New work by Mary Burger

February 11 to April 15th
Opening Reception Saturday, February 18th 2 – 5pm

Knots in the Stream 2, Mary.Burger
Knots in the Stream 2, 2016, ink and watercolor on Stonehenge paper, 15 x 22 inches

Knots in the Stream is a series of works inspired by ‘knot’ tiles, complex geometric patterns that decorate many traditional Islamic buildings. Alhambra Palace in Grenada, Spain, the namesake of our local Alhambra Creek, is one such building.

Historic knot patterns combine straight-edge shapes—stars, diamonds, and so on—in arrangements that often appear to interlace and overlap like woven straps, giving them the name ‘knot’. The most complex knot patterns appear to be nonperiodic, a type of pattern that can extend infinitely over a surface without repeating, introducing new combinations but never leaving a gap.

These nonperiodic patterns are especially exciting to me. They suggest a model for finding order in chaos while allowing for variation and change. The knot patterns are a visual representation of complex perception, with its shifts and returns, its searching to join the familiar with the new.

In these works I use knot patterns from historic architectural examples as my starting point, and introduce variations to create unique designs. The drawings show the underlying arrangements of the basic shapes (in the faint red line). Surface ornamentation on these shapes (in black and blue) forms patterns that complement or even conceal the underlying shapes. In some pieces I repeat the same pattern at different scales, or introduce nongeometric shapes such as background washes, to explore other possibilities.

The complexity of these simultaneous, shifting patterns leads to finished pieces that I could not have anticipated, and that seem to me to change each time I look at them.

The Studio Mind, situated on Alhambra Creek, is an ideal venue for showing these works that explore an artistic association in our midst that might otherwise be overlooked.

-Mary Burger, Dec 2016