Beautiful proportions, sharp lines and a pared-down colour palette: Didymus Bernadotte’s artwork stands out like pyramid amongst the usual landscape paintings one regularly sees on the West Coast.
His geometric creations reflect an overtly simplistic perspective rooted in mathematics. Every single object on a Bernadotte canvas can be linked to the Golden Ratio (.618).
“I couldn’t see myself painting rocks or hills or trees or skies or what not. It just did not turn me on at all. I wanted to simplify things,” said Bernadotte.
Using his knowledge as a professionally trained architect, he develop an original style he calls “Orthophigraphic”, meaning the discipline of drawing using phi.
He went on to explain his creative process by using the Fibonacci number sequence.
“One plus one is equal to two, two plus one is equal to three, three plus two is equal to five, three and five is eight, eight and five is 13, 13 and eight is 21, 21 and 13 is 34. Now, the relationship between any of these numbers is .618.”
“If you divide 8 into 5 it becomes roughly .618. It’s the most simply thing in the whole universe,” said Bernadotte. “Everything I do in all my paintings is all proportion to .618.”
To simplify his artwork even further, Bernadotte cast off all the colours he didn’t like, leaving a basic palette of only blue, brown, black, white, grey and gold.
“I have a theory that there is a universal mind and we have brains that are very much like radio. Some radios can turn higher frequencies than others,” said the artist.
“Brains are the same way. Some people’s brains pick-up mathematics, some others people’s brains pick up music. Everybody is different, but locked away in the universal mind is the secret of the whole thing and that is .618.”
It is widely known that famous historical buildings like the Parthenon in Athens and the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris were created using the mathematical form. Nature employs the Golden Ratio as well, with countless species expressing the mathematical principle.
“No matter who you are, you look at these paintings and your mind. It just looks beautiful and it makes you feel good,” said Bernadotte. “Truth, goodness, and beauty. That’s basically what I try to put forth in my paintings.”
Bernadotte’s paintings can be viewed in Ucluelet at the Reflecting Spirit Gallery in Davison Plaza. Gallery owner Signy Cohen said he creates a very simply perspective.
“To those that see it, it’s very intriguing. They see something but they can’t really say what it is. Other people do recognize it as being mathematical, being part of the Golden Rectangle,” said Cohen.
“You’ll also see a lot of his work reflecting like being on calm water. He lived on boats for years,” she said.
Didymus Bernadotte is Ucluelet local Glenn Carlson’s brush name.
He will be hosting a lecture and demonstration of his unique style at the Ucluelet Community Centre on Saturday, October 15 from 2 to 4 p.m.