotated position. A centered
flat face shows a portion of the two adjacent colors. A corner
view shows two adjacent colors obliquely. Each volume can display
twelve distinct color scenes. In the paintings, sunlight is falling
from high on the left. Some facets of the hexagonal volume are
therefore in direct light, in racking light, or in shadow. Each
column of six stacked hexagonal volumes offers two million, nine
hundred eighty five thousand, nine hundred eighty four possible
views. A row of six columns of hexagonal volumes, offers thirty-six
to the twelfth distinct images. A number will beyond the ability
of my pocket calculator.
I began to study some possible ways to arrange the color positions.
A book by Mario Livio, 'The Golden Ratio', Broadway Books, 2002,
introduced me to the famous Fibonacci sequence. Leonardo Fibonacci,
circa 1170's - 1240's, of Pisa, wrote a book in 1202 that introduced
the Hindu-Arabic numerals we use today to replace Roman numerals.
In chapter XII, he posed an interesting problem about the reproduction
quantity of breeding rabbits. The resulting numbers revealed a
special sequence. Each term, starting with the third, is equal
to the sum of the two preceding terms. The sequence starts out
as follows: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, ... This
was dubbed the "Fibonacci Sequence" in the nineteenth century.
The ratio of two successive numbers, further and further down
the Fibonacci sequence, oscillates closer and closer to the Golden
Ratio, which is 1.618033. This very special number is favored
by mathematicians and by artists.
To begin translating
the numbers into color positions, I used the plan of the hexagon volume with
its six colors and its sequence of alternating flat facets and
corner positions. Arbitrarily taking flat red as the starting place,
I numbered counterclockwise noting the colors of each successive
position. The painting, 'Fibonacci I' records this sequence moving
additively. The painting 'Fibonacci II', records the sequence always
counting from the starting place, red. I plan to add other paintings
generated by the use of the Color Column.
Malcolm Montague Davis