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Matthew Harwood: The Art of Prime Numbers


December 11, 2019


All of the day
The Art League Gallery


The Art League Gallery
105 N. Union St., Studio 21, Alexandria, VA 22314

Infinite beyond comprehension and unyielding in their espousal of fact, prime numbers are the muse of artist and architect, Matthew Harwood. His solo exhibit, The Art of Prime Numbers, investigates the relationship between prime numbers and their multiples, using vivid digital drawings to give form to the intangible, shaping parabolas into patterns, trigonometry into triptychs. The exhibit will be on view at The Art League gallery, December 12, 2019-January 5, 2020.

To help his audience better understand the complexity of such disciplines, Harwood wrote an entertaining, easy-to-digest book, A Visual Journey into the World of Prime Numbers, to serve as a companion to his exhibit. Scholarly yet lively, informative and approachable, the plot of his book follows a precocious artist and his kind-hearted mentor as they unravel the mathematics that Harwood has woven into his artwork.

Harwood prints his digital drawings onto metal, allowing the compositions to reflect and radiate light, lingering in the eye like a flare’s afterglow. Quantum Prime 7 is a visual delight of tendrilled lines, cosmic bubbles, and immovable numerals. His explorative imagery is itself a question and an answer.

Harwood was inspired to pursue number theory after studying the mathematical symmetry in human faces. “They say math is the language of nature,” he commented. The artistry of mathematics found in the natural world is remarkable to him, from the whorling choreography of a nautilus shell to the feral latticework of a bird’s nest. “There is more mystery to numbers than what has been taught,” added the artist, who hopes that viewers will join in his wonderment of the divine, infinite, chemical, and resolute beauty of prime numbers.

Matthew Harwood maintains a working studio inside the Torpedo Factory Art Center, where he continues to uncover the mysteries of prime numbers. He also serves as the Public Art Manager of the City of Alexandria.

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