String Theory by Robert Forman

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I began making yarn paintings in 1969 while still in High School. I had been fooling around with paint in my parent’s basement when one day I incorporated my mother’s embroidery thread into a collage.

In college at The Cooper Union I first kept yarn painting to my self. My professors preferred my drawings to my paintings. My painting professor, Jack Whitten, asked what we did during vacation.

I volunteered that I’d spent the vacation working on a project but it wasn’t exactly painting. After visiting my studio Jack told me to stick to string and he would consider them paintings.

I have received Artist Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts,

The Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation, The New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation. In 1992 I traveled to Mexico as a Fulbright Fellow to meet and talk shop with fellow yarn painters among the Huichol, an indigenous people working in a similar medium.

  My technique is a variation of the Huichol yarn painting. The Huichol are an indigenous people living in the western Sierra Madre mountains of Mexico.

I attach colored yarn to ClayBoard™ using Elmer’s Wood Glue™. Yarn vary in material and thickness. My materials include cotton, linen, silk, and rayon. The diameter ranges from sewing thread to eighth inch cord. Forms are rendered by the direction the yarn is glued as well as color changes. Yarn lit horizontally is bright while vertically lit yarn is dark. The material and sheen of the yarn determines the intensity of this effect.  I am able to mix colors by alternating yarn. I can also mix a number of images using this technique. The finished picture is sealed with Fabric Guard™

100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall

attach colored yarn to ClayBoard™ using Elmer’s Wood Glue™. Yarn vary in material and thickness. My materials include cotton, linen, silk, and rayon. The diameter ranges from sewing thread to eighth inch cord. Forms are rendered by the direction the yarn is glued as well as color changes. Yarn lit horizontally is bright while vertically lit yarn is dark. The material and sheen of the yarn determines the intensity of this effect.

I am able to mix colors by alternating yarn. I can also mix a number of images using this technique.

The finished picture is sealed with Fabric Guard™. The final step

String Theory

String Theory

String theory is an active research framework in particle physics that attempts to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity. It is a contender for a theory of everything (TOE), a self-contained mathematical model that describes all fundamental forces and forms of matter.

String theory posits that the electrons and quarks within an atom are not 0-dimensional objects, but rather 1-dimensional oscillating lines. String theories also require the existence of several extra dimensions to the universe that have been compactified into extremely small scales, in addition to the four known spacetime dimensions.

I began making yarn paintings in 1969 while still in High School. I had been fooling around with paint in my parent’s basement when one day I incorporated my mother’s embroidery thread into a collage.

Yarn Painting

Yarn Painting

The last time I saw my friend Miguel Carrillo Montoya he gave me a bracelet beaded with images of white deer and peyote.When I learned of his passing a few months later I made a yarn painting in his memory incorporating the beaded image of the white deer with a pose Miguel and I enjoyed in which we would put our arm around each other and say “Los Dos Touristas”I made a frame for the piece the same width as the bracelet and asked the artist Maria Magdelena Lopez Carrillo if she could bead my frame to mimic Miguel’s bracelet.With the help of Benita Giranimo Mujeres Maria beaded the frame.I had thought she would attach it to the frame with wax but her husband, the artist Santos Daniel Carrillo Jimenezsuggested that I have the bead artist Jan Huling glue it on, I’d shown Santos and Maria Jan’s work and they were very impressed and interested in the adhesive she used.Santos thought that the glue would make the maintenance of the frame easier. I took his advice and Jan finished the frame.

 

 

In college at The Cooper Union I first kept yarn painting to my self. My professors preferred my drawings to my paintings. My painting professor, Jack Whitten, asked what we did during vacation. I volunteered that I’d spent the vacation working on a project but it wasn’t exactly painting. After visiting my studio Jack told me to stick to string and he would consider them paintings.

 

In 1990 I saw a Huichol yarn painting at a Greenwich Village flea market. Looking at the yarn painting I realized that there were other yarn painters. I began to read books and seek out more examples of Huichol yarn paintings. The Huichol are an indigenous people living in Mexico’s remote Sierra Madre Mountains who traditionally constructed prayer offerings by attaching various materials to a substrate with wax. This technique is used today to create flat yarn paintings largely for the tourist trade. In 1992 I received a Fulbright Fellowship to travel to Mexico. Among the Huichols I found a community where painting with yarn was an accepted technique for artistic expression. Huichol and my art reflect our different cultural backgrounds but share a common technique. With Huichol artists I was able for the first time to talk shop with artists working in my medium. Huichol artists also seemed fascinated by the coincidence of our parallel development of yarn painting.

My relationship with fellow yarn painters among the Huichol has lasted more then 20 years and has now become multi generational.