TO THE VARIOUS FUTURES
(NOT TO ALL)
Visitors are invited to carefully walk through the corridor formed by To the Various Futures (Not to All), two hand-woven panels, produced by Donnelly through a painstaking process. In the first stage, her weavings contain legible text taken from Jorge Luis Borges’s 1941 short story The Garden of Forking Paths, in which notions of overlapping time, fate, and decision-making form labyrinthine narratives. Then by unraveling and reweaving each panel, Donnelly creates a hazy, maze-like script. Through these material processes, the loom and the hand become extensions of Borges’s serpentine narrative.
To the Various Futures (Not to All), 2017 Painted, woven, and rewoven cotton thread, and pigment. Courtesy of the artist and Reynolds Gallery, Richmond, Virginia
“My personal relationship with art is a private, internal one, so I am speaking from this perspective, from the experience of an individual. Even on this individual level, realignment of our humanity has an exponential impact.” –Andrea Donnelly
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU AS AN ARTIST?
Art is a very personal practice for me. Artmaking is a tool I use to filter, process, and understand the world that touches my senses, arouses my curiosity, inspires wonder, or provokes contemplation. The visual, tactile, and philosophical threads that I follow are a tangled, loopy web that drapes over my entire life, so the pleasure and necessity of thinking and making art is inseparable from anything else that I do…one thing fades into and influences the other as I move through my day and through the world.
ARE THERE DETAILS ABOUT IN THE WORK THAT YOU’D ESPECIALLY LIKE AUDIENCES TO PAY ATTENTION TO?
I would like them to notice that the direction of the dark marks on the threads is vertical in one panel and horizontal in the other: this indicates the original two halves of the cloth that were together and legible, now separated. I would also like them to notice how surface of the pieces change depending on where you look at them: they are very transparent when viewed head-on, but walking toward and around them, their colors shift and the perspective makes them opaque, so the markings stand out and the subtle color of the threads becomes concentrated. Also, the text at the top of the piece said, “A Labyrinth of Symbols,” and the page number at the bottom is an infinity sign, turned in the direction of an 8.
WHAT DOES THE WORD DECLARATION MEAN TO YOU?
I see my artmaking practice as one of creating questions from questions, deeper and deeper. It is open-ended, it is my deepest and most heartfelt communication from my internal world to the external world. I don’t declare, I am quiet. I inquire and send my thoughts and questions out into the world and hope that someone picks up the conversation on the other side. “Declaration”: this is what has been picked up on your end, and it is a beautiful and thrilling way to speak about the work. Questions and conversation: I think the idea of “Declaration” opens so many with my piece and I love to be taken on new journeys from different perspectives with the work as a starting point. Can a declaration be a whisper?
DO YOU BELIEVE ART HAS SOCIALLY TRANSFORMATIVE POWER?
Yes. Art works to keep us balanced (often by unbalancing us) in the midst of the world we humans have created for ourselves. The systems we have set up to direct the flow of our lives seem to take on a mind of their own, scaffolding built upon scaffolding, beyond the scale of the people who live within them. I believe artmaking, and participating in any kind of artistic experience, brings us back into our bodies, into our relationship with the present moment and the world and people around us.
Born 1982, Wilmington, Delaware; Lives in Richmond, Virginia
Andrea Donnelly is a conceptual textile artist. She hand-weaves exquisite cloths, using a variety of methods, including imbedding imagery within woven structures and unweaving and reweaving painted cloth, to bring attention to overlooked details in her familiar and mysterious materials. Donnelly received her BA in Art and Design and a BS Psychology from North Carolina State University and her MFA in Fibers from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Select solo exhibitions: Reynolds Gallery in Richmond, Virginia (2017); and North Carolina Museum of Art (2017). Select group exhibitions: Quirk Gallery in Richmond, VA (2016); The Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, VA (2016); Muskegon Museum of Art in Muskegon, MI (2015); and Textile Arts Center in Brooklyn, NY (2010). Collections include: North Carolina Museum of Art, The Federal Reserve and Capital One. Select awards: The Ruth and Harold Chenven Foundation Grant (2016), CultureWorks Grant (2015), The Brandford/Elliot Award For Excellence in Fiber Arts (2014), Fiber Award, Visual Arts Center Craft + Design (2012), and the Windgate Fellowship (2007).