Ellissa Collier - Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program

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Materials and Process

  • Compass
  • Watercolors
  • Graph paper

Artist's Narrative

I created this pattern using a square lattice with emphasis on the diamond shapes rather than the interlocking circles. There is reflective symmetry along horizontal and vertical axis points. The border pattern comes from a page from the Koran at the Mosque of the Sultan Barquq (14th c.), illustrated in Arabic Art in Color.

Teacher's Comment

The field pattern here is also created by overlapping circles aligned on a square grid. But the pattern is contained within a border. Without the border, there is a sense that the pattern could go on forever; within the border, the pattern is (literally) contained. Every such finite pattern, however, implies infinity. Many patterns in Islamic art seem to express the paradox of finiteness and infinity as a visual theme.

The square format adopted for this practicum is typical of Mamluk art in Egypt in the 14th century; it was also a favored format of the Almoravids in Spain and North Africa. Artists who worked for Mamluks and Almoravids rulers also enjoyed playing with symmetries of color in overlapping and inersecting circles.

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