Arts & Culture / Mosaic / February 12, 2020

Professor explores math and science in art work

Art professor, Andrea Ferrigno is front of her painting inspired by mathematics and science. (Photo courtesy of Christopher Broughton)

Associate Professor of Art Andrea Ferrigno is interested in all the different ways she can bring the sciences into her work.

“I like how math and geometry try to make sense of the world in a very rational way and then with painting, it brings in this irrational or very subjective, intuitive, emotional feeling and bringing those things together,” Ferrigno said.

Since college, she has been interested in exploring topics such as geometry and the sciences. The connection between art and science and how science used to be regarded as an art during the Renaissance all influence her own work.

While painting may be what she focuses on, Ferrigno still has great interest in drawing and printmaking, mediums she is able to explore further through teaching at Knox.

The opportunity that she has at Knox to be able to teach art in so many different forms has been very valuable to Ferrigno.

“I pretty much always wanted to teach art. I didn’t want to try to make a living off my work. I want the focus to be on teaching and that being my main job,” she said. “That allows a lot more exploration of making work than trying to produce a recognizable product to sell. I didn’t want that pressure on the work.”

While finding the time to work on her own art during the school year is something she finds difficult to do, the impact that teaching has on what she creates is something she is very excited about.

“The teaching excites my work and then my work makes me think about things I’m teaching. That feels like a really nice symbiotic relationship,” she said.

Though the process of finding time to paint is something she struggles with often, Ferrigno still values the time she does get and finds the directness of paint itself and the exploration she can make into color very worthwhile.

But, while the process of starting a painting and actually making it is something that she enjoys a lot, having to finish a painting is a different story.

“I enjoy all the process of making paintings typically until it’s time to try and finish the work. Then it’s hard to know when to quit sometimes,” Ferrigno said.

Research and learning are aspects of art that Ferrigno finds a lot of value in through teaching. The ability to experience art is still something that excites her to this day.

The learning process of art and different artistic movements specifically drew Ferrigno to painting in the first place.

“I spent a lot of time looking at contemporary art that I didn’t really understand, but I felt connected with,” she said. “Then it was the process of getting to understand it and then getting excited about a lot of the ideas behind the paintings.”

While the work that she has created has evolved since her undergraduate work, the same things that first interested her are still influencing her work today.

Ferrigno has found that the work she is producing today is doing a lot more to challenge her in different ways.

After holding a solo art show in Des Moine, Iowa, over December and January, she has begun exploring more in her work without having the constraints of trying to fit everything into one cohesive body of work to be displayed.

Her exploration of architecture, geometry and the sciences will always be at the root of all her work, but finding new ways to challenge those ideas is what interests her currently.

“I love color and just the directness of working with the paint,” she said. “I love looking at paintings probably more than other things. I’m still probably a bit of a painting snob, but I think most painters are. I love the complexity and the infinite possibilities within it.”


Tags:  Andrea Ferrigno art Artist of the week drawing mathematics painting printmaking science

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