Square the Circle

January 13 – February 18, 2023

“Tomb of Archimedes” – David Ligare

Kimm Barnes • Lucas Blok • Mary Buskirk
Annette Corcoran • Ed Corpus • Rick Deragon • Ellen Gust • Mary Hill
Don Hughes • Andrea Johnson • David Ligare • Richard Mayer • Karen Nagano
Joe Aki Ouye • Marcia Perry • Charles Strong • Jerry Takigawa • Pamela Takigawa
Sam Tchakalian • Nina Temple • Amy Thornberry • Irene Tuttle • Jan Wagstaff
Karen Warwick • Chris Winfield  • Robin Winfield

Curator’s Statement

The idea of squaring the circle originated, apparently, in Euclidean geometry. It’s a math puzzle, and was also used to symbolize alchemy. It’s also used as a metaphor to indicate attempting an impossible task, and philosophically to see equally in four directions. As a phrase, it covers all the bases.

Begin looking around, and you’ll see geometric forms everywhere. Architecture, plant life, farm rows, human form, even woven fabric; grids, circles, cylinders, triangles and cubes surround us. Whether intentionally, or not, geometry is part of how we see the world.

Some of the artists here refer directly to geometry in their imagery. Some do not. Regardless, the underlying geometric structure is there. Sculpture seems naturally to make geometric forms visible, some times, at least.

In geometry class, we learned the rules allowing us to measure areas, identify a radius or a diameter, and recognize and name types of angles. Our brains already knew what these things were; now we had names for them. Many of us forgot the calculations we learned in class immediately, but we, as always, saw the shapes. Even when geometry wasn’t top-of-mind, the shapes and forms emerged.

  -Martha Manson

Here are some quotes by artists and architects about geometry: 

And since geometry is the right foundation of all painting, I have decided to teach its rudiments and principles to all youngsters eager for art.
Albrecht Durer

My forms are geometric, but they don’t interact in a geometric sense. They’re just forms that exist everywhere, even if you don’t see them.
Ellsworth Kelly

The world of sculpture precedes by many years the world of architecture.
Santiago Calatrava

Geometry is to the plastic arts what grammar is to the art of the writer.
Guillaume Apollinaire