Allen Hirsh


Allen Hirsh's interest in being an artist comes from growing up in a close-knit community in Central New Jersey in the early 1950s as the son of Jewish chicken farmers turned landscapers. His parents’ switch to horticulture was a true gift to him, nurturing a fascination with exotic plants and gardens beginning in his elementary school years, an attachment that has remained with him to this day. Indeed, it is photographic images of the plants that he grew in his own exotic garden that serve as the initial basis for much of his digital art. Today, while still a practicing biophysicist, he has also developed as a mathematical artist. In the last few years, slowly cooking in his subconscious was a scheme for a very large and complex color and space manipulation engine. It took him some time to finally sit down and write the code, which he is continually expanding, but it has been fully operational for some time, allowing him to create a wide array of representational, impressionist, surreal and abstract images purely through the use of mathematics. He was juried into The Foundry Gallery, the oldest artist’s collective in Washington, DC, in 2013 and later into the online studios gallery of Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona. He has been accepted into about 50 competitive art shows and won 6 awards. He was invited to speak at The Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion (DoSER) at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in the summer of 2015.

Artist Statement

Using only mathematical software he has created, Allen Hirsh rearranges digital images of the physical world to create richly structured abstractions, startlingly surreal portraits and landscapes and softly enticing impressionist images inspired by his favorite artist, Monet. He favors rich colors and complex patterns with broken symmetries inspired by the biological world he has studied throughout his life as a working biophysicist. When he set out to make his form of mathematical art he had several goals in mind: First, he wanted to demonstrate that mathematical systems, properly crafted, could produce a much richer set of artistic images than the hyper-geometric, fractally generated images that typically characterize mathematical art. A crucial element of this first goal was to create textures and abstractions that are as “painterly” as possible. A second goal was to explore as wide a range of mathematical systems as he could, utilizing classic elementary functions, differential difference equations, numerical differential equations, numerical integral equations logic gates and recursion, to systematically broaden the range of images he can create. A third goal was the hybridization of real world images that are seemingly incompatible, e.g. flowers and printers, Dutch windmills and people, cafes and vases of silk flowers. This transformation process often produces startlingly unexpected results. He had an overarching goal of producing images that are compellingly beautiful while simultaneously exploring the limits of beauty as they relate to mathematically generated hybridizations and transformations. This last goal flows naturally from his love of both gardening and math. We know that many of the most precious things in our lives are the gifts of beauty bestowed by the natural world, e.g. flowers, trees, butterflies and birds. he try to explore the limits of that innate beauty using mathematics as his brushes and photographs as his paint.

Allen’s website