The Equilibrium of Art and Science
Story by Mark Greenawalt,ŠJuly 1, 2006
Originally published in Ignite
On the surface, art and science may seem to be polar opposites, but the creative spirit of mankind has often been successful in marrying the two into breathtaking wonders. From the Great Pyramids of Egypt to the Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco, architectural beauty has been constructed with technical engineering precision. John Tzelepis continues in this tradition, and has mastered the craft of pouring his math and physics background into his structural designs of fine art.
Tzelepis's most notable achievement is a series of nine suspension studies that are reminiscent of scaled-down suspension cable bridges. Each one is unique and designed to balance in perfect equilibrium. The materials that make up his palette are primarily brass, stainless steel cables and rare earth magnets, but it is the hidden forces of gravity, tension and magnetism that add the magical touch. "Possessing visual and structural strength," he says, "the cables provide elegance and tension while supporting weight and allowing for flexibility and mobility." In his native Greece, Tzelepis nourished his interest in metalsmithing by designing jewelry. At 18 he moved to New York. There he refined his talents and developed additional skills while earning a degree in art from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs. More recently, Arizona State University honored him with a Master of Fine Arts, touting an impressive 4.0 GPA. His thesis culminated in January with a solo MFA exhibition, entitled "The Archimedean Point," at the Harry Wood Gallery in Tempe.
"Equilibrium," his subsequent solo exhibition, was held at MonOrchid in downtown Phoenix in April. The center point of this collection was a work called "Magnetic Field," which consisted of two arrays of magnets on seven-inch centers that are effectively suspended in midair. Suspension cables keep them at bay and counter the magnetic and gravitational forces that try to pull the arrays together. Tzelepis explains, "Magnetic force illustrates motion and tension, where two points are pulled together or repelled from each other in a force field created in the void of space."
The tweezers and pliers that once comprised his jeweler's tool box have now been supplemented with tools such as lathes, drill presses, oxy-acetylene torches and the chemical patinas that he uses to paint the finished pieces. Tzelepis hopes to one day raise the scale of his art once again and secure cranes and construction crews to erect his scientifically engineered designs of modern art.
This article can also be found
on-line at http://www.ignite-mag.com/templates/content-view/95/index.html
John's official website is http://www.johntzelepis.com