For most of her career, Andrea Way has created staggeringly intricate drawings that call to mind maps or star charts. Closely resembling patterns found in nature, her works slowly evolve as she connects layer after layer of drawn and painted marks. In 2007, however, she simplified her methods and made one small drawing per day for the entire year.
On view through November 28 at Adkins Arboretum, The 365 Calendar Drawings presents an intimate look at this artist’s unusual drawing technique. Eight of the twelve months’ worth of drawings are on display. There will be a reception to meet the artist on Saturday, October 11 from 3 to 5 p.m. All are invited.
Beginning with an initial layer of marks made by chance, perhaps splashes of washy color, a loosely spiraling line or leaf prints, she elaborates on the shapes and colors, introducing layer after layer of spidery lines, hatch marks, dots or tiny brushstrokes related through a code to the initial image and to one another.
Like all of Way’s works, each of The 365 Calendar Drawings is based on a dialogue between chance and order, but owing to the constraint of completing one drawing per day, they are freer and more casual than her larger drawings. Each month has its own theme. February’s drawings are based on the branching structure of a leaf or tree. August’s started with random dribbles of blue and turquoise that call to mind Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings. In November, Way made leaf prints surrounded by intense shades of shimmering metallic color.
It’s fascinating to puzzle out how these small drawings evolved. The more you look, the more you see as you gradually realize you’re looking at a metaphor for how all of life is interconnected through both time and space.