Michael Schultheis, ‘Fourth Equation for Swallows’, 2017, Winston Wächter Fine Art
Michael Schultheis, ‘Fourth Equation for Swallows’, 2017, Winston Wächter Fine Art

Seattle-based artist Michael Schultheis finds inspiration and elegance in the world of analytics. Schultheis has a background in mathematics and economics, giving his wildly colored abstract paintings the appearance of chalkboards filled progressively with notations and illustrations. His expressive images mirror the abstract world of numbers and boldly invite viewers to consider the relationship between math and the human experience.

What makes Schultheis’ work relatable to any viewer is how he chooses to use these formulas and shapes. Human behavior, relationships, situational information is all translated mathematically. The speed at which we live our lives, character traits of individuals, our locations, are explained as velocity, eccentricity and radius. By sharing these stories via mathematics, Schultheis removes all judgment of behavior, and simply presents us with what is. This timeless and universal language becomes a way of connecting us all.

His work can be found in the collections of the Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, WA; United States Embassy, Athens, Greece & Bern, Switzerland; and the Mathematical Association of America, Washington DC among many others. Exhibitions of his works have been held at the Howard Hughes Institute in Chevy Chase, MD and at the National Academies of Sciences in Washington, D.C.

About Michael Schultheis

Inspired by the beauty of an erased chalkboard and its countless smudged layers, Michael Schultheis paints mathematical diagrams that encourage a new way of thinking about our world’s interconnectedness. Schultheis considers his surrealistic, abstract paintings “mindscapes” that reflect the thinking process of a mathematician. His paintings are born from equations that he writes in his canvas’s top left corners and that grow into diagrams and visual geometries covering the remainder of the canvas. Schultheis revises his equations by smudging or covering them with a layer of paint and drawing geometric diagrams or secondary equations over the painted area. This process continues until Schultheis’s equation reaches a conceptual, exploratory state.

American, b. 1967