Popular demand led the museum to extend the exhibit until Jan. 24, but Steel suggested those who have yet to stop by should do so before the final throngs of fans attend this weekend.
Mark McCombs, a senior lecturer in the UNC Department of Mathematics, teaches a first-year seminar called “Mathematics, Art and the Human Experience,” which examines the mathematical aspects of Escher’s tessellations and artistic optical illusions. He said he plans to take his class to view the exhibit.
“One of the aspects of his work that’s interesting in a mathematical setting is how, with his use of symmetry, he’s able to create images that are almost like puzzles,” McCombs said. “Some of his pieces look almost impossible. It’s like visual paradox. You see things that because of his use of perspective leave you wondering ‘How could that possibly be?’”
Steel said Escher’s perfectionist tendencies and ability to utilize sketches from across his career in later prints set the artist apart. But Steel said he particularly appreciates that Escher rewards those who pay close attention.
“Escher wants you to look at his prints hard and think about them. The longer you spend with them and the more closely you look at them — he rewards that kind of attention,” Steel said.
Junior mathematics and physics major Josh Horowitz visited the exhibit over break with his family. He said seeing the pieces in person allowed him an appreciation even for familiar prints he had seen before in pictures.
“Seeing the Escher pieces at the exhibit, as opposed to in pictures, lets you see a lot more detail,” Horowitz said.
“It also makes you feel much closer to the artist knowing the artist touched these pieces and worked on them themselves.”