Past Resident

Samuel Allison

Growing up an architect’s son, I was early on captivated by the aesthetic side of geometry. Although I wasn’t taught of Euclid or Pythagoras, in standard-issue math textbooks I could sense something majestic pulsing in the diagrams, a mystery beyond anything that was mentioned in class. A few years ago, I returned to drawing by hand after years of photographing fractals & patterns in nature. This led me to pick up a ruler & compass, which instantly resuscitated my fascination with geometry as the measure of the world & consciousness. My artwork is increasingly guided by the universal tradition of geometry, and inspired by everything from cellular biology, ancient architecture, tantric mandala & yantra depictions, Amazonian shamanic art, and crop circles. 


These drawings came from naïve curiosity about number & shape. I read a peculiar maxim: God is a geometer. It was outrageous enough that I needed to investigate somehow. I couldn’t articulate it at the time, but the question that seized me was this: What is the mathematical aspect of Logos, the law of cosmic measure? Informed by a couple of the few books on the subject, I began exploring with compass, straightedge & pencil –– the classic tools that harken back to Pythagoras. The idea was that by eschewing the computer, I could find by hand an inherent sense of form, order & harmony. 

Even in my rudimentary first attempts, I found that by drawing basic geometry, especially the interlocking circles of the genesis pattern, my state of mind & sense of orientation in the cosmos were mirrored on paper. It was all there in lines & curves, shapes & patterns. However crudely, the drawings retraced what seemed like energetic gridlines, or the shapes of archetypes that govern the manifest world. It was geometric scripture, enigmatic & wide open for interpretation.

I drew this monochrome series during a month-long winter residency at ALN. Working strictly with pen & graphite allowed me to focus on composition & play with geometric forms that I’d been studying for a couple of years. Each drawing began by inscribing a circle & meditating on an iteration of my original question. How does this circle relate to the triangle, the square, the pentacle and hexagon? How does the monad become the trinity, and 3 double into 6 and triple into 9? How does a pentagram amalgamate into a golden spiral? 

Each composition led to an aspect of the cosmic architecture unfolding in an unpredictable way. Some lines & arcs I made deliberately over painstaking hours, while others were quick, spontaneous links that felt guided by the geometry itself. I sought a balance of revealed relationships & concealed connections. The complexity of the drawings arose from a few simple choices, each elaborated upon by the next according to a purely visual logic. Whenever I stepped back from a finished composition, it was a surprise, something I could never premeditate. 

Like everyone who delves into geometry, I find that while there is nothing new under the sun, the scope of novel interpretation is limitless. I hope these drawings inspire you to try your hand at geometry & discover for yourself all that it awakens in the inner & outer realms.