Constellations of Form: New Compositional Elements Related to Polyominoes

James Mai and Daylene Zielinski
Bridges London: Mathematics, Music, Art, Architecture, Culture (2006)
Pages 351–358


A predominant theme of artist James Mai’s compositions is the development of finite sets of related objects derived from permutational processes. Each element is distinct, yet all of them share particular features. Thus, he develops families of objects that are at once diverse since each object is visually distinct and integral since the set of objects is exhaustive. These objects provide the elements for combination and composition in paintings and digital prints. Recent permutational investigations by Mai have yielded objects we call point arrays and strutforms, which are related to polyominoes via dual graphs. These new objects, however, have greater variety than polyominoes and offer some new opportunities for a different interpretation of tilings. The results of these investigations are visible in the digital print, Heart of Sky, which includes the complete sets of 3- and 4-strutforms in a “close-packed” or minimal area arrangement. Mai is currently working on compositions with the set of 5-strutforms.