Make A Day of It: Of Two Minds and Other Art Activities in Our Area

Posted in Art, Art Textiles, Basketry, Exhibitions, Fiber Sculpture, Galleries, Installations, Museums, Sculpture, Tapestry on April 14th, 2014 by arttextstyle
Glow & Glitter, Agneta Hobin, mica, steel mesh, 8” x 8” each, 2014; Alchemia, Agneta Hobin, gilded gold-leaf wooden reliefs, 8” x 8” each, 2014, photo by Tom Grotta

Glow & Glitter, Agneta Hobin, mica, steel mesh, 8” x 8” each, 2014; Alchemia, Agneta Hobin, gilded gold-leaf wooden reliefs, 8” x 8” each, 2014, photo by Tom Grotta

There are cultural opportunities aplenty in our area in late April and early May. In addition to Of Two Minds: Artists That Do More Than One of a Kind at browngrotta arts (bga), 276 Ridgefield Road, Wilton, Connecticut from April 26th (12pm – 6pm) through May 4th (10 am – 5 pm, April 27th – May 4th), there are exhibitions of interest in nearby Ridgefield, Westport and at the Wilton Historical Society:

Standing in the Shadows of Love: The Aldrich Collection 1964–1974 Part 1 Robert Rauschenberg, (1925–2008)  Robert Rauschenberg, Umpire, 1965; Private collection

Standing in the Shadows of Love: The Aldrich Collection 1964–1974 Part 1
Robert Rauschenberg, (1925–2008)
Robert Rauschenberg, Umpire, 1965; Private collection

Celebrating 50 Years:
Standing in the Shadows of Love: The Aldrich Collection 1964–1974
Robert Indiana, Robert Morris, Ree Morton, Robert Rauschenberg, Robert Smithson

Aldrich Museum of Art (6.13 miles from bga)
258 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT 06877

Tuesday – Sunday, 12 to 5 p.m.

The Aldrich will celebrate its 50th Anniversary with three overlapping series of exhibitions that highlight not only the Museum’s legacy, but also the relationship between the era in which it was founded and our current cultural landscape. The first, Standing in the Shadows of Love: The Aldrich Collection 1964–1974 — features iconic, historical works by Robert Indiana, Robert Morris, Ree Morton, Robert Rauschenberg, and Robert Smithson that represent the Museum’s early collection acquired by founder Larry Aldrich.

SOLOS 2014

WAC.logoWestport Arts Center (7.01 miles from bga)
51 Riverside Avenue
Westport, CT. 06880

Monday – Saturday 10am – 5pm
Sunday 12pm – 4pm

Of 150 applicants, Patricia Hickson, the Emily Hall Tremaine Curator of Contemporary Art at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut has selected 12 artists, including browngrotta arts’ friend, Ken Resen, to exhibit in Westport Arts Center’s SOLOS 2014.

wiltonhistoricalsocieylogoChanging Times — Hand Tools Before the Industrial Revolution: Connecticut Tools of the Trades from the Walter R.T. Smith Collection 
Tavern Signs & Paintings: Heidi Howard, Maker & Painter

In its Burt Barn Gallery, the Society has mounted a series of eccentrically shaped, unusual tools. In the Sloan House Gallery, the Society presents an exhibition of contemporary interpretations of 18th and 19th century trade and tavern signs crafted from hand-planed 100- to 200-year old boards, painted by Heidi Howard.

Wilton Historical Society (1.98 miles from bga)

224 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT 06897
Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 4pm
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Process Notes: Marian Bijlenga, Musings on 30 Years of Work To Date; 30 More to Go

Posted in Art, Art Textiles, Fiber Sculpture, Installations, Mixed Media on April 3rd, 2014 by arttextstyle

photo by Marian Bijlenga

Marian Bijlenga PortraitDutch artist, Marian Bijlenga, recently compiled this group of miniatures reflecting 30 years of her artistic career, which she reckons is just a halfway point. Below she talks about her process, adapted from an interview by Manufactured Design By Architects (MDBA). The Spanish firm creates spaces that stir emotions and locates decorative elements and furniture to suit. It sources artists, like Marian Bijlenga, who inspire its work and interviews them at MDBY. MDB Architects.


Blue Holes, DetailI studied at the textile design department of Rietveld Art Acdaemy in Amsterdam (1977-1982), but I developed the techniques I use myself. When I studied textiles, I began by learning to weave, but for me, weaving was too slow. It took a lot of time before you could start, and I did not like the technique. I was looking for a more direct way of working. I took the threads held by the loom and began instead to make drawings, stiffening the fiber by dipping it in glue. 1986-1994.AMeander DetailIt was a much freer technique. But glue and thread are not very durable, so I was looking for a material that was stiff on its own, and discovered the horsehair. The fiber provides the necessary strength and flexibility to construct embroidered compositions of lines and dots.
JAPAN 3 DetailMy work is less preplanned and more of a natural process: it grows. The production may seem as painstaking as weaving, but it is the immediacy of the process that is important to me. I make one element and give it a place on my wall, and then I make another element, so the work grows until I like it. The work itself is meticulous, but I see the construction of each individual element as just the beginning. After I have the pattern pinned on my wall, then the real work starts. In the beginning, it is like playing. Then, finally, I use water-soluble fabric and make a drawing on it, so I know how to attach the pieces. Then I use monofilament to attach the small pieces to each other, and finally it all becomes one big piece. You only need some pins at the top of the piece to hang it on the wall. When seen with the right amount of natural light, the work seems to float just in front of the wall, defying gravity.

Palimpsest 1, DetailMuch of my early work was inspired by calligraphy, but I explored the positive and negative, abstracted shapes created by calligraphic forms, instead of its narrative possibilities, It is very interesting when I cannot read the words — the rhythm of the writing, the space between the letters and the connections between the lines. It is still a source of inspiration, but my work has grown more abstract. Nature is more important than writing. Small circles, ovals and streaks grow into compositions that map positive and negative space.
 I am fascinated by dots, lines and contours, by their rhythmical movements and the empty spaces they confine. The shadow on a white wall is an essential part of my work. By leaving some space between my structure and the wall, the object is freed from its background and interacts with the white wall. I need the silence of a white wall.
COLOR DOTS SPRING ZEELAND DetailAdvice I’d give to others: Be guided by what happens around you. Don’t try too hard to direct, plan, master everything. For me, it is more important to be led by what crosses your path, the accidental encounter, things that happen outside yourself.

Some Observations: On Light and Air

Posted in Commentary, Guest Post on March 26th, 2014 by arttextstyle

Recently I visited the Los Angeles County Museum of Art specifically to spend time immersed in the imagination of James Turrell whose retrospective covers fifty years of work exploring light, sky, perception, color, shape and architecture.   The meditative quality of this exhibition encourages the viewer to be a considered observer and allow what they see and perceive to be altered by their physical experience with the work.  Ultimately the transformative and ephemeral qualities of light exist in the mind of each person.  The artist gives us the opportunity to bathe our senses in illusion and reflection.

The next day on a non-stop eastbound flight traveling in the morning from Los Angeles to Boston I was seated on the north side of the airplane and could view the magnificent snow covered Rocky Mountains below rising from the earth with the suggestion of a world without grief.

photo by Wendy Wahl

photo by Wendy Wahl

In the minutes that followed I found myself focused on the carbon footprint that air travel leaves and thinking about the best way to balance my personal footprint. Knowing for the moment “I am where I am” my gaze returned to the framed light as we swiftly moved above the fruited plains. I watched until somewhere over the Great Lakes the image through the oval-edged window changed into another remarkable illuminated landscape.

photo by Wendy Wahl

photo by Wendy Wahl

As a commercial airline passenger for over four decades I have encountered a wide range of situations and had experiences that touch on almost every imaginable emotion. Each flight has a unique dimension heightened by the sounds, sights, smells and physical proximity of the other passengers in a tightly enclosed space. The curious activity of moving at fast speeds from one environment to another, around and about what has become a very small sphere in a short period of time, stimulates thought about place, perception and the possibility of portals. Having flown on Pan Am, Continental, Delta, American Airlines, United Airlines, Laker Airways, Peoples Express, Southwest, British Airways, Hawaiian Air, TWA, Qantas, Virgin Australia, Aero Mexico, China Air, Alitalia, Air India, Lufthansa, Air France, JetBlue and a number of puddle jumpers – I’m feeling that of all these, Virgin America has created an illusion of a different sort for air travelers through the use of color and light.


Wendy Wahl
March 2014


Process Notes: Gyöngy Laky on Red in Art and Life

Posted in Art, Basketry, Books, Eco-Art, Guest Post, Sculpture on March 6th, 2014 by arttextstyle
photo by Gyöngy Laky

photo by Gyöngy Laky

Early in 2013, I was working in my studio in San Francisco on a commission for a collector using the beautiful small branches of deep purplish/red/brown California Manzanita.  I decided to paint the slant cut ends of each twig piece in a color.

photo by Gyöngy Laky

Red in life: Gyöngy calls her self a “one-color drinker.”
photo by Gyöngy Laky

As I began to figure out what that color might be, I also began listening to Orhan Pamuk’s captivating, fascinating, informative and suspenseful murder mystery novel set in the 16th C, My Name Is Red.  (16 discs 20.5 hrs.)  Sometimes it is difficult to trace the provenance of specific details as they evolve in the studio, but toward the end of the book I realized that the “Turkish” red that I had chosen from my many test samples of color for the sculpture must have been suggested by Pamuk’s extraordinary novel.  (During this period I was also listening constantly to the music of Otis Redding when not Pamuk’s story, so his music may have played a role in my subconscious decision making activity also.)

photo by Gyöngy Laky

photo by Gyöngy Laky

The Pamuk discs were given to me by a wonderful young British artist, Rebecca Taber, who was my studio assistant for a time before relocating to Southern France.  When I emailed her that I was immersed in Pamuk, she responded,  ”it’s so symbolic in many ways.  I loved the way there was a description of the clash between cultures seemingly so contemporary and yet never forgetting the period in the 1500′s when it is set. What a great studio partner!  It’s so lovely to think of you there deep in Turkish red soaking up the streets of Istanbul whilst in San Francisco!” Reading Pamuk’s novel the reader will be immersed in feeling this extraordinary color and learning fascinating things about Turkey and art.

photo by Gyöngy Laky

“Do not forget that colors are not known, but felt.” – Pamuk
photo by Gyöngy Laky

In Chapter 31 – “How exquisite it is to be red.”

I do love red, though I find it a difficult and tricky color.  I am currently working on my second red “devil” question mark sculpture.  I want a wide range of reds.  I can mix seemingly unlimited variations of greens, but reds… even when carefully mixing, they start looking alike within very narrow ranges – all the deep reds start looking similar and all the orange reds start looking as if from the same mixture.

Red is powerful.  Some while ago, as women began to be more prominent in politics, I noticed that more and more of them were wearing red.  It struck me as strange to see the few reds among all the dark suit uniforms of the men.  I did not like it.  It was such a strong image showing us how few women there were in leadership roles.  Then I began to dislike seeing women in red.  More and more of the TV newscasters, CEO’s of companies and female pundits appeared in red.  Red on television often vibrates!  This is very distracting.  There is no light red.  Light red is pink.  Pink, in my opinion, is an even worse color for women… and little girls… now ubiquitous in pink, shoes, princess dresses, back packs, purses, socks, etc. (thank you Disney!). Every other color I can think of can be presented in a light version, but not red (though, perhaps, black is an exception, as well, becoming grey – many think of grey as a separate color.)

photo by Gyöngy Laky

photo by Gyöngy Laky

Red for women is associated with erotic… being hot.  We call women tomatoes.  Red for hearts – blood red.  Red for emotion.  Red faced – blushing.  Little Red Riding Hood.  Red is powerful.  Red is political.  Red is distracting as no other color can be.  It may, conversely, be as attracting as no other color can be.

And, from Pamuk I learned, red is not known, but felt….  And that is something I have always experienced when using it and why, I now realize, I like it so much.


Guest Blog: Wendy Wahl on Newspapers Then and Now

Posted in Art, Art Textiles, Eco-Art, Guest Post, In the News, Paper, Press on February 19th, 2014 by arttextstyle

The following story describes an obsession with a newspaper that some people may take for granted.  Perhaps at one point this desire was heightened because I had been included in the paper’s folds.


photo by Wendy Wahl

As I took the 106 steps from an east door of my home I focused on the sensation of my feet walking across the recently laid pavers, onto the gravel drive and through a break in the stonewall to the street to see if it had really arrived. I had waited over 20 years for this moment and I savored each stride with anticipation that was punctuated with my own sounds of excitement. Patient hopefulness described my wait to unfold the neatly layered sections to discover what was inside. Though I feared it wouldn’t be there like so many times before and all my expectations would be shattered, I still felt somehow today was different.

For several years I would get in my car and travel the approximate 10 miles roundtrip to Taylor’s Country Store where I had reserved my copy of the paper.  Back then Taylor’s could be described as a charming, dusty, ramshackle, screen-door-hits-you-on-the-way-in-and-out kind of place. The entrance was so close to the two-lane main road that when you pulled up to park in the allotted space you’d be lucky not to hit anything or anyone. Inside the store was something you had to physically experience. There was nothing there I would eat; many of the product expiration dates had been reached and much of the packaged food was unrecognizable. It was one of the few destinations between my house and pretty much anything else heading east towards the University of Rhode Island just beyond the Kingston train station.  The store marked the north end of the Great Swamp. Mom and Pop Taylor were the quintessential shopkeepers who were humorously kind. I would usually run into someone I knew there. Around the same time the Department of Transportation took out the rotaries aka suicide circles on Route 138, Taylor’s closed.  The Alternative Food Co-op moved in which I welcomed having nearby because you could purchase fresh, local fruits and vegetables, eggs and dry foods in bulk.  An Asian Market followed this that brought lemongrass, tamarind and an array of new flavors to my neighborhood; a delicious culinary addition to rural South County but neither carried the newspaper I wanted to wrap up in at least on the weekend.

In 1990 I contacted The New York Times to see if I could get the paper delivered.  I was instructed to fax my order in.  If you remember this was a time when answering machines were being challenged by the immediacy of the fax machine.  I saw it as the thin edge of the personal communications wedge. After getting no results from my requests via this technology I picked up the telephone, not a smart phone or a cordless, but a copper connected landline and made the call to the subscription office to create an account to get the paper delivered to my doorstep. The person on the other end of the phone seemed genuinely helpful to include me in the community of those who wake up to find “all the news that fit to print” within arms length.  The representative took my name, address and credit card information and told me that I should expect to wait 4-6 weeks for my first delivery.  I immediately put the expected date into my day-at-a-glance book and waited with great expectation.  I probably don’t have to tell you that it didn’t arrive and oddly enough they started to send subscriptions advertisements. When I called to find out what happened the explanation was that “currently there isn’t delivery of the Sunday Times in your area.” I was told it could be mailed and I may receive it on Wednesday or Thursday. Seriously?

Geographically Rhode Island isn’t that far away from New York and the whole state is the size of the county of Los Angeles.  Myself a native Angelino, I often think of the avocado and loquat trees that dotted the landscape and how the Santa Monica Mountains terminate at the sea.  My thoughts drift to a time where the scent of citrus from the fruit groves lingered in the air after passing through the San Gabriel valley on a two-hour drive to the snow-covered San Bernardino range.  I still remember the importance of our first RCA color console.  The latest in home technology that aired Walter Cronkite every evening, the Jetsons on Saturday mornings and the Ed Sullivan show on Sunday night but this didn’t change home delivery of several newspapers that were available at the time.  Looking back, it was an era of door-to-door sales of print subscriptions that included magazines, books and in our case the newspaper from the Big Apple.  I mistakenly assumed I could receive The New York Times delivered in New England.  Now I understand that even by Rhode Island driving standards I’m off the beaten track.  In order to get to where I live you have to travel off the main east west artery of the state passing through turf fields, an Audubon preserve bordered by a white pine forest, cross over a one lane bridge, go past a pottery up a winding hill and at the time down an unpaved road to arrive at the last house whose postal address was a rural route and where three town lines intersect in the road in front of the house.  I explained to the representative whom I hoped had a sympathetic ear that it was only two-and-a-half miles off the main road.  The representative told me there just weren’t enough people who wanted delivery in my neck of the woods.  I asked if they would just leave it at the end of the road so I could pick it up there. They stopped sending notices.

A new rhythm developed where I would call the toll-free subscription number every few months to go through the motions of creating an account only to be met with the same results.  After the millennium my efforts dwindled to every six months and then perhaps once a year.  Then suddenly sometime in 2007 they began to send offers again letting me know that delivery was available in my area.  I took the bait each time over and over again.  I was delighted to see my invitation to get home delivery and at an introductory price of 50% off in my mailbox.  I would dutifully fill out the form, repost it and back it up with a call where I would be informed that in fact it would be on its way.  Yes, it’s finally happening – I’d dance about and sing hallelujah!  My husband would look at me with a raised eyebrow “are you going to fall for it again?”  Always hopeful, my response was “indeed.” But as you can guess, it didn’t happen.  To my family I must have seemed so pathetic to continue on this ridiculous ride for years.  Eventually I stopped responding to the solicitations giving up on the prospects of it ever happening.  However, in early April last year I received a notice in the mail from the subscription office that delivery was available.  I thought, what have I got to lose?  I called.


photo by Webdy Wahl

Admittedly I’d become relatively skeptical but perhaps this was the moment – the time had arrived when I would actually be able to get it delivered.  If this sounds like a promotional ad for The New York Times, perhaps it is.  Drum roll please…last year on a Sunday morning in May I went to my Providence Journal box where I had requested the Times be placed, a logical idea since both papers are now printed and delivered from the same location, to see if it was there and it was!  It would have been enough that it arrived at all but it was Mother’s Day and it had the Travel of the Times magazine – armchair candy.  So pleased to have the newspaper in my hands I began separating the paper by quickly scanning and then for the moment setting aside the front page because it’s too grim to take in the global inequities so early in the day.  The striking contrast of headlines and stories to the needed advertisements to keep it printed is unsettling.  I move on to the SundayReview, my favorite section, where I’m confident I will discover something that will inform my work.  That week I was introduced to Alice E. Kober, the instrumental backstage player in deciphering Linear B, “an unknown language in an unknown script” as described by linguist Margalit Fox author of recently released The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code.  It made me think about lost civilizations.  In that same section was a news analysis titled The Hidden World Under Our Feet.  As a mycophile and tree hugger it caught my eye.  Jim Robbins articulates the idea that “the world’s ocean of soil is one of our largest reservoirs of biodiversity” and that “the complex soil ecosystem is highly evolved and sophisticated”. His new release The Man Who Planted Trees  (different from the book with the same title by Jean Giono, published in 1953 and I suspect inspired by) documents one nurseryman’s quest to clone the biggest trees on the planet in order to save our forests and ecosystem.  I’m feeling gratified for all my efforts.  Then it’s on to each section: Arts and Leisure, Travel, BookReview, SundayBusiness, SundayStyles, SportsSunday, and the Magazine where I’m puzzled, challenged and humbled by Will Shortz.  Unfortunately the New England edition doesn’t have a classified section. Nostalgia wafts in on a zephyr and I can see my father in his plaid wool robe sitting at the kitchen table, the overhead fixture illuminating the plate of peanut butter filled celery troughs and his reflection in the sliding glass door, reading the want ads out of curiosity.  For me some weeks the paper is devoured the day it arrives and is then left lying about the house and studio to be reread and reused.  There is something so comforting about curling up on the sofa or sitting at the round table with a really good newspaper.  I enjoy the feel of it between my fingers, the smell of the ink and that familiar font that I now need magnifiers to read.


photo by Wendy Wahl

Newspapers have many uses beyond their primary function to communicate information and ideas.  Among these the most intriguing is as a medium for making art.  Picasso immediately comes to mind as appropriator of the material.  In 1909, Fillippo Marinetti coerced Le Figaro to print his controversial manifesto promoting the Futurist movement.  In the 21st century Jim Hodges covered a newspaper from Amman, Jordan in 24k gold.  An exhibition celebrating the relationship between newspapers and the arts titled Shock of the News at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC documents these and many other 20th century artists using newspaper as a medium for the message. Print-Inspired Art: All The News That’s Fit To Paint : NPR .

I embrace the reality of digital access to information at my fingertips like a library on the desktop – when the technology is working.  Recently while scrolling through the TED Talks I came across a presentation by Jacek Utko, a Polish newspaper designer and former architect who is questioning the notion that newspapers can be saved by reconnecting readers through good design and content choices.  Something along the lines of form follows function.…/jacek_utko_asks_can_design

Now as I walk back to my house carrying the newspapers each week I feel a sense of relief in finally having The New York Times delivered directly on Sunday.  Unfortunately sometimes this feeling is too quickly followed by the fear that now that I can have it delivered it might go out of print altogether and soon not be physically delivered anywhere.

 Wendy Wahl

February 12, 2014

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Guest Post: David Ling at Haystack School of Crafts, Deer Isle, Maine

Posted in Art, Commentary, Guest Post on February 6th, 2014 by arttextstyle
David Ling Haystack Blog

photo by David Ling

Nestled into the stoney evergreen clad ledge that seems to slip effortlessly into the atlantic off the coast of Deer Isle Maine, Haystack was to prove a desirable radical contrast to New York City, business and routine.

1000 miles, six ferries, two weeks of glass workshop, 42 haystack meals (in addition to the 10 lobster rolls en route)  no cell connection and barely any online connection, the contrast was complete.

photo by David Ling

photo by David Ling

Initially drawn to haystack for its architectural and landscape setting as well as the reputation I heard over the decades of serving collectors and working with the artisans, I wanted to experience haystack for myself.The link between my architectural practice and haystack is glass. I love glass. With my Modernist Bauhaus background, I grew to appreciate and love glass. Starting with Paul Scheerbart, Bruno Taut, and  the Crystal chain letters, glass took on utopian mythical proportions. Studying in Crown Hall, Mies’ glass temple to architectural education, I loved watching how the translucent glass captured light and became a filter for experiencing nature. Later, after starting my own practice, I created glass windows, glass floors, glass ceilings, glass roofs, glass furniture all using

photo by David Ling

photo by David Ling

tempered, laminated, annealed, acid etched, sandblasted, fractured glass in my work. But that’s where the similarities end. The very physical act of working with glass was to prove radically different from using glass in my architectural practice. I discovered that the very process of blowing glass requires teamwork, physical participation. Working with glass I found, required both focus and a peripheral awareness of my collaborators, heat –and not just any heat but adjusting heat with time in the air, contact with the stainless steel marver, water and wood. I found the luminous fluid quality of molten glass mesmerizing. Streams, puddles and droplets of liquid light.

In contrast to the flat planar architectural applications of glass, I learned through experimentation how glass could take on other qualities in its molten state: elastic, malleable, impervious, explosive, optical. I also started relearning how to experiment, explore and return to a childlike curiosity.

photo by David Ling

photo by David Ling

While I’m not sure how haystack will affect my future work, I am compelled by not just glass itself but how light and water play with glass. On a personal level I rediscovered child like playfulness, learning to experiment and embracing trial amd error. Collaborating with my classmates was a balletic choreography involving heat and light.

Our instructor Bo Yoon was instrumental in opening my eyes to the unique qualities of glass, not just technique.

As a class, we collectively produced a glass boat, a tree draped in glass strands, mini glass grenades, water filled glass prisms and lenses. One of the most interesting thrusts of Bo’s class and when I was most interested in was the combination of the qualities of glass interacting with water and light. With my rudimentary skills and overwhelming help from Bo, teaching assistants and fellow classmates I produced a diving bell helmet out of class. With an unobstructed view of the underwater world I could bob in the Atlantic coastal waters, listening to my own breathing and waves amplified by the buoyant glass bubble.

David Ling Architect

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Upcoming: Guest Posts on arttextstyle

Posted in Art, Art Textiles, Fiber Sculpture on February 4th, 2014 by arttextstyle

Art, architecture and the environment are upcoming topics for guest bloggers on over the next few months.

David Ling, Wend Wahl & Gyöngy Laky, photos by Tom Grotta

David Ling, Wend Wahl & Gyöngy Laky, photos by Tom Grotta

In February, architect  David Ling will write about studying glass at Haystack Mountain School of Craft in Maine a follow up to Hisako Sekijima’s 2013 blog about teaching basketry in the same session. Ling founded David Ling Architects in 1992 after training with Richard Meier, I.M. Pei and Emilio Ambasz. Ling has held teaching positions at Parsons School of Design and University of Nuremburg and has served on design juries at Interiors Magazine, Harvard Graduate School of Design and Columbia University. The essence of Ling’s architecture is the artistic integration of space, form, light and function enriched by materiality. Among his design projects is the home/office of browngrotta arts.

Artist Wendy Wahl will write three posts about art, environment and ideas — the first to appear in mid-February. Wahl‘s work has been exhibited internationally and is in a number of private and public collections including the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, New York and the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design. Her work has been the subject of exhibitions at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, Michigan, the Newport Art Museum, Rhode Island and the Fuller Craft Museum in Massachusetts.

In March, artist Gyöngy Laky’s Process Notes; Red in Art and Life will also appear on arttextstyle. Laky’s sculptural forms have been exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the United States. Internationally, her work has been exhibited in France, Sweden, Italy, Holland, Switzerland, Hungary, Lithuania, Colombia, the Philippines, China, with one-person exhibitions in Spain, Denmark and England. Her outdoor site-specific installations have been exhibited in the US, Canada, England, France, Austria and Bulgaria. From April 26th to May 5, 2014 Laky’s baskets and wall sculpture will be included in Of Two Minds; Artists Who Do More Than One of a Kind.
OF TWO MINDS: Artists who Create More Than One of a Kind
In March, readers will learn about the creative journey Dutch artist, Marian Bijlenga has taken, as she muses on 30 years of work. Bijlenga’s “spatial drawings “of horsehair, paper, thread and fish scales have been exhibited worldwide. Her work is represented in major museum collections including LongHouse Reserve; The Museum of Art & Design; The Craftmuseum, Finland; Musée des Beaux-Arts et de la Dentelle, Calais, France; and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. Bijlenga’s wall works and glass sculpture will be featured this April in Of Two Minds; Artists Who Do More Than One of a Kind at browngrotta arts.

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In Honor of Museum Selfie Day

Posted in Art, Sculpture on January 31st, 2014 by arttextstyle
Carter sitting on Robert Indiana's LOVE Sculpture in Scottsdale Arizona, photo by Tom Grotta

Carter sitting on Robert Indiana’s LOVE Sculpture in Scottsdale Arizona, photo by Tom Grotta

Wea culpa. We didn’t learn about Happy #MuseumSelfie day (January 22nd) until it had passed .#MuseumSelfie Day is an idea fromCulture

Rhonda at Storm King Sculpture Park, photo by Tom Grotta

Rhonda at Storm King Sculpture Park, photo by Tom Grotta

Themes and Mar Dixon aimed to make museums both less haughty and more physical Had we known sooner, we’d have been all in. We’ve been photo op’ing art for years; here’s a selection of our up-close-and-personal art encounters from earlier days. Send us your photo ops and we’ll post them here. Visit The Telegraph online to see this year’s museum selfies from around the world:


Carter at the Laumeier Sculpture Park. Photo by Tom Grotta

Carter at the Laumeier Sculpture Park. Photo by Tom Grotta

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The Year in Books: Art, Life and Learning — Part 2

Posted in Art, Art Textiles, Basketry, Book Recommendations, Books on January 5th, 2014 by arttextstyle

RichardDiebenkornAs always, art books are well represented among this year’s recommendations from browngrotta arts-affiliated artists, and at least one of the volumes offers life lessons, too.  Adela Akers writes that “the best books so far this year are the Diebenkorn catalogs for the exhibition at the de Young Museum,” which includes, Richard Diebenkorn, The Berkeley Years, 1953- 1966. Adela also recommends The Intimate Diebenkorn: Works on Paper 1949-1992, both as “good reads that include wonderful reproductions.” 39b.SHEILA.HICKSThe comprehensive volume,  Kyoko_Kumai_bookWorks of Kyoko Kumai Metallic Textile Art, published earlier this year tops Kyoko Kumai’s list. The book’s text appears in English and Japanese and it includes a digital version of the book on cd. Naomi Kobayashi recommends  Sheila Hicks for its content and beautiful binding.  The.Hare.with.Amber.EyesKay Sekimachi listed The Hare with Amber Eyes. In it, Edmund de Waal,  a potter and curator of ceramics at the Victoria & Albert Museum, describes the experiences of his family, the Ephrussis, and explores the family’s large collection of Japanese netsuke, tiny hand-carved figures including a hare with amber eyes. La_Biennale_di_VeneziaIn Heidrun Schimmel’s view, the 55. Esposizione Internazionale d´Arte  was one of the best Biennials in Venice ever, and she enthused about the accompanying catalog, The Encyclopedic Palace, 55th International Art Exhibition: La Biennale di Venezia. Its title was chosen by the director for the 55th Biennale as a reference to the 1955 design registered with the US Patent office by the self-taught artist Marino Auriti, depicting an imaginary museum that was meant to house all worldly knowledge and human discoveries, from the wheel to the satellite.  On the opposite side of Canale Grande writes Heidrun, “there is an important exhibition, Prima Materia, Punta della Dogana, Venezia, Dorsoduro, Pinault Collection, especially for artists who are working with material as matter. This exhibition continues through 2014, and is accompanied by a very good catalog, Caroline Bourgeois and Michael GovanPrima Materia,  edited by curators Caroline Bourgeois and Michael Govan.”  Visual Complexity: Mapping Patterns of Information by Manuel LimRandy Walker  read Visual Complexity: Mapping Patterns of Information by Manuel Lima this year.  “To me, network diagrams and their many variations are highly suggestive of fibrous connections. I am experimenting with the idea of my lines as connectors of different types of information.  The information can generate the connections. The book played an inspirational role in a new public art project I working on with Roosevelt High School here in Minneapolis to explore the network diagram in three dimensions. Here’s a link to the Kickstarter campaign to raise money for the project: Connections Gallery.”

Scrape_Willow_Until_It_Sings_Words_Work_Julia_ParkerAnd From Gyöngy Laky, a recommendation for a book and a for approaching life.  ”Two artists I admire enormously, Julia Parker and Deborah Valoma, created, Scrape the Willow Until It Sings, The Words and Work of Julia Parker, one of the best books on basketry, life and art I have ever read. It was published this year by an exceptional book publisher, Heyday, Berkeley, California. Native American basketry, especially the work of indigenous people in California, has been, and continues to be, a major inspiration to me and my creative life. Julia Parker and the author Deborah ValomaValoma writes in the introduction, Julia Parker and other traditional practitioners have much to teach those of us in the academy. I would add, and to those not in the academy, as well. The vast personal experiences, broad and deep scope of historical evidence and creative wisdom that these two thoughtful women have brought together in this book is a gift to us all. Near the end I found a something that Parker said that feels like a guide: In our story – in our Indian way – we stop, look, and listen.  Stop. Think about yourself.  Rest yourself.  Rest your eyes, your hands.  Rest your body.  Look.  Look about you. Look at the smallest insect.  Look at the tallest trees, which have given us shelter and food.  And we listen.  Listen to the sound of the water flowing.  Listen to your elders, your teachers.  Listen to your grandmother, your grandfather, your parents.  And above all, listen to yourself.

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The Year in Books: Art, Life and Learning — Part 1

Posted in Basketry, Book Recommendations, Books, Commentary, Fiber Sculpture, Gifts on December 22nd, 2013 by arttextstyle

World Book EncylopediaIt’s been a literary trip back in time for some of browngrotta arts’ artists this year. Every day since February, Wendy Wahl has chosen something at random to read from a well-preserved, slightly earthy smelling set of the 1957 World Book Encyclopaedia. ”This pursuit began,” she explains, “when I brought the volumes into the house from the studio to use as a barricade on furniture for my then one-year old Labrador Retriever. It kept her off the sofa but when I wasn’t looking she decided to explore Volumes A and N-O to see how they tasted. Volume M stands out in my memory, the letter of moving water. Included on the glossy pages are mangoes, mathematics, music, Moscow, Mexico, Morocco, molybdenum, money, minerals, medicine, manuscripts, Magna Carta, Mozart, Mendelssohn, monotype, mimeograph, motion pictures, moons, meteors, Mary, Moses, Mohammed, Manet, Monet, Matisse, milk, meat, mushroom, Madison, Marx but no Mandela. It has been revealing to look at these entries through the lens of the editors writing fifty-six years ago; War& PeaceI’m interested in how and what is presented and this 40th edition’s place in the 20th century.” Mary Merkel-Hess spent the entire autumn of this year reading one book - War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. ”My husband and I and a few others read it under the tutelage of an enthusiastic, young Russian professor,” she writes, “who served tea cakes and strong coffee during each of our discussions. Yes, it’s a great book and our study quickly led us to consider the history surrounding the book (Napoleonic wars), the complicated and fascinating Tolstoy family (especially the marriage of Leo and Sonya) and the use of the book and characters in other works of art – music and film. There is an American film version of the book starring Audrey Hepburn and a much better Russian film version which runs to 8 hours or so. We and our fellow classmates were captivated and the writing was, of course, superb. We read the new translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. I am not exactly recommending War and Peace, but if you would like to be submersed for awhile, able to ignore the news and unable to engage in topical conversation, I do recommend choosing it or another of the ‘great books’ as a way to take the focus off your regular life. I am now considering TheIdiotDostoyevskiThe Idiot by Dostoyevski (the favorite book of Pope Francis) or Joseph and His Brothers by Thomas Mann, which my daughter gave me a few years ago. Either way, I know I am in for the perfect escape.” Look for more recommendations in our next post.

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