2019 Horn Gallery_Conversation: COMPOSE | DECOMPOSE

Annand | detail from Entropic

Conversation: Eleanor Annand + Make Noise

Eleanor Annand Website

Make Noise Website
Make Noise Video

Exhibition Folio

For more information or to purchase works in the exhibition please contact 828.765.6211

Make Noise | Tony Rolando with Walker Farrell
Annand | Sequence
Make Noise | Shared System


For many of us working under the umbrella of studio craft, there’s a tension between making art that expands our creative frontiers yet remains suitable for swaddling in bubble wrap, shipping to a gallery, and hopefully landing in a collection to reside forever in archival stasis. I often feel unable to escape the gravitational pull of creating collectible objects, both for the safety of fitting in and for the affirmation that comes with any sale. So it’s with deep admiration that I see my friend Eleanor Annand depart this particular orbit, entering a realm that I (and maybe Carl Jung) would call the Consciously Uncollectible. Renouncing the printmaker’s fixation with archivability, Annand is using impermanent materials and exploring themes of transience, variance, and change. Her Temporary Monuments, for instance, are monolithic structures that accommodate our need to memorialize meaningful events, yet they offer us something sorely lacking in most cultural monuments: the ability to change our story. The impermanence of these cardboard structures allows for the gradual softening and release of narratives that could spoil our psyches were they entombed in metal or stone.

For Compose | Decompose, the fourth installment in the Penland Gallery’s  Conversation series, Annand proposed showing her work alongside the instruments and music of Make Noise. Their conversation is about exploration within defined systems. Annand makes modular sculptural elements from cardboard and cast paper; Make Noise makes modular systems for electronic music composition. In both cases modularity is not about creating predictability, it’s about providing a framework in which to cast expression and, sometimes, disruption. In works like Entropic, Annand avoids the purity of mathematical tessellations. She opts to create arrangements that contain disorder, making them analogous to human lives in their unpredictability and the possibility of playfulness within constrained systems. Make Noise takes this concept further with Synthesizer for Two Coasts,  a conceptual instrument that only plays Bach’s Invention No. 4 in D minor. However, even within this narrow scope the user can find expression by manipulating  timbre and injecting random notes into the music. Their systems are not designed for traditional composition, but for the “discovery of unfound sound.”

I have heard Annand remark that she sees the world in shades of grey. Although one could assume this statement refers to her palette, she is actually speaking of negative capability, the quality defined by Keats as “capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.” Just as the objects in this show are not intended to fulfill their purpose on a collector’s shelf, Compose | Decompose is not a conversation that draws conclusions. The variable interactions between form, mark, notes, noise, and our own fickle perceptions are too complex to define. So let’s just stop trying.

Exhibition essay by Jack Mauch, artist and educator

Annand | Landing
Annand | Inherited


Eleanor Annand is currently a Resident Artist at Penland School of Craft. Through the lens of an artist, designer, and printmaker she is exploring the intersections of art, design, and craft. Her highly introspective studio practice combined with fifteen years of experience in the fields of graphic design and letterpress printing provides her with multiple vantage points in approaching this exploration.

I rely on the premise that my artwork has the ability to evoke a visceral and direct response from my viewer. In my work, I bring a sensitivity to materials, form, and composition to incite emotions that appeal to innate proclivities for order and rhythm. Seeking both tension and balance, I utilize intuitive and analytical processes that push and pull off of one another.

The work in Compose | Decompose plays with disruption,  entropy, light, and shadow. Embracing a lack of permanence, I worked primarily with cardboard and recycled paper scraps to create modular units that can be arranged in a myriad of ways. Compose, decompose, compose, decompose, is a cycle in my process that mimics cycles of life and which I am exploring further in the impermanence of my materials.

Time is unyielding. It is beauty and heartbreak simultaneously.

Annand | Momentary
Annand | Fading
Annand | Landing
Annand | Temporary Monuments
Annand | Entropic


Make Noise was founded in 2008 by Tony Rolando, a self-taught  electronic musical instrument designer who got started by obsessively reading amateur radio books at the public library, building electronics for artists, working for Moog Music, and playing in bands for many years. After three years of isolation on a mountain top he founded Make Noise.

What started as a re-visioning of jettisoned music technology has grown into a crew of folks working together in Asheville, NC, to design and build some pretty strange, but thoughtful, modular synthesizers.

We see our instruments as a collaboration with musicians who create once-in-a-lifetime performances that push boundaries and play the notes between the notes to discover the unfound sounds. We want our instruments tobe an experience, one that will require us to change our trajectories and thereby impact the way we understand and imagine sound. Also, we think what we do is fun and we hope you like it, too.

Make Noise is Tony Rolando, Kelly Kelbel, Roxy, Walker Farrell, Devin Booze, Mike Johnson, Lewis Dahm, Jon King, Jake Pugh, Noah Kalos, Peter Speer, Meg Mulhearn, Eric Cheslak, Gray Schiller, Matthew Sherwood, Tom Erbe, and lots of artists and collaborators who work with us to discover the unfound sounds.

Exhibition audio installation by Make Noise Records artists Hypoxia and  Robert A.A. Lowe; instruments designed by Tony Rolando.

Make Noise | Synthesizer for Two Coasts

Many thanks and deep appreciation to our 2019 exhibition sponsors | Judy and John Alexander, Beattie Foundation, Shepherd Foundation, Foster Young Jr., and Laura and Michael Grace