How to View this Work

ANDREA DONNELLY: Hi my name is Andrea Donnelly. I’m a studio artist and weaver in Richmond Virginia. The piece is hung out in space and it’s two separate panels. And you can approach this work either directly seeing one piece through the other. And you can also walk between the two pieces. So I’m interested in you actually having that 360 degree experience, including being kind of inside the work and having it surround you.

I love writing and language and the idea of subliminal language, and then also in pulling legible words apart and weaving them back into illegible words one thread at a time. I have to be very very patient and methodical but it seems to me that the action of doing that, of taking one thread out from another and in doing that with language in text, it can feel a little bit devotional or related to kind of an act of ritual or meditation.

The work unfolds as you look at it. I compare it to kind of standing in a dark room and letting your eyes adjust, like longer you look at the work the more things unfold and reveal themselves.

A Story about a Story

ANDREA DONNELLY: I have an interesting story around how all of this came about. I’ve been working with the story the Garden of Forking Paths for many years now. That idea of taking something apart, of time repeating or forking, this story fits perfectly with the technique of unweaving and reweaving language. And the curators actually saw another piece that I had done with that very story. And then when we started talking about the ICA and its architectural relation to the Garden of Forking Paths, it was kind of a perfect marriage and so in taking the text apart and putting it back together I feel like that’s another way to just split a story, to split time even, and to represent it as two options of what were originally one.

The Artist’s Process

ANDREA DONNELLY: The way I made To the Various Futures (Not to All) started with the actual story which I love very much, The Garden of Forking Paths. And so the first thing I did was I created a large scale drawing basically of handwritten text. And then I wove plain white cloth. And then I transcribed my original writing onto the cloth so I had this story written illegibly. Then I took that cloth and I reattached it to the loom and I started to pull the warp threads which go through the loom away from the weft threads. One at a time, unraveling the entire written piece. So this left me with little dashes of black on white thread. If put them together just right you would be able to actually still read them. But also if you were to pick them up they would just be this big ball of thread, which I think is a beautiful little image: that language can exist as if like crumble of threads. So once the threads were taken apart I was able to weave those two halves that had the writing on them with separate warp and weft. So what I had in the end was two sets of panels that were eight feet by ten feet each, with the writing on them that in on one panel the writing would go in a vertical direction on the other panel it would read in the horizontal direction. It completely dissolves in one, and the other doesn’t do that simply because of the process.


Andrea Donnelly

Apr 21, 2018 – Sep 9, 2018


Topic Tour: Threads

Saturday, Jul 28

1:00 PM–2:00 PM