Washingtonian Andrea Way has become famous for the intricate detailed abstractions which she has been making since the early 1980s. A devoted admirer of the natural sciences, as well as an avid practitioner of Zen meditation, Way’s work is about systems and how patterns are created through the replication and sequencing of simple processes. For Way, these systems represent a function of life itself—growth, evolution, change. Her works are often begun by repeating the same seemingly random actions and letting the materials follow their own nature: in some by dropping colored inks into blobs of water on a level surface; in others by dripping colored water to create rivulets down a vertical surface; and yet in others by letting the autonomous spinning of a “doodle top pen” trace curves that condense into spirals. The initial process generates a second layer that plays on the first with invented codes and counting systems. Another layer is generated by the second and so on, the final work evolving after hundreds of hours of devotion to the most meticulous details. The transparency of the colored inks with which she draws and paints, as well as the minute scale of her marks, allows the beauty of each layer to sparkle through the next.
Way’s works have been exhibited widely in gallery and museum exhibitions throughout the country for forty years. Her works are in the permanent collections of many major museums, including The Cleveland Museum of Art, The Contemporary Museum in Honolulu, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, The Phillips Collection, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.