Monday 16 September 2019

The colour and the shape: How geometry inspired this Irish-based artist’s striking artwork

Maths and art may not seem like obvious bedfellows but artist Miriam Fitzgerald Juskova has developed her own unique style based on her love of art, design and geometry.

Colourful and geometric prints have been used in art and design for time immemorial. However, the Slovakian native’s 3D artworks have found a novel way to combine geometry with techniques based on the ancient craft of paper quilling.

The resulting artworks are intricate, textured pieces with vibrant colour combinations that can light up a wall in your home.

Miriam will be showcasing and selling her work at the upcoming house 2019 event at the RDS from May 24-26. Ahead of the show, we talked to her about her influences, her distinctive style, and how she turns pieces of paper into visually-stunning pieces of work.

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The intersection of art and maths

With a father who used to paint and a mother and sister who both worked as maths teachers, it’s perhaps no surprise that these familial influences are reflected in Miriam’s work. The trained furniture designer has always gravitated to art that combines creativity, design and maths.

“It’s three-dimensional wall art that’s made entirely from paper,” says Miriam, when asked to describe her art.

“It’s flatter than a sculpture but it is 3D. All the paper strips are hand-cut and folded into shapes that follow a certain mathematical order or geometrical pattern, using symmetry, rotation or sequence to bring those pieces together.

“What I want to achieve is movement. When you pass by it, there is movement in my work. From each angle, you can get different feelings or outcomes from the art piece.”

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Anyone who watched the film Mary, Queen of Scots will remember the scenes where Queen Elizabeth (Margot Robbie) curled long strips of paper to create intricate flower designs. Paper quilling has been around for at least 500 years but people like Miriam are bringing this traditional craft into the 21st Century.

“I started doing this as a craft four years ago when I came across a few ideas on the internet,” explains Miriam.

“It’s based on a very old technique called paper quilling. Paper quilling is more about coils, curved shapes and column shapes. I bring my own twist to it with my love of geometry. I discovered that this technique helps me to express my love of geometry in a more artistic way.”

Geometry and mandalas as art

As part of her work, Miriam has explored the traditions of sacred geometry, patterns in nature, and the concept that everything in life is organised - even if it appears chaotic.

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Many of her pieces are based on mandalas, which feature heavily in ancient cultures like Buddhism and are said to represent the cosmos. These spiritual or ritualistic designs are often used for meditation and Miriam’s work captures that sense of finding order in chaos.

“A lot of my work is based on geometry and mandalas. Even the mandalas themselves are based on shapes like a hexagon or a pentagon so there’s always a certain symmetry involved. Mandalas are mostly made by intuition. I would just dive in and go with the flow.”

When making mandalas, she starts out with a shape like a pentagon, heptagon or hexagon and works instinctively from there.

“When I start with a mandala, you have your colours chosen, your geometric shape, and then it’s basically just cutting shapes and going with the flow and using your intuition.

Although it’s an intuitive approach, it does require lots of precision, measurement and detailed processes. Her larger pieces can take between 80 and 100 hours to complete.

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A growing interest in her art

Miriam met her Irish husband while they were both working in the US. The couple subsequently settled in Ireland, and Miriam combines her art career with raising three children and a day job.

Her previous show at the RDS was a great success, with pieces selling quickly and leading to more commissions and interest from major galleries. The new show will feature colourful mandalas in small and large sizes, some impressive geometrical pieces, and a first look at some new artwork from her latest series, Blueprint.

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You can find Miriam at stand L32 at the Art Loft area at house 2019. She will be one of 40 artists from Ireland and beyond showcasing the best of their artwork, alongside 160 hand-picked exhibitors and experts from the interior design industry.

house 2019, Ireland’s premier interior design event, takes place in the RDS from May 24-26.

Tickets are on sale now on the house 2019 website.

Sponsored by: house

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