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Warwick Mathematician and Artist in Coventry War Memorial Park Project

"Equate" is a new project bringing together Coventry visual artist Lesley Whelan, and University of Warwick mathematician Adam Boddison, to work on a project at Coventry's War Memorial Park.

Equate, funded by Arts Council England, is a working partnership between the artist, the University of Warwick mathematician, the Friends of the War Memorial Park, Coventry City Council, The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Arts + Media Training.

Adam Boddison and Lesley Whelan

Lesley said: "The project started in January 2009, and we are at the stage now where we are researching the War Memorial Park, working in different sections and studying things such as leaf shape, tree formation and geometrical similarities. My vision is to use the data collected from the park to produce a number of small pieces of work that will map out the park mathematically. These pieces will hopefully be displayed in the Herbert Art Gallery and one or two may be displayed in the Park in the future, so that the potential to learn and communicate through the different disciplines can be appreciated. It is also hoped that with help from volunteers and the Friends of the Park a leaflet can be produced to enable park visitors to understand my work and to view for themselves the inspiration behind the pieces."

"It’s really easy for an artist to keep producing work that will sell. You establish what the public wants and then produce work that will shift. Financial constraints make this a reality but the downside is that you are not moving forward with your ideas. You are stuck in a rut. So being given the opportunity to take risks and produce new and exciting work that pushes the boundaries is fantastically liberating. The ‘Equate’ project is funded by Arts Council England. This organisation gives artists such as myself the opportunity to return to the drawing board; to challenge what they are doing, to experiment and to start thinking on a different level."

"So why maths? Well it was certainly something I never excelled at in school. I got my GCE O level and heaved a sigh of relief! The reality is that maths is all around us though; the perfect world of mathematics is reflected in the imperfect world of nature. As a visual artist interested in the natural world this was something I just couldn’t ignore: from Fibonacci to fractals, from spirals to rotations, from golden ratios to curves, the possibilities are endless. Maths is everywhere."

 "Adam Boddison, the mathematician I’m working alongside from the University of Warwick, is an inspirational and highly motivated individual. He has extensive teaching experience and has recently worked with several networks of schools across the country on creative approaches to mathematics through the Creative Partnerships initiative. In addition to this, Adam has disseminated his research findings at international conferences. This is an exciting opportunity for him also."

 "Above all, I’m a visual artist inspired by the colours, textures and patterns found in the natural world. My work is almost sculptural quality, and I have developed certain techniques which I think are fairly unique – burning, melting and distressing the work surface, and then layering on paint. I often use bright, sometimes discordant colours, to evoke the vivid and changing environment that I see before me. This is a very exciting and innovative project for the Park and for Coventry."

Adam Boddison said : “There are many exciting aspects of the Equate project, but the thing that appeals to me most is the idea that it has the potential to bring mathematics to the diverse community that use the Coventry War Memorial Park.  Whether people already know a lot about the mathematics in the park or not, there is a still lot to discover about the way in which this the patterns, order and chaos have inspired Lesley’s artwork.”

“Part of my motivation for becoming involved with Equate was that it followed on brilliantly from a Lord Rootes funded project in 2006, The Role of the Park in the Community, which sought to identify how Birkenhead Park and Central Park served their respective localities.”

“Working with Lesley has been a challenging, yet rewarding experience.  I have had to learn some new mathematics and to revisit some mathematics that I had not looked at for some years.  I am now looking forward to seeing how my thoughts on the mathematics in the Coventry War Memorial Park represent themselves in Lesley’s artwork.”

Note for editors:  Lesley Whelan is a contemporary British Artist. She studied Art at Birmingham and is currently based on The Canal Basin in Coventry. 

For further information please contact:

Lesley Whelan, Studio 11, Canal Warehouse,
Coventry CV1 4LH
Tel: 07762 139438

Peter Dunn, Press and Media Relations Manager, Communications Office,
University House University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 8UW
024 76 523708  or 07767 655860 email:
Twitter  @PeterJDunn

PR97 PJD                   
8th September 2009