Francesca Capone: Writing in Threads

I hurried my way out of the Textile Arts Center on Sunday evening so that I could stop by one of the last open days of Francesca Capone’s solo show at 99¢ Plus Gallery in Bushwick, Writing in Threads. Francesca Capone is a textile artist and writer who explores the connections between weaving, writing, and text in her work. With similar interests in my own studio practice, I have been following her work for awhile from afar and was excited to finally see it in person.

The exhibition consists of fifteen weavings mounted on pieces of plexi-glass. While all are relatively the same size and look like they likely came from the same warp, each weaving was unique from the next. All the pieces are made up of different weft threads, colors, textures, and patterns, giving each its own individual personality and potential relationship with a viewer.

Below every weaving is a plexi-glass shelf with a small publication. Thumbing through each publication shows they all have the same format: screen shots from an e-mail exchange between Capone and a writer who she knows, followed by a poem that responds to the weaving above. Each publication is bound with a weft thread drawn from its corresponding weaving.

An image mounted in vinyl on the window shows a screen shot from the original e-mail that Capone sent to her collaborators. “I’m writing to ask if you would be interested in participating in an expanded edition of my project Weaving Language. In an effort to make the project more of a social practice, as fiber traditions have historically been, I’m inviting a handful of poets to experiment with the process of interpreting fiber to word…”. The revelation of this initial correspondence, along with the weavings themselves, the final poems, and records of the collaborative process along the way reveals the multilayered steps of translation that took place to produce the final publication and work on view in the gallery.

In revealing this process, Capone creates a metaphor not just between the a woven work and the visual aspects of text on a page but in the cumulative process that goes into both writing and weaving. A textile is created by bringing together multiple elements and materials and weaving them together to make a cloth. A writing is created by bringing letters and words together to make language on a page. Both involve aspects of both planning and creative intuition that come together in the final whole.

The object in the gallery that really brings the whole show together is also an object that the viewer can walk away with. The publication that came from the collaborative process that transpired between Capone and the writers involved is an 11″ x 17″ newspaper-like booklet with the same title as the exhibition, Writing in Threads. The images from Capone’s e-mail correspondences are printed in the booklet, followed by an image of the weaving each writer was responding to and then their poem. Page by page, the viewer can read the threads that built up the exhibition in 99¢ Plus’s gallery.

Francesca Capone’s exhibition, Writing in Threads includes work by Mariéad Byrne, Maria Damon, Ted Dodson, Andrew Durbin, Ben Fama, Ian Hatcher, Lucy Ives, Kevin Killian, Francis Kruk, Mariette Lamson, Sophia La Fraga, Francesca Lisette, Kristen Mueller, Kit Schluter, and Cole Swensen and is on view at 99¢ Plus Gallery in Bushwick through November 1, 2015. The gallery is open on Saturday and Sunday, 1pm-6pm.

There is a closing reception and group reading from the publication, Writing in Threads, at Printed Matter Inc., in New York on Thursday, October 29 from 6pm-8pm.

Photos from 99¢ Plus Gallery website.

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