The Golden Section is a mathematical ratio also sometimes called the “divine proportion” owing to its presence in natural structures, from the spiral shape of a seashell to the human body. Many artists and architects have applied this principle over the centuries—it appears, for example, in both ancient Greek temples and Renaissance paintings—and Rockburne planned the Golden Section Paintings around it, while maintaining her interest in the physical manipulation of materials. To make these works, she coated large sheets of linen with white gesso on one side and clear varnish on the other, clearly demarcating front from back. They were then measured, cut, and folded along lines determined by the Golden Section. Rockburne would repurpose the structural configurations of this series for many subsequent bodies of work, including the Copal, Vellum Curve, and Angel series.
Gallery label from Dorothea Rockburne: Drawing Which Makes Itself, September 21, 2013–January 20, 2014.