Contemporary Art Influenced by Korea and Japan: An Unexpected Approach

Opens September 16th in Greenwich, Connecticut

Mary Yagi Outdoor Sculptor Art from Japan

Mariyo Yagi preparing her outdoor sculpture “A cycle- Infinity” for the upcoming exhibit in the US. Photo by Yuna Yagi

From September 16th to November 4, 2016, the Bendheim Gallery of the Greenwich Arts Council in Greenwich, Connecticut will present Contemporary Art Influenced by Korea and Japan: An Unexpected Approach, curated by browngrotta arts. The exhibition includes select works of ceramics, textiles, baskets and sculptures by artists from Japan, Korea and the United States that each reflect an Asian sensibility.

Textiles and Ceramic Art from Korea and Japan

Weaving by Chiyoko Tanaka, Ceramic by Yasuhisa Kohyama. Photo by Tom Grotta

Varied materials and techniques

The 23 artists in this exhibit have a close relationship to a traditional craft aesthetic, manifested in a contemporary manner. They have chosen conventionally Asian materials and/or techniques (dyes, papers, gold leaf, persimmon tannin, kategami) used in both time-honored and unconventional ways. Examples include studies by Hiroyuki Shindo of the vanishing art of natural indigo dyeing and by Jun Tomita on ikat dyeing.  Jennifer Linssen’s innovative sculptures of katagami and Keiji Nio’s Interlacing-R, which references complex Japanese sumihimo braiding reimagine conventional techniques. Masakazu and Naomi Kobayashi, Naoko Serino and Kyoko Kumai also create new relationships among disparate material and techniques.

Kiyomi Iwata Gold Mesh Sculpture

Auric Grid Fold, Kiyomi Iwata, aluminum mesh, french embroidery knots, gold leaf, silk organza, 19″ x 18″ x 10″, 2013. Photo by Tom Grotta

In other works, like Kiyomi Iwata’s Auric Gold Fold, Glen Kaufman’s Shimogamo Scrolls: Studio View II and Jin-Sook So, Pojagi Constructions I and II, gold and silver leaf play a role, their luster and longevity suggesting immortality, power, divinity. The artists share a concern for surface and material interaction, evident in Chiyoko Tanaka’s Grinded Fabric-Three Squares Blue Threads and Blue #689, of linen distressed with earth and stones, Hideho Tanaka’s Vanishing and Emerging series of stainless steel and singed paper and Mariyo Yagi’s twisted rope sculpture, A cycle-Infinity. The artists in Contemporary Art Influenced by Korea and Japan: An Unexpected Approach create work that is formal and contained while visibly involving the hand of the artist. This exhibition is a collaboration between the Greenwich Arts Council and browngrotta Arts.

The complete list of artists participating in this exhibition is:

Nancy Moore Bess (United States); Pat Campbell (United States); Kiyomi Iwata (Japan); Glen Kaufman (United States); Masakazu Kobayashi (Japan); Naomi Kobayashi (Japan); Yasuhisa Kohyama (Japan); Kyoko Kumai (Japan); Jennifer Falck Linssen (United States); Keiji Nio (Japan); Toshio Sekiji (Japan); Hisako Sekijima (Japan); Naoko Serino (Japan); Hiroyuki Shindo (Japan); Jin-Sook So (Korea/Sweden); Norkiko Takamiya (Japan); Chiyoko Tanaka (Japan); Hideho Tanaka (Japan); Takaaki Tanaka (Japan); Jun Tomita (Japan); Mariyo Yagi (Japan); Chang Yeonsoon (Korea); Jiro Yonezawa (Japan); Shin Young-ok (Korea).

The Bendheim Gallery is located at 299 Greenwich Avenue, Greenwich, Connecticut; 203.862.6750; info@greenwicharts.org.


More Art Outdoors: Randy Walker’s latest in Minneapolis

Randy Walkers Urban Fabric installation. photo courtesy of Randy Walker

Randy Walkers Urban Fabric installation. photo courtesy of Randy Walker

Randy Walker is at work on a temporary art installation outdoors in Minneapolis, Minnesota, entitle Urban Fabric. Walker received his fifth Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant that will fund the work. The installation is located on the side wall of the historic Pantages Theater, which is home to a nondescript parking lot. It will be part of the Pantages’ 100th anniversary recognition. Another artist is creating a billboard above the installation, and some of the fiber from Urban Fabric will extend over the top to connect to the building above.

Urban Fabric

Urban Fabric

The image below of Walker’s assistant, Arnold Carlson, illustrates that while the work is simple in concept, its execution is extremely tedious and difficult. The Pantages Theatre is located at: 710 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55403. You can take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Panteges and other beautifully preserved theaters in downtown Minneapolis in September. More information here: http://dev.preserveminneapolis.org/event/historic-theaters-of-minneapolis-walking-tour/.


Art Al Fresco: Gyöngy Laky and Chris Drury Create Environmental Art

Chris Drury, The Wandering, Environmental art installation drawing

Chris Drury, The Wandering

In May, Chris Drury began work on The Wandering, an environmental work of art commissioned by the State of Western Australia for the site of the new Perth Stadium, sited on the south bank of the Swan River, overlooking the city to the west. “The work is a meandering dry-stone wall which emerges from a stone whirlpool on the isthmus of the lake to the south, winds its way north in a series of loops, and descends again into the earth on the higher ground, “ says Drury. It appears to have no beginning or end, arising from the high ground in the north and plunging into the stone whirlpool to the south (or vice versa). The wall is 190 meters long and covers a distance of 90 meters as the crow flies.

Chris Drurys The Wandering being built

Chris Drury The Wandering under construction, photo by Chris Drury

This structure, however, is no ordinary wall, for it will be built as a Cornish dry-stone hedge, which is a growing, living thing: a miniature ecosystem and biodiverse habitat. In the UK some of these walls have stood for a thousand years because they are constructed with an earth infill, allowing plants to grow and give rise to habitat for insects etc, eventually binding the structure together. Here in Perth, I adapted the work to the Western Australian climate by planting the wall with indigenous drought-resistant plants, which will be irrigated.” You can see more images on Drury’s website: http://chrisdrury.co.uk/the-wandering/.

Gyöngy Laky Rope-Polcenigo-Caneva Italy

Gyöngy Laky Rope-Polcenigo-Caneva. photo by: Francesca Giannelli (6/12/16)

In May, Gyöngy Laky was a Special Guest at Humus Park, International Biennale V of Land Art, with a collaborating artist, Paul Discoe, northeast of Venice, Italy. Humus Park is Italy’s most important Land Art event. The Land Art is an artistic form using natural materials. Some of its numbers: 13 days, 3 locations, more than 80 artists from 13 countries all over the world, 8 art schools and academies involved. Laky was there for two weeks working onsite. “ Arriving in magical Polcenigo I heard its water symphony… beautiful, clean blue/green water flowing everywhere,” Laky says. “The sound was intoxicating and it explained the verdant green foliage all around. The sun was warm and bright. It was an awe-inspiring place. And, later when it rained and rained, it was still beautiful and I understood even more about the invigorating water gushing from the mountains.” Laky and Paul Discoe, who she invited to be her art partner, very quickly agreed on a project. “We both have worked extensively with trees and materials from trees,” explains Laky, “and we also both share a deep interest in shimenawa – rice straw ropes used in the Shinto religion to adorn sacred places. We found a magnificent tree overlooking the water and reflecting in it. We wanted to honor it. We decided to make rope from the hay provided to adorn the tree. It occurred to us that we were engaged in making something that was, probably, similar to what the ancient inhabitants of that lake dwelling site most likely made also. Rope making with plant fiber dates back to prehistoric times. We were connecting with the land and its history in, yet, another aspect.” See the artists at work at Humus Park on video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vwJg1ZYATw&feature=youtu.be&app=desktop. You can also see — and own — smaller scale works by Gyöngy Laky and Chris Drury in Green for the Get Go: International Basketmakers, at the Morris Museum, Morristown, New Jersey through June 26, 2016. All the works are for sale and we have additional works on our website. For more information: http://www.morrismuseum.org/current-exhibitions/.

Gyongy Laky Pordenone-wheelbarrow Italy

Gyongy Laky Pordenone, photo by Pat van Boeckel, Rerun Produkties, Holland


Art Events: Birds on the Brain in New York and Massachusetts

Minkowitz Bird Stitch Drawing

61nm Patterns of Flight II, Norma Minkowitz, stitched, drawn, collage, pen and ink on paper, 20 x 14.75″, 2015

Perhaps it’s in the air —  or are three avian-themed art exhibitions in one season a mere coincidence? In any event, there are three very different takes on a popular theme for viewers to sample. At the Shirley Fiterman Art Center, 81 Barclay Street, New York, NY, 10007 is The Conference of the Birds, curated by painter Brenda Zlamany. The Conference of the Birds, is based on a poem composed in the 12th century by the Persian poet Farid ud-Din Attar, about an epic, mystical quest narrative in which hundreds of birds embark on a perilous journey in search of a king called the Simurgh, who can right the wrongs in their world. Attar’s poem can be seen as a metaphor for the often perilous journey of self-discovery that artists face. This metaphor and the rich imagery of birds in the poem are the gravitational glue that brings together a diverse group of works for this exhibition, which features 36 artists. Among those included are Lesley Dill and Norma Minkowitz, who is exhibiting works from her new Patterns of Flight Series, which combines detailed drawings, collage and stitching. The Gallery, located at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, is open Tuesday through Saturday from 12 to 6 p.m. For more information, go to: http://www.bmcc.cuny.edu/sfac/.

Birds Norma Minkowitz

The Gathering by Norma Minkowitz
mixed media, 2016

At the Katonah Museum of Art through June 19th, is theThe Nest, an exhibition of art in nature, which provides an unexpected lens through which to observe the fascinating parallels between human and animal behavior, raising timely questions about the survival of birds and their habitats in our increasingly fragile ecological world The Katonah Museum of Art is at 134 Jay Street/Route 22, Katonah, New York, and is closed on Mondays http://www.katonahmuseum.org/exhibitions/TheNest/Baby Birds: An Artist Looks into the Nest is at Mass Audubon in Lincoln, Massachusetts now through September 18th. The featured artist, Julie Zickefoose, is an author, artist and naturalist in addition to being a wildlife rehabilitator. She works in a variety of mediums, though primarily watercolors, leaving the viewer with the sense that connectivity is important to all of us. Also on exhibit at Mass Audubon is Classic American Bird Carving: An Introduction. The Museum is located on a 121-acre wildlife sanctuary and has a collection of engravings and lithographs by John James Audubon and related works by many other artists including sculptor Larry Barth, Charly Harper and 100 prints from his Endangered Species series that were donated by Andy Warhol. The Museum of American Bird Art is at 963 Washington Street, Canton, MA 02021;781-821-8853; http://www.massaudubon.org/learn/museum-of-american-bird-art/exhibitions/current-exhibitions/baby-birds-an-artist-looks-into-the-nest-watercolors-by-julie-zickefoose.


Artboom Artists Introduction: Gudrun Pagter and Włodzimierz Cygan

Włodzimierz Cygan and Gudrun Pagter tapestry details. Photos by Tom Grotta

Włodzimierz Cygan and Gudrun Pagter tapestry details. Photos by Tom Grotta

Among the 33 accomplished artists featured in Artboom: Celebrating Artists Mid-Century, Mid-Career, are two artists from Europe, Gudrun Pagter and Włodzimierz Cygan who have not shown with browngrotta arts before. She creates strong graphic imagery in her tapestries, which reference architecture, with narrow lines and changes in color fields. ” In my works” she explains, “I consistently probe and explore concrete artistic idioms. I am engaged in a constant process of exploring the picture plane through a highly disciplined structuring of geometrical form elements and lines and through a restricted color spectrum.” Pagter’s work has been exhibited worldwide, including at the Danish Museum of Decorative Arts, Copenhagen, the Central Museum in Lodz, Poland, at the 14th International Tapestry Triennial and in China, at the 5th and 6th Internaitonal Fiber Art Biennials, From Lausanne to Beijing, where she received a Silver Medal and an Excellence Award. Włodzimierz Cygan’s

Gudrun Pagter catalog spread from artboom Artboom: Celebrating Artists Mid-Century, Mid-Career

Gudrun Pagter catalog spread from artboom Artboom: Celebrating Artists Mid-Century, Mid-Career

work has also been exhibited in Europe and abroad, including the Jean Lurcat Museum in France, the Kyoto Art Center in Japan and the National Gallery in San Jose, Costa Rica. He was awarded a Bronze Medal at the 6th International Fiber Art Biennial, From Lausanne to Beijing and the Grand Prix,12th International Triennial of Tapestry. Cygan is reknown for his textile innovations. “When trying to determine why the means of artistic expression in tapestry was becoming archaic,” he has written, “I realised that one of the reasons might have to do with the custom of treating the threads of the weft as the chief medium of the visual message. . . . These observations led me to wonder how the artistic language of textiles might benefit from a warp whose strands would not be parallel and flat but convergent, curved or three dimensional. . . .” The result, in some of Cygan’s works, the warp changes direction, the strands enable the weaving of circles or arcs. For more than 10 years, Cygan has been teaching at Gdańsk Academy and Architecture of Textiles’ Institute at Łódź Technical University. Miracle, the work that the artist selected for Artboom, Miracle, which won the Bronze medal at the 6th From Lausanne to Beijing, features a hypnotic curve, that draws the viewer into the heart of the work. Artboom is open at browngrotta arts, 276 Ridgefield Road, Wilton, Connecticut, for 10 days only. April 30th from 12-6 p.m.; May 1st to May 8th from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.. For more information, call: 203-834-0623. The 88-page, full color catalog, can be ordered at: http://www.browngrotta.com/Pages/c41.php.

Artboom: Celebrating Artists Mid-Century, Mid-Career Catalog cover

Artboom: Celebrating Artists Mid-Century, Mid-Career Catalog cover


Make a Day of It: Artboom and Events Nearby

pictured works by: Christine Joy, Debra Sachs and Lilla Kulka; Photo by Tom Grotta; browngrotta arts

pictured works by: Christine Joy, Debra Sachs and Lilla Kulka; Photo by Tom Grotta; browngrotta arts

Artboom: Celebrating Artists, Mid-Century, Mid-Career opens at browngrotta arts in Wilton, Connecticut next Saturday April 30th, 12 -6 p.m. The exhibition is open through May 8th; hours from May 1st to May 8th are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., earlier or later by appointment. When you are in our neighborhood, there are other art events that are well worth visiting:

Wilton Historical Society Basket Exhibition

Wilton Historical Society Basket Exhibition

The Wilton Historical Society, just down the road from bga in Wilton at 224 Danbury Road/Rt. 7, has
Hickory, Ash and Reed: Traditional Baskets, Contemporary Makers, http://www.wiltonhistorical.org/exhibitions.html on exhibit, which showcases several baskets by the late Marian Hildebrandt, whose work is represented by browngrotta arts, along with work by Jonathan Kline, Stephen Zeh, Lois Russell and Kari Lonning. Curated by Shawna Barrett, the works by contemporary basketmakers who use natural materials like brown ash, black ash, hickory, willow and reed are thoughtfully displayed aside unique historic baskets from the Society’s permanent collection. The Historical Society is closed Mondays.

Davis Brooks: Continuous Service Altered Daily, exhibit at the Aldrich Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut. Photo by Tom Grotta

Davis Brooks: Continuous Service Altered Daily, exhibit at the Aldrich Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut. Photo by Tom Grotta

From May 1st, Davis Brooks: Continuous Service Altered Daily, will be on exhibit at the Aldrich Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut: http://aldrichart.org/article/continuous-service-altered-daily just north of us at 258 Main Street/Ridgefield Road, Ridgefield, Connecticut. “The stunning array of dismantled John Deere combine parts, exhibited in a diverse system of presentation, are designated according to the ecosystem service they represent, making it impossible to conceive of the combine in its entirety or to determine the machine’s complete functionality; similarly, an ecosystem integrates innumerable processes, many of them intangible or undetectable, into one whole, making it impossible for us to conceive of a life unfolding within it.” The Aldrich is closed on Tuesdays.

Paul Villinski, Self-Portrait (Detail), 2014, Steel, birds nest, 68 x 20 x 8 inches Courtesy of the artist and Morgan Lehman Gallery, New York

Paul Villinski, Self-Portrait (Detail), 2014, Steel, birds nest, 68 x 20 x 8 inches
Courtesy of the artist and Morgan Lehman Gallery, New York

The Nest, an exhibition of art in nature, at the Katonah Museum of Art, 134 Jay Street/Route 22, Katonah, New York, provides an unexpected lens through which to observe the fascinating parallels between human and animal behavior, raising timely questions about the survival of the birds and their habitats in our increasingly fragile ecological world http://www.katonahmuseum.org/exhibitions/TheNest/ The Katonah Museum is closed on Mondays.


Art Update: April Openings and Closings Here and Abroad

Beyond the Trees: Dona Look and Dorothy Gill Barnes. Photo courtesy of the Wood Turning Center

Beyond the Trees: Dona Look and Dorothy Gill Barnes. Photo courtesy of the Wood Turning Center

It’s a Spring chock full of interesting exhibitions in the US and abroad. You’ve have just a few days remaining to see Beyond the Trees: Dona Look and Dorothy Gill Barnes http://centerfor
artinwood.org/
exhibition/dorothy-
gill-barnes-dona-
look-beyond-the-
trees/ at the Center for Wood Art in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Two browngrotta artist are featured in this exhibition, which closes April 23rd.

photo by Tom Grotta, Green From the Get Go, Morris Museum

Photo by Tom Grotta, Green From the Get Go, Morris Museum

Their work can also be seen through June 26th at the Morris Museum in Morristown, New Jersey in Green From the Get Go: Contemporary International Basketmakers, curated by browngrotta arts. In New York, New York, the Experiments in Art & Digital Technologies includes innovative bga artist Lia Cook, http://www.liacook.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/EADT-Press.pdf who will lecture in New York on May 5th https://creativetechweek2016.sched.org/event/6DN5/weaving-and-digital-innovation.

12 of 32 Lia Cook Su Series Tapestries

12 of 32 Lia Cook Su Series Tapestries

Work by Lia Cook is also front and center in a San Francisco, California exhibition, Lines that Tie: Carol Beadle and Lia Cook http://sfmcd.org/press-release-lines-that-tie/ the exhibition is curated by bga artist, Deborah Valoma. Cook will lecture there tomorrow, April 21st. Identify Yourself, in Honolulu, Hawaii http://honolulumuseum
.org/art/exhibitions/
15320-identify_yourself/
, which closes this week, on April 24th, also features work by Lia Cook. Two events in Wilton, Connecticut to attend. Hickory, Ash and Reed: Traditional Baskets, Contemporary Makersat the Wilton Historical Society, http://www.wiltonhistorical.
org/exhibitions.html
, Includes several baskets by the late Marian Hildebrandt, whose work is represented by browngrotta arts and whose work is also currently on exhibit in Green from the Get: International Contemporary Basketmakers at the Morris Museum.

Detail of Nordic Gold by Birgit Birkkjaer. Photo by Tom Grotta

Detail of Nordic Gold by Birgit Birkkjaer. Photo by Tom Grotta

Artboom: Celebrating Artists Mide-Century, Mid-Career is open at browngrotta arts for just 10 days, from April 30th-May 8th http://arttextstyle.com/
2016/04/19/art-barn-
2016-artboom-
celebrating-artists-
mid-century-mid-
career-wilton-ct-
april-30th-may-8th/
.

MER LUMINEUSE and J'AI MA LA MER S'ILLUMINER by Mariette Rousseau-Vermette. Photo by Tom Grotta

Mer Lumineuse and J’ai Ma La Mer S’illuminer
by Mariette Rousseau-Vermette. Photo by Tom Grotta

In the halls of the Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts in Lausanne, Switzerland, Nomadic tapestries, an exhibition of some of the extensive contemporary collection of the Toms Pauli Foundation, traces in the evolution of textile art from the 1960s to 2000s,
http://www.musees
.vd.ch/en/museem-
beaux-arts/
exhibition/past-
exhibitions
/tapisseries-
nomades-fondation
-toms-pauli-collection-xxe-siecle/
. browngrotta arts has work available by twelve of the artists included in this very significant international survey of art textiles — Magadalena Abakanowicz, Lia Cook, Sheila Hicks, Jan HladikRitzi Jacobi, Naomi Kobayashi, Maria Laszkiewicz, Jolanta Owidzka, Mariette Rousseau-Vermette, Wojciech Sadley, Sherri Smith and Hideho Tanaka. The exhibition will be on view through May 29th. In Tilburg, the Netherlands the Textile Museum is hosting a major retrospective of American artist and textile pioneer Sheila Hicks, born 1934 http://www.textielmuseum.nl/nl/tentoonstelling/sheila-hicks. Internationally renowned, thanks to her participation in numerous large solo and group exhibitions, this is her first appearance in the Netherlands for many years. The exhibition extends through June 5, 2016.


Art in the Barn 2016: Artboom: Celebrating Artists Mid-Century, Mid-Career, Wilton, CT, April 30th – May 8th

photo includes work by Merja Winqvist, Jiro Yonezawa and Włodzimierz Cygan

photo includes work by Merja Winqvist, Jiro Yonezawa and Włodzimierz Cygan

In less than two weeks, browngrotta will open its 2016 Art in the Barn exhibition, Artboom: Celebrating Artists Mid-Century, Mid Career. This year’s exhibition brings together “baby boomers,” 33 artists born between 1946 and 1964, who are mid-way into their lives of making art. We’ve asked them to provide us work that is reflective; work that tells us where they’ve come from or where they hope to go; work that illustrates influences, roads not taken, and the like. Or, work that reflects on being a boomer, perhaps— part of the wealthiest, most active, and most physically fit generation up to that time and the first to grow up genuinely expecting the world to improve. It was a generation that created music and literature in the 60s and art — including fiber art — to describe the change this generation was determined to bring about.

14cg The Iron Curtain, Ceca Georgieva, Burrdoch burrs,19" x 16" x 5", 2016

14cg The Iron Curtain, Ceca Georgieva, Burrdoch burrs,19″ x 16″ x 5″, 2016

The results are contemplative and thought provoking. Ceca Georgieva’s sculpture, The Iron Curtain, reflects her life in a Communist and post-Communist state. Karyl Sisson’s In Stitches, harkens back to her family’s past in New York’s Fashion industry — her grandmother made hats and beaded bags in New York’s lower East side; her mother spent 25 years as a buyer for the specialty store Bonwit Teller. For Lewis Knauss, this stage of his career means seeing unrealized ideas (sketches, notes, photos) and failed work in a new light. “I am happier with chaos,” he says, “the way I need to give up a bit more control of the outcome, flaws and in nature, the beauty of disaster. I guess it is acknowledging the approaching wall. I enjoy working at my pace rather than a deadline enforced one, allowing things to just happen, evaluating the outcomes as I finish each work. Keeping and discarding.” The Artist’s Opening for Artboom: Celebrating Artists Mid-Century, Mid-Career is Saturday, April 30th from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. The hours of the exhibition from May 1st through May 8th are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. — just call if you’d like to come by earlier or later: 203.834.0623. browngrotta arts’ contemporized 1895 barn is at 276 Ridgefield Road, Wilton, CT 06897. For more information and a complete list of artists visit browngrotta.com: http://www.browngrotta.com/Pages/calendar.php. A catalog, Artboom: Celebrating Artists Mid-Century, Mid-Career will be available from browngrotta.com after May 1st.

pictured works by: Birgit Birkkjaer; Grethe Sorensen; Grethe Wittrock; Gudrun Pagter; Mary Merkel-Hess; Tom grotta; browngrotta arts

pictured works by: Birgit Birkkjaer; Grethe Sorensen; Grethe Wittrock; Gudrun Pagter; Mary Merkel-Hess; Tom grotta; browngrotta arts


Press News: Green from the Get Go – browngrotta arts’ 44th catalog is now available.

GreenCover-1We are excited to announce that our 44th catalog, Green from the Get Go: International Contemporary Basketmakers, is now available at browngrotta.com. The catalog, photographed by Tom Grotta, contains 132 full-color photos of artwork from browngrotta arts’ current installation, Green from the Get Go: International Contemporary Basketmakers, on exhibit at the Morris Museum, in Morristown, New Jersey through June 26th. Green from the Get Go showcases more than 75 works by 33 artists from Canada, Europe, Japan, Scandinavia and the US — innovators in the genre of 20th-century art basketry as well as emerging talents. These artists take their inspiration from nature and the history of basketry but their inventive works challenge our conceptions of what a “basket” can be. In Naoko Serino’s Generating 12.2, for example, cylinders of spun jute, of varying degrees of transparency, stand in rhythmic, ethereal balance. The artist hopes that “an expression and dialogue will be produced, that the space would be created/generated in which there is a comfortable energy, expressions that will continue to exist in balance with the surroundings.” In Stéphanie Jacques’s Wall / Mur, we get not one basket, but a honeycomb — nearly a dozen basket spheres made of willow. Jane Balsgard’s Barkbaden boat shape is more literal — a willow frame covered in handmade paper — but the result is unexpected.

Naoko Serino Generating 12

The artists in Green from the Get Go, “have a strong connection to the land, whether cultivated fields or wild prairies, marches, or forests,” writes Jane Milosch in her essay, The Entanglement of Nature and Man. “Several cultivate, harvest, and prepare the materials from which they construct their work. They have a respectful awareness of the origin of things, and of the interconnected aspects of nature and ecosystems, which are both fragile and resilient.” In 2011, Milosch, Director, Provenance Research Initiative, Smithsonian Institution and former curator, Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian Museum of American Art, approached browngrotta arts about mounting an exhibition featuring artists working in basket forms. Discussions quickly coalesced around designing an exhibition that would highlight these artists’ processes and techniques and shed light on their intimate connection to nature. Green from the Get Go: International Contemporary Basketmakers, the exhibition and catalog, featuring dozens of baskets, vessels and related objects of natural materials — bark, twigs, willow, cedar and bamboo, was the result.

Dona Look Basket #976

The work in Green from the Get Go reveals a heightened sensitivity to the physicality of materials, one that honors the stewardship of nature by the artists’ choice and use of materials. That practice is under challenge, however. For Dona Look, collecting and preparation of the birch bark for her work is weather dependent and labor intensive. That process has grown more difficult as white birch trees, once prevalent in northern Wisconsin, have become harder to find due to climate change. Christine Joy has begun collecting a great amount of red mountain maple, as her neighbors in Montana remove it to protect their homes from forest fires. Mountain maple in it’s first year of growth is a beautiful burgundy and not too branchy, she says, but she did not use it until it was seen as a fire hazard. “The environmental factor of fire affected my material choices,” says the artist.

ChristineJoy.Greenfromthegetgo“These baskets feel complete, and at the same moment they invite human interaction and interpretation,” writes Milosch. Explore them in the catalog (www.browngrotta.com/Pages/c40.php.) and at the Morris Museum in Morristown, New Jersey from now until June 26th; www.morrismuseum.org/current-exhibitions/.


Organic Portraits: John F. Cooper at the Morris Museum with Green from the Get Go

John Cooper: Organic Portraits exhibition. Photo by John Cooper

John Cooper: Organic Portraits exhibition. Photo by John Cooper

From March 19th to June 26th, the Morris Museum in Morristown, New Jersey will exhibit Organic Portraits: John F. Cooper in conjunction with Green from the Get Go: International Contemporary BasketmakersPhotographer John F. Cooper’s Organic Portraits series and his book of the same name are the result of a creative project that has has been part of his life for well over a decade. “From the beginning,” Cooper explains, “the intent of the Organic Portraits project was to create a series of timeless and fundamentally beautiful images that would create awareness for—and help preserve—the world’s rainforests. In the 1950s, around the time I was born, about 15 percent of Earth’s landmass was covered with oxygen-generating and carbon-dioxide storing rainforests. As of the time of this book’s publication, fewer than 70 percent of those forests remain; more of these crucial ecosystems could disappear by the close of this decade. It is my belief they benefit the world more by being present rather than existing only in photographs, videos and the annals of history. The aim of this project is to drive home the understanding that our rainforests— the lungs of our Earth— are both vital and in dire need of protection.” Cooper published Organic Portraits through a Kickstarter campaign; Cooper is donating all profits from the book, which is available in the Museum’s bookstore, to the Rainforest Action Network Fund.KS

The photographs in Organic Portraits feature models posed against classic and simple backdrops and incorporating natural elements into each model’s hair to create a unique hair sculpture. Most of the photographs produced for Organic Portraits utilized large-format Polaroid film. Polaroid is now extinct; it’s eerily prophetic that the very medium used to create a series of images intended to preserve the world’s rainforests is now, itself, no longer. The cameras used in the series –each a work of art in their own right –were a 1950 8×10 Deardorff View Camera, and a 1980 4×5 Deardorff View Camera. Handcrafted from mahogany and brass, they are beautiful pieces of functional sculpture that were designed to last. The cameras are no longer manufactured and only a handful survive in the world today.

A set of 13 John F. Cooper Postcards printed on paper made of 100% post-consumer content and is available at the Museum's bookstore

A set of 13 John F. Cooper Postcards printed on paper made of 100% post-consumer content and is available at the Museum’s store

In creating these works, Cooper received generous support from 100 models, fashion designers, backdrop painters and studios,  Peter D. Brown, who fabricated the organic hair sculptures and environmental advocates Summer Rayne Oakes and Nicolas Rachline. “The images we have created are as beautiful as they were when they were first born in our imaginations,” says Cooper. “The cause that they support—saving our rainforests and the indigenous people who call them home—is as vital, no, more so, than when the project first began.”

The Opening Reception for Organic Portraits and Green from the Get Go: International Contemporary Basketmakers will take place on March 31st from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. John F. Cooper will speak  about his photographs at Tea and Treasures  on Wednesday, May 18, 2016. The Morris Museum is located at: 6 Normandy Heights Road, Morristown, NJ 07960, accessible from New York City via www.njtransit.com. For more information: (973) 971-3700; info@morrismuseum.org or http://www.johnfcooper.com.