It All Adds Up…..

This group of drawings, called NEW MATH, is visual therapy for my angst-ridden relationship with numbers. Remember how bewildering it was when they introduced “New Math” in school? I never got over wondering what happened to “Old Math.” Was it in an assisted living facility? Was it put to ‘sleep’ like an unwanted puppy at the pound or buried in  a city landfill? And what the hell was wrong with “Old Math”?  Why did I have to play with little colored “cusinare rods,” and how did they possibly relate to real numbers? Why would anyone  be emptying a tank at the same time as they were filling it? This last “word problem” is what stopped me dead in math class…FOREVER. I  could never get past the philosophical issue of what a waste it was to be emptying and filling a tank at the same time.

While taking the math SAT,  I filled in the little circles in neato patterns. My score was so low that I think I got into college as a freak of nature, a curiosity, if you will, a sideshow example of a living girl with no relationship to numbers. Step right up, folks.  But I digress…

Absent any real understanding of what they mean, I find the visual tangle of hundreds of numbers quite beautiful . The shapes of numbers, bouncing off of each other in a cheerful jumble, their values no more or less meaningful than those of other marks. Every now and then one jumps out at you and may trigger a thought. “A giant 8, what grade was I in when I was 8?” “5? Best birthday party, ever!” But the constant jostling for dominance- why after all is a seven bigger than a three- is gone. They are shapes  and patterns and simply beautiful marks on a page.


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2 Responses to It All Adds Up…..

  1. Arthur says:

    Just goes to show you, there are 10 kinds of people. Those who understand binary and these who don’t.

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