Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences, Vol. 17, Iss. 2, April, 2013, pp. 317-323
@2013 Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology & Life Sciences


The Art and Science of Hyperbolic Tessellations

B. Van Dusen, University of Colorado, Boulder CO
R. P. Taylor, University of Oregon, Eugene OR

Abstract: The visual impact of hyperbolic tessellations has captured artists” imaginations ever since M.C. Escher generated his Circle Limit series in the 1950s. The scaling properties generated by hyperbolic geometry are different to the fractal scaling properties found in nature’s scenery. Consequently, prevalent interpretations of Escher’s art emphasize the lack of connection with nature’s patterns. However, a recent collaboration between the two authors proposed that Escher’s motivation for using hyperbolic geometry was as a method to deliberately distort nature’s rules. Inspired by this hypothesis, this year’s cover artist, Ben Van Dusen, embeds natural fractals such as trees, clouds and lightning into a hyperbolic scaling grid. The resulting interplay of visual structure at multiple size scales suggests that hybridizations of fractal and hyperbolic geometries provide a rich compositional tool for artists.

Keywords: fractals, hyperbolic tessellations, M.C Escher