a collaboration with weavings by Cate Tallmadge

The “Loom” collaborations between weaver/painter Cate Tallmadge and I developed from multiple conversations at our studios. In these, we saw parallels between the loom used in weaving with Cate’s work and my incorporation of the evolution of the computer into the multiple layers of my work. Recognizing that the punch card used to “program” the Jacquard loom in the early 1800s could be adapted, Ada Lovelace (mathematician and computer scientist) foresaw that this same punch card system might be used to program the future computer. Our desire was to create abstract works that explored this relationship.

We were determined to make binary pieces composed of one woven panel and one painted and printed panel. In some of the works, Cate made a weaving first and then I would respond by creating a panel, in others, I would paint and print a panel first to which she would respond. It was fun and challenging to communicate non-verbally with another artist using the objects of creation through weaving and painting leading to the completion of each work. This project fits well with my desire to talk about specific historical moments in the evolution of the computer. One could make the argument that the Loom is a type of computer with the warp and weft arranged digitally.

Weaving is a time demanding process of calculation and methodical concentration so I wanted to honor that by making my painted panels layered, intricate, and dense. Among the printed layers are the first computer program, images of the Hindu god Ganesha, an op-art pattern, and a section of the 80186 Intel Processor Diagram. The large painted panel for the word “ADA” has 14 layers. This is the number of layers that the Cray Supercomputer (circa 1979,) had in each of its processor boards.

I believe Beauty in art arises from the artist’s commitment to his practice and constant attention to what is meaningful and urgent.

Andrew Roberts-Gray