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Center for Astrophysics Research and Technologies Seminar Series Information

 

Events Calendar

Debunking Fractals in the Drip Paintings of Jackson Pollock

Friday January 26, 2018
3:30 pm


 Presenter:  Dr. Kate Brown, Hamilton College
 Series:  Physics and Astronomy Colloquium
 Abstract:  In the late 1990s, a group of physicists analyzed some of the most famous drip paintings by the celebrated Abstract Expressionist painter Jackson Pollock. Assuming Pollock underwent a particular type of chaotic motion, they found that every layer of every painting they analyzed possessed the same fractal characteristics. From this they conjectured that Pollock was able to create a unique fractal 'signature' in his work, and that fractal analysis could therefore be used as an authentication tool in paintings of disputed origin. It turns out that this hypothesis of  'Fractal Expressionism' is flawed in several important ways. I will present an account of the techniques used in fractal analysis and the pitfalls which ensue from applying them to Pollock's drip paintings. I will also discuss several new findings from the realm of fractal mathematics which were motivated by this work. 
 Host:  Dinesh Loomba
 Location:  Room 125, Dane Smith Hall
 

Refreshments will be available before the colloquium, at 03:15 pm, in in the lobby of Dane Smith Hall.

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