Candace Hicks (Nacogdoches, TX)
String Theory: Volume III
embroidery on canvas
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.