Candace Hicks, “String Theory: Volume III”

String Theory III.01
The final volume of a three volume series about coincidence and chance, String Theory III is a pseudo-scientific parody.

String Theory III.02
The simulated notebook is entirely stitched by hand. The “strings” used to make it afford the pun of the title.

String Theory III.03
String Theory is a gentle criticism of the facility with which we assign meaning to random events and spiritualize the mundane.

String Theory III.04
The narrative is contained on one side of the page spread, and the back of each page spread consists of a “drawing” utilizing the parallel blue lines of notebook paper.

String Theory III.05
Science and religion allow access to other planes. This wormhole page and zippered page also conceal a hidden dimension.


Candace Hicks (Nacogdoches, TX)

String Theory: Volume III
embroidery on canvas
Unique work
48 pages
Dimensions, open: 22”x32”x6”
Dimensions, closed: 22”x26”x6”

I’ve collected coincidences for ten years. It started when I read two books in a row that both included the phrase “antique dental instrument.” While that was not the first coincidence I ever noticed in my reading, that singular instance convinced me to keep a record. I began to consider that the phrase might have been the profound masquerading as the mundane. Or not. But I wanted to collect the data. I cataloged my coincidences in composition books that filled rapidly. As it turned out, “antique dental instrument” has not held any special meaning in my life or my art. Neither have any of the coincidental phrases that followed, such as “stuffed mountain lion” or “black currant lozenge,” but the act of noticing them became the lens through which I filter the world and my experiences.

As an ardent reader, I naturally gravitate toward creating books and printing. And taking note of coincidences is akin to the kind of observation a landscape or portrait artist practices. Thus, my observations take the form of hand-stitched texts that I call Common Threads. Sewing every line, letter, and illustration in the books enhances their status as objects. By laboring over a dime store composition book, painstakingly recreating it by hand, I have found a way to express the insignificant as potentially philosophical. Just as a landscape or portrait painter’s observations allow them to reproduce a version of reality, my scrutiny of repetition creates a narrative that navigates fictional universes.

My latest project, String Theory, undertakes to explain coincidence through science. The embroidery thread at once symbolizes the connectedness of coincidence, and affords the opportunity to make puns of my titles. String Theory (the full title is String Theory: Understanding Coincidence in the Multiverse) is my first attempt to form a hypothesis about the meanings and rules that govern coincidence. Part pseudo-scientific humor, part genuine awe at the complexity of the cosmos, String Theory is an embroidered book in three volumes in which the text and images are entirely rendered in thread.