Main Gallery

Going Origami

From Art to Math to Science+Beyond

October 3 - November 15, 2009

Curated by Terry Donohue

Christine Edison, Peter Engel, Goran Konjevod, Robert Lang, Linda Mihara and Bernie Peyton

The sophisticated algorithmic models of the  art of Origami have influenced modern science, mathematics, architecture, automotive and space design, computer programs, medicine and games. Contemporary origami as a creative art / craft form has exploded with astonishing innovations. Today there are Origami societies and organizations in many parts of the world, with origami stars who range from famous scientists to students. In this exhibition, Christine Edison  is a high school math teacher and Peter Engel is an architect,  Goran Konjevod divides his time between teaching mathematics at Arizona State University and working at Lawrence Livermore Lab in California.  Robert Lang is a physicist who helped develop laser technology, Linda Mihara is a designer and whose grandfather wrote the first books in English on origami, Bernie Payeton is a wildlife biologist. All have created new forms of sophisticated, witty and surprising origami.

As an art form Origami (or-ee-ga-me, from the Japanese words for folding and paper) was developed in Japan sometime around the 6th century. Historically designs were transmitted orally until Senbazuru Orikata published the first book to set down instructions for origami in How to Fold One Thousand Paper Cranes in 1797.  In the 1950s, Akira Yoshizawa and Sam Randlett are credited with developing the diagrams and instructions that are used in modern origami as it is practiced today around the world.

Most of the pieces in this exhibition are created from a single sheet of paper without cuts or adhesives. There is wit, humor and elegance in the work. They are truly amazing.

There are other traditions of paper folding art including the intricate geometric figures created by the Islamic Moors in the 6th century. This style has continued to fascinate modern mathematicians who use origami to express and explore complex geometry and modern engineering. In the October edition of National Geographic magazine, Robert Lang PhD. describes scientific applications of origami  concepts in cutting edge technology from space telescope lenses  to unfolding stents in human arteries.  Another familiar application is origami algorithms used in designing airbags for our cars.