Allen Hirsh's interest in being an artist comes from growing up in Central New Jersey in the early 1950s as the son of Jewish chicken farmers turned landscapers. His parents’ switch to horticulture was a gift to him, nurturing a fascination with exotic plants and gardens beginning in his elementary school years, an attachment he has to this day. Indeed, it is photographic images of the plants that he grows in his own exotic garden that serves as the basis for much of his digital art. However, even as a young child he also had a passion for math and science that sealed his commitment to science at a very early age. Today, he is still a practicing biophysicist, but he has also developed as a mathematical artist due to a seminal family tie. His late brother Gene was a classically trained artist in oils and watercolors, but by the late 80's he had also become a digital artist, using available tools such as Photoshop™ and Painter™ to create representational paintings from photographs. When Hirsh's first child came in 1992, his brother urged him to try fractal style painting to relax. Up to that point he, like a lot of biologists, was an indifferent computer programmer. Now he had a second chance, and he dived into learning proper structured programming by initially building screen saver painting programs. He soon switched to working on digital imaging problems his brother gave him, until he finally turned exclusively to scientific programming at the turn of the century, and this focus on computer programming proved invaluable to his professional scientific work. Yet, slowly cooking in his subconscious was a scheme for a very large and complex mathematical color and space manipulation engine. It took him ten years to finally write the code, 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.
In the ensuing 7 years, Hirsh has been juried into over 50 shows and won 6 awards. He has been favorably reviewed by East City Art and The Washington Post, invited to speak at The American Association for The Advancement of Science (AAAS) about art as a bridge between science and religion, featured in the Art the Science blog, Bethesda Magazine, and New York's The Forward. He is an adjunct member of Washington's oldest art collective, The Foundry, where he was a full member for 5 years. He has sold numerous works at shows in the Washington DC metro area.
Most digital artists use commercial software tools, e.g. Adobe Photoshop™. Instead, Hirsh manipulates his images with equations in the software he creates. Using equations as virtual brushes and paint he explores the patterns hidden in photographs, previously transformed images, and their hybrids. He focuses on four artistic goals. First, he tries to demonstrate that mathematical systems can produce a richer set of artistic images, without manual input, than the hyper-geometric, fractally generated images that characterize mathematical art in the minds of most people. A crucial element of this is to create textures and abstractions that are as “painterly” as possible. A second goal is to explore as wide a range of mathematical transformations as he can utilizing the classic elementary functions, differential-difference equations, numerical integral equations, logical filters, and recursion. A third goal is the hybridization of images that are seemingly incompatible, e.g. flowers and printers, Dutch windmills and people, cafes, and vases of silk flowers. Because hybridization is part of the complex transformation process it often produces startlingly unexpected results. Finally, he has an overarching goal of producing images that are compellingly beautiful while simultaneously exploring the limits of beauty as they relate to mathematically generated transformations. This last goal flows from his love of both gardening and mathematics. 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. Hirsh tries to explore the limits of that innate natural beauty using mathematics exclusively. He is also anxious to explore the role of beauty in the mathematical transformation of synthetic objects, and, inspired by Picasso in his cubist phase, in the melding of synthetic and organic images.
When using a new combination of equations it is more or less impossible for Hirsh to predict the initial image transformation. This is somewhat like candid photography. Think of a photographer who has traveled to a distant earth-like planet teeming with alien life. Everywhere the photographer looks something startling and new presents itself. Once he sees something especially interesting he begins a controlled artistic exploration of the entity. So it is with Hirsh's system. He can control equations to 18 decimal places and he takes full advantage of that to explore the transformation of images. He has learned to be ever more efficient at this controlled development process. These initial explorations, the vast majority of which he discards, are like sketches that many artists make before they engage in producing finished work.
As Hirsh delved into the creation of his painting system, continually increasing the complexity of his equation sets, he began to see a connection between his approach and the idea that hidden in the structure of the world is an infinity of unimagined forms. The mathematical transformations seemed to him to be particularly effective at peeling back the layers of the mundane to reveal fascinating hidden properties of the real-world images captured by the raw focus of the camera. To him, this reflects both the power of science to show the inner workings of the physical world and the power of religion to focus our minds on seeking and cherishing the hidden majesty of existence, with art an effective additional tool to pursue both of these goals.
• In September 2013 I received an honorable mention in the Art in the Garden juried show at Greenspring Gardens in Annandale, Virginia.
• In the June, 2014 MAA show at The Civic Center in Friendship Heights, MD my piece "Pink Camellia Fish" was awarded best in show in abstracts by juror Christine Lashley, resident artist and instructor at The Yellow Barn Art Center in Glen Echo, MD.
• I won a second prize berth in The IV International Juried Competition at The Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, September 11-October 4th, 2014. The show was juried by Nancy Meyer, assistant curator of contemporary art at The Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Max Presneill, Director and Curator, Torrence Art Museum.
• Sept 2015 I won honorable mention for my abstract “A Wolf’s Kiss” at the MAA’s annual Kensington Labor Day Show, juried by prominent local artist Glenn Kessler.
• Won 1st prize at The Winter Members Show, 2016 at MFA Circle Gallery in Annapolis, MD
• Won a Best in Show award at The Fall Members Show, 2017 at MFA Circle Gallery in Annapolis, MD
• Won Fourth Place in The International Society of Experimental Artists 2nd Annual Member Only Online Juried Exhibition
1. March 2013 I was juried into Washington DC’s oldest artist’s cooperative, The Foundry Gallery, at 2118 8th St. NW in downtown DC. I remained a full member until January 2018.
2. April 2013 I was invited to hang 5 pieces at the Hang The Halls Nature Based Exhibit at the new Capitol Arts Network at 12276 Wilkins Avenue in Rockville, Maryland . Simultaneously I hung 4 pieces at The Washington School of Photography’s Hall Exhibit in the same building.
3. June 2013 I was invited into the Story of the Creatives exhibit by the See.Me organization in NYC. The show is being held at the See Exhibition Space from July 29th to September 10th at: 26-19 Jackson Avenue, New York, NY 11101. This is in Long Island City in Queens just across the East River from midtown Manhattan.
4. In November 2013 I had two pieces juried into the mathematical art exhibition at the joint mathematics meetings of The Mathematical Association of America and The American Mathematical Society, the world’s largest annual gathering of mathematicians, held in January 2014 in Baltimore, MD.
5. In January, 2014 I was invited to submit a manuscript about my technique to the peer reviewed journal Mathematics and The Arts
6. In March and April 2014 I was the featured artist at the local restaurant, The Daily Dish in Silver Spring.
7. In May 2014 I hung a solo show in the Kefa Café, on Bonifant St. in downtown Silver Spring, with a flower theme in honor of spring.
8. In March 2014 I had a piece juried into the Art on Paper show at the MFA Circle Gallery in Annapolis, MD. This was juried by Dr. Eric Denker, The Senior Lecturer at the National Gallery of Art, who chose 80 pieces out of 1040 submitted.
9. In March 2014 I was juried into the Second Garrett Park Invitational Exhibit in April 2014. My painting was one of 20 accepted pieces out of over 200 submitted.
10. In March 2014 I was the featured artist at the Montgomery Art Association’s gallery in the Wheaton Mall.
11. In May and June 2014 I was the featured artist at the Hedgerow Theatre, the oldest continuously operating repertoire theater in the U.S., in Rose Valley, Pennsylvania
12. In May 2014 I was juried into the MD Art @ College Park show juried by Ann Shafer, Associate Curator at the Baltimore Museum of Art, one of 107 accepted artists out of 697 applicants.
13. An article about my work has been published in the arts section of The Jewish Daily Forward in New York. The article, by the noted arts journalist Menachem Wecker, can be found at:
14. I am now an online member of Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona. I have been juried in to the online division of this lovely contemporary gallery in Scottsdale. You can by my art through their website. My pieces in their gallery will not be sold through my site, but will be a distinct set. The URL is: www.xanadugallery.com/Art/ArtistGallery.asp?ArtistID=5359
15. I had two works in the Invitational Mathematical Art Exhibit at The University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg VA. The exhibition dates were September 4- October 5, 2014 at the Ridderhof Martin Gallery of the university.
16. I was juried into The IV International Juried Competition at The Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, September 11-October 4th, 2014. The show was juried by Nancy Meyer, assistant curator of contemporary art at The Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Max Presneill, Director and Curator, Torrence Art Museum.
17. I had a piece juried into the 2014 Botanicals Online exhibit at the Light, Space and Time online gallery. It was my piece "Clematis 'Lion's Mane'" and the url is:
18. I was juried into the 2014 MFA Circle Gallery Landscapes show. With more than 653 total entries from 202 artists, I was one of 66 artists selected by Peter Van Dyke, Assistant Professor, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, juror for MFA’s open-juried American Landscapes Exhibition. My piece, Mike's Red Barn, is prominently displayed on my website under buildings. The show ran from August 15 through September 14, 2014 at the MFA Circle Gallery in Annapolis, MD.
19. I was juried into the 23rd Annual ISEA International Art Exhibition in San Pedro, CA. My artwork is titled "Passionate Buckeyball". The exhibit ran from September 13th to October 12th 2014 at the National Watercolor Society (NWS) Art Gallery, 915 So Pacific Ave, San Pedro, CA 90731. The exhibit was juried by Linda A. Doll, painter, digital photographer, graphic artist, instructor and juror. A teacher of workshops and seminars throughout the US, Mexico, Canada, France, Italy, Greece, Spain, Ireland and Bali, she is the President (2012-2014), a Past-President and Life Member of the National Watercolor Society, a Past Board Member and Juror of the American Watercolor Society, and a past Board Member of Watercolor West . She is a Life Honorary Member of the Federation of Canadian Artists and an Elected Life Member of the San Diego Watercolor Society. Her paintings and drawings are included in many books and have been used by several magazines for their covers. Linda is included in many of the Who's Who Publications including Who's Who in American Art and Who's Who of American Women.
20. As of October 14 I have three pieces juried into the online Science exhibit at Linus Gallery in Pasadena, California.
21. In April of 2015 I had 3 pieces juried into the show at the Bridges International Conference on Connections between Art and Mathematics at The University of Baltimore, July 2015
22. In April of 2015 I had 2 pieces juried into the show at the University of Md, Towson Mathematical Art Exhibition in June and July 2015
23. In April of 2015 I had 1 piece juried into the Special Mathematical Art Exhibit at The 100th Anniversary Conference of the Mathematical Association of America
24. I had one piece juried into the Unconventional Means show at Las Lagunas Gallery in Laguna Beach, California from June 4 to June 27, 2015.
25. My piece Shadow of a Flame was juried into the 24th Annual ISEA International Art Exhibition in Traverse City Michigan in September 2015
26. I have three pieces in the online exhibit at Museum of Digital Fine Arts (MoDFA)
27. I had a piece juried into ArtKudos 2015, an international online exhibition
28. I had two pieces juried into the Anything Goes Show at the Crystal Molle Gallery in Baltimore in October 2015.
29. Gave a speech at " The Art of Science and Spirit," a 2 December holiday lecture and discussion at AAAS headquarters by the AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER). https://www.aaas.org/news/art-bridges-communication-between-science-and-religion
30. Was juried into the Spring Members Show at MFA Circle Gallery in Annapolis, MD 2016 by Crystal Molle
31. Sold two large pieces at the annual Washington Project for the Arts Gala Art Auction and reception, April 2016.
32. In May 2016 I was selected by juror Adam Davies for inclusion in the online exhibition, Watering Holes at the MFA Circle Gallery in Annapolis MD
33. I had two pieces invited into the July-August 2016 International Electron Salon Show at Rex Bruce's Los Angeles Center for Digital Art
34. I had two pieces invited into the September-October 2016 International Electron Salon Show at Rex Bruce's Los Angeles Center for Digital Art
35. I had two pieces juried into the Global Landscapes 2016 Show at the MFA Circle Gallery in Annapolis MD
36. I had six pieces invited into the December 2016 International Electron Salon Show at Rex Bruce's Los Angeles Center for Digital Art
37. I had one piece invited to The Studio 26 Show at Kentlands Mansion, December-January 2016-2017
38. I had one piece juried into the 2017 Winter members show at the MFA Circle Gallery in Annapolis
39. I had one piece juried into The Focal Point 2017 show at the MFA Circle Gallery in Annapolis
40. I had two pieces invited into the January 2017 International Electron Salon Show at Rex Bruce's Los Angeles Center for Digital Art
41. I had four pieces invited into the March 2017 International Electron Salon Show at Rex Bruce's Los Angeles Center for Digital Art
42. I had one piece juried into Exhibitions Without Walls' Free For All 2017 online exhibition
43. I had one piece juried into MFA Circle Gallery's American Landscape 2017 show
44. I had a show at The Gaithersburg, MD Art Barn in October, 2017
45. I had a show at Gallery b in Bethesda , MD in November, 2017
46. I had one piece juried into Collage and Digital Madness Show at Las Laguna Gallery in Laguna Beach CA Sept 2017
47. I had a piece juried into the art show at The International Digital Media and Arts Association in Washington DC October 2017
48. I had one piece juried into the The 26th exhibition and symposium ISEA was at BigArts in Sanibel, FL 2017
49. I had a May 2018 show with in Gallery 505 in Frederick MD
50. I have been juried into the International Top 40 2018 show June-July 2018 at Rex Bruce's Los Angeles Center for Digital Art curated by Rebecca Matalon, Assistant Curator at MoCA, Museum of Contemporary Art, in Los Angeles
51. I had a piece juried into the 48th Annual Labor Day Art Show at Glen Echo Park Sept 2018
52. I had the inaugural solo Show at the ArtSeen Gallery in Rockville, MD, Jan-Feb 2019. 4 pieces sold
53. I am a represented artist at Rex Bruce's Los Angeles Center for Digital Art ,March 2019
54. One piece in the April 2019 members show at Los Angeles Center for Digital Art
55. Juried into the June 2019 Art on Paper Show at the Long Beach Island Foundation, Loveladies, NJ
56. October 2019 Four pieces hung by the Rachel DeLong Gallery in Wellfleet, Cape Cod.
57. One piece juried into The Pennsylvania Center For Photography's TRANSFORMATIONS 2019 Digital Exhibition
58. Three pieces juried into the Jan/Feb 2020 Focal Point show at The Circle Gallery in Annapolis, MD
59. A January 2020 solo show "A Gene Davis Inspiration" at Artists and Makers large gallery in Rockville, MD loosely based on Gene Daviss color field paintings. Reviewed favorably by Mark Jenkins in the Washington Post.
60. A February/March 2020 landscape solo show at THe Artseen Gallery in Rockville, MD entitled "Landscapes from an Inner World"
61. August 2020 was the featured artist at The Rachel K Delong Gallery in Wellfleet, MA on Cape Cod
62. October 2020 juried into The Pennsylvania Center For Photography's TRANSFORMATIONS 2020 Digital Exhibition
63. Juried into The International Society of Experimental Artists 2nd Annual Member Only Online Juried Exhibition