August 5, 2011

Spiral Arms in Lexington

Ragged spiral arms, enclosed within a square, define a large metal sculpture standing in front of the College of Education at the University of Kentucky (Dickey Hall at 251 Scott Street). Titled "Exponential Symmetry," the artwork was created by Michael Martinez, a University of Kentucky alumnus.

The two-sided, boxed structure references the spiral geometry of a chambered nautilus shell, which in an idealized form incorporates the golden ratio in an equiangular or logarithmic spiral. (Real nautilus shells, when measured, typically fall short of this ideal. See "Sea Shell Spirals.")

According to the artist, the sculpture celebrates rationality and the human search for understanding, inspired and guided by the beautiful forms of nature. It embodies the notion that with language, writing, and mathematics, people learn from one another to organize, label, and classify the world around them to build an understanding of the planet.

Photos by I. Peterson