Process Notes: Stéphanie Jacques

Studio Installation, Brussels, Belgium, photo Tom Grotta, courtesy of browngrotta arts
Stéphanie Jacques Studio Visit

Stéphanie Jacques wrote about identity for browngrotta arts’ latest exhibition, art + identity: an international view. Here are Jacques’ thoughts on the topic:

Detail, Ce qu'il en reste
Detail, Ce qu’il en reste, photo Tom Grotta, courtesy of browngrotta arts

“At the present time, the notion of identity seems to me to be a dimension in constant movement. I can distinguish, however, one coherent element, a sort of red thread : the desire to assemble all that is scattered. 

“Winter 2015, in my studio notebook, I draw a human face.  A woman’s face.  Tears in the form of feet and hands stream from her eyes. That winter, I continued working on a series of sculptures which will become the work Ce qu’il en reste.  A small human figure stands upright. She is in balance.  Hanging from her pelvis is an assemblage of cubes and parallelepipeds which tumble to the floor. 

Detail, Ce qu'il en reste, photo Tom Grotta, courtesy of browngrotta arts
Detail, Ce qu’il en reste, photo Tom Grotta, courtesy of browngrotta arts

“Summer 2016, after 15 years of living in the country, I move to a new studio, in town. There, the first thing I make is a series of monotypes. Inspired by the drawing of the previous winter, this time, I engrave an image of the woman’s face on a sheet of linoleum. With each new print, another face appears. Little by little, an open mouth takes the place of the tears.  Blue…. Red…., on this white paper, like an unconscious trace, areminder of the violence which is spreading throughout Europe at that time.  Violence moreover, which still continues today. This face has something to tell.  

Detail, Ce qu'il en reste, photo Tom Grotta, courtesy of browngrotta arts
Detail, Ce qu’il en reste, photo Tom Grotta, courtesy of browngrotta arts

“Applying the coiling technique, I stitch bundles of white thread.  First comes an eye, two eyes, then the mouth, the whole face.  Between my hands, a soft and damaged material takes form. One senses anger. It is the first time I create a human face, a mask. ‘Without a doubt one of the most ancient forms of expression of human culture’ so a book on the subject informs me. On a table, are two looped legs covered in plaster. They will find their place, on top of this head. 

“That summer, I spend hour upon hour sewing, cubes and parallelepipeds made of willow and stitching with waxed linen thread.  Small, medium, large.  Assembled and tinted with India ink, they form a structure into which I may enter.  

Detail, Ce qu'il en reste, photo Tom Grotta, courtesy of browngrotta arts
Detail, Ce qu’il en reste, photo Tom Grotta, courtesy of browngrotta arts

“Oh Joy ! I dance in my studio, searching somehow through my movement, a relationship with this form. I set up the camera and take photos. My face is veiled. The frame is fixed. As the shooting advances, a story appears. I decide on four images.  Four attempts at materializing this constant transformation, at bringing life to this form.  A series of portraits follows. This time, sitting on a chair, my appearance is modified by wearing an object, a sculpture. Each image incarnates a new state, another state. 

The process here described is necessary for these images to exist. They are not an end in itself but a document of what has passed.Certain emotions, intuitions, propel me to make certain objects. More and more, I feel the need to record their creative impact and this physical sensation which passes through my body as it is positioned in space and time. It is my way of questioning the identity of these forms.  Using image is a means to make them fall from their pedestal.”

Detail, Ce qu'il en reste, photo Tom Grotta, courtesy of browngrotta arts
Detail, Ce qu’il en reste, photo Tom Grotta, courtesy of browngrotta arts

Stéphanie Jacques
April 2019


Dispatches: San Francisco

Carter Grotta, of our browngrotta arts team, traveled to San Francisco last month. We asked him to snapshots of interesting art. Here are some of the highlights!

First the de Young. There, Carter visited the Saxe Collection at the de Young Museum, where he saw an Untitled work of bark and stone by Dorothy Gill Barnes and ceramics by Toshiko Takaezu and Paul Soldner.

Ruth Asawa installation at the deYoung Museum

A great collection of works by Ruth Asawa, San Francisco’s most well-known fiber artist, is also on display at the de Young Museum along with a unique abstract quilt, A Bend in the River, by Joe Cunningham.

A Bend in the River by Joe Cunningham
A Bend in the River by Joe Cunningham
SFMOCA digital installation

Next SFMOCA. Carter was quite taken by this remarkable digital installation, part of snap+share: transmitting photographs from mail art to social networks, a unique take on transmitting photographs from mail art to social networks. This work illustrates what it means to engage with the technological advancements of the 21st century to create digital conversations in photographs.

Magdalena Abakanowicz Four on a Bench
Magdalena Abakanowicz Four on a Bench

Also housed at the SFMOMA, the sculptures of Magdalena Abankanowicz, like Four on a Bench, are representative of the oppressive historic conditions of her native country, Poland.

Jannis Kounellis Untitled piece of steel
Jannis Kounellis, Untitled

Also at SFMOMA, was this interesting Untitled piece of steel, crucible, tar and rope, by Italian-born artist, Jannis Kounellis, in The Doris and Donald Fisher Collection.

Tanabe Chikuunsai IV bamboo sculpture
Tanabe Chikuunsai IV

Also worth a trip, the Asian Art Museum which features an exciting installation by Tanabe Chikuunsai IV — a 4th generation bamboo artist, that seems to have grown organically within the gallery space.

Federal Court House building in San Francisco
Federal Court House Building

What Carter couldn’t see — or photograph at least — was That Word, a larger-than-life sculpture of twigs by Gyöngy Laky which is on loan to the federal courts where photography is strictly prohibited.
You can see That Word, though, even if you can’t take a photograph. Just one of a series of interesting stops in a city that is great for art tourism!


Who Said What: Josef Albers

“Easy to know that diamonds– are precious good to know that rubies — have depth but more–to see–that pebbles–are miraculous.”
Josef Albers

Pebble Sphere Sculpture by Dail Behennah
Large Pebble Sphere by Dail Behennah
Detail of The Seashore stone ribbons by Keiji Nio
Detail of The Seashore by Keiji Nio, polyester, aramid fiber 48” x 48,” 2019
Thirty Year stone Calendar Art by Sue Lawty
Triginta Annis (Thirty Years in Latin), Sue Lawty, natural stone on gesso 27” x 26”, 2017


Art Assembled: New This Week in June

Summer is finally here and in June, browngrotta arts offered a look at the latest pieces in our collection representing works from around the world. This month, in our New This Week series, we shared some extraordinary pieces by Chang Yeonsoon, Judy Mulford, Lewis Knauss, Pat Campbell and Eva Vargo.
We kicked off the first few days in June with a three-piece work of abaca fiber, pure gold leaf and eco-soluble resin by Chang Yeonsoon, a Korean textile artist who specializes in sculptural fiber works. “I have been studying philosophy and breathing meditation for the last 10 years because I am interested in Oriental philosophy. Chunjeein (天地人) means heaven, earth and human in the East. In the Book of changes (a chinese classic) say that the heaven is a circle, the earth is a square, and the human is a triangle.”

heaven, earth and human sculptures
Chunjeein-1, 2 & 3, Chang Yeonsoon
abaca fiber, pure gold leaf, eco-soluble resin, 33″ x 7.125″ x 6.75″, 2019

Soon after that, we shared a mixed media work, Ancestral Totem by Judy Mulford. “My art honors and celebrates the family” explains the artist. “It is autobiographical, personal, narrative, and a scrapbook of my life. Each piece I create becomes a container of conscious and unconscious thoughts and feelings: a nest, a womb, a secret, a surprise, or a giggle.” This work, which Mulford talks more about in a youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3-YTMWD4JM art + identity interview, features “memory chairs” and buttons that she sourced from family and friends.

Button hole stitched chair sculpture
Ancestral Totem, Judy Mulford, mixed media, 34.5″ x 10.5″ x 10.5,” 2019

Next in our June series was Lewis Knauss‘ work, Thorny of woven, knotted linen, waxed linen and reed. Knauss’ interest in landscape originated during his first teaching appointment in Ohio. The textures and materials of textiles have provided him a medium to explore his memories of place.

Lewis Knauss wall sculpture
Thorny, Lewis Knauss
woven, knotted, waxed linen, reed, 17″ x 16″ x 6,” 2018/19

We aim to keep your creative palettes full, and so we featured Kundalini Rising II by Pat Campbell of rice paper, reed and wood. Campbell’s work aims to promote, not divide, the world’s population ethnically, racially and religiously, specifically to promote globalization and world peace. We at browngrotta arts fully support her work and the meaning behind each piece. Her work combines hope for the future, love of where she came from, and a reminder to viewers to reflect the best in themselves to solve world problems.

Pat Campbell Rice Paper Sculpture
Kundalini Rising II, Pat Campell
rice paper, reed and wood, 24″ x 14″ x 6.5″, 2009

Last, but most certainly not least, we shared No. 55 (Book of Changes), by Eva Vargo of linen, thread, paper strings and gold leaves. A Swedish artist who has lived abroad for a large part of her life, she has been influenced by each country in which she has lived. iFrom the time she began using paper strings and papers from old Japanese and Korean books in her woven works, it has been an exciting journey for her and it is still a path she keeps on exploring.

Eva Vargo Book of Changes
No. 55 (Book of Changes), Eva Vargo
linen, thread, paper strings and gold leaves, 31.75″ x 29.375″ x 1.5″, 2019

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Art & Identity: the Catalog

art + identity: an international view catalog
art + identity: an international view; a browngrotta arts exhibition catalog

We produced our 49th publication this spring, a 156-page catalog, art + identity: an international view. The catalog features work by 62 artists who have lived and worked in 22 countries in the UK, Europe, Asia, Africa and North and South America. We asked the artists who participated to provide us works that illustrated how identity and influence are reflected in their art. We selected works by artists no longer living on the same basis. The artists involved took an expansive approach, but as you’ll see in the catalog, a few themes emerged. Some artists, for example, were influenced by  the art of other cultures  — through visiting or study. For Dawn MacNutt, it was classical Greek sculpture she saw at the Metropolitan Museum in New York and then in Greece that she has translated in her willow figures. For Paul Furneaux, influences included time spent in Mexico, at Norwegian fjords and then, Japan, where he studied Japanese woodblock. For Adela Akers it was Peruvian weavers; Agneta Hobin,

Nnenna Okore spread
Nnenna Okore spread art + identity: an international view catalog spread

a trip to Zuni pueblos Nnenna Okore was raised in and studied in Nigeria. Common within her body of works is the use of ordinary materials, repetitive processes and varying textures that make references to everyday Nigerian practices and cultural objects. Katherine Westphal had what one writer called “magpie-like instincts.” She called herself a tourist – “then it all pops out in my work – someone else’s culture and mine, mixed in the eggbeater of my mind…” Others found inspiration close to home. Though she travelled extensively and studied in France, Canadian artist, Micheline Beauchemin repeatedly returned to the St. Lawrence River as a theme.

Mary Merkel-Hess catalog spread
Mary Merkel-Hess art + identity: an international view catalog spread

Mary Merkel-Hess evokes the plains of her home in Iowa like “the bush that burned with fire and was not consumed,” a quote from Willa Cather, which Mary says she, too, has seen. Mérida, Venezuela, the place they live, and can always come back to, has been a primary influence on Eduardo Portillo’s and Maria Davila’s our way of thinking, life and work. Its geography and people have given them a strong sense of place. Processes and materials motivated a third group of artists. “I draw inspiration from age-old Indian and Japanese traditional resist-dyeing techniques such as bandhini and shibori ,” says Neha Puri Dhir.

Neha Puri Dhir catalog spread
Neha Puri Dhir catalog spread art + identity: an international view

Ed Rossbach was also a relentless experimenter who learned and adapted dozens of techniques and unusual materials from lacemaking with plastic tubes to enlarging then reinterpreting images from Coptic tapestries to weaving raffia on a loom after studying weavings from Africa. Susie Gillespie grows flax from seed that she processes by retting, breaking and hackling before spinning it into yarn.  The clay from Shigaraki, Japan is crucial to Yasuhisa Kohyama’s work – through the techniques he has pioneered, he aims to highlight the upheavals evident in its creation, including volcanic eruptions and the erosion of water and wind.
Other artists took a more interior and personal view: Aleksandra Stoyanov of the Ukraine and now Israel uses images of ancestors in her work, this time images from childhood, and she notes that the child comes with us into adulthood. Irina Kolesnikova also grew up in Russia. Aspects of her everyday life there are reflected in artworks that feature her Alter Ego – “a slightly comic, clumsy human of an uncertain age (who is just a survivor struggling to keep his existence balanced).” Personal and universal connections to the sensuality and materiality of the woven image motivates Lia Cook.

art + identity: an international view; a browngrotta arts exhibition catalog

She is particularly interested in the emotional connection to memories of touch and cloth. She’s worked with neurologists to measure brainwaves for people who look at a photograph versus a woven version of the same image. The wider world and related issues were the subject for others. Nancy Koenigsberg’s work for this exhibit originated as a visual and emotional response the scenes destruction from the recent California wildfires and to the unfolding ecological disaster of which they are symptomatic. Lewis Knauss’ work has also begun to reflect the worldwide concern for climate change. American artist Mary Giles began creating wall panels that dealt with her concerns about population some years before her death in 2018, exploring in them ideas of density and boundaries.

photo spread
Norma Minkowtz, The Path (pages 50-51) Lilla Kulka, Odchodzacy and Co-Bog Zlaczyl (pages 114-115) Gyöngy Laky, Neo Rupee and Reach (pages 40-41)

The catalog includes an essay, The Textile Traveller, by Jessica Hemmings, Ph.d., Professor of Crafts, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, which creates perspective. This exhibition, “reminds us that the textile is an expert traveller – adept at absorbing new surroundings and influences while retaining elements of previous contexts and functions. Many physically embody the buzz word of our times: resilience. Attention to the textile’s many histories and journeys can help us trace and begin to understand the, often overwhelming, complexities contemporary societies face.”

Marianne Kemp horsehair weaving
Marianne Kemp 5mk Drifting Dialogues horsehair, cotton, linen 45” x 42” x 3.5 “, 2018

The catalog can be ordered for $50 plus tax and shipping on our website at browngrotta arts: http://store.browngrotta.com/art-identity-an-international-view/


Process Notes: Federica Luzzi on the White Shell Series

Federica Luzzi
11fl White Shell Tongue n. 2
fine art print on baryta paper 
78.75” x 32.75” x 1.25,” 2006

9fl White Paper Shell
paper cord
10.5” x 10.5” x 9.5,” 2015
photo by Tom Grotta

Below, we share thoughts from Federica Luzzi about her works, White Shell Tongue, n.2, White Paper Shell and White Shell. The works were featured in browngrotta arts’ recent exhibition, art + identity: an international view.

“From a simple daily gesture, observing the white, knotted shapes just finished and resting on my black, low and Japanese-style lacquered table, White Shell Tongue was born. My mother bought the table many years ago and it has always been a reason of great attraction for me, every object projected far away on it; you have to sit down on the ground to use it. Also, a turquoise silk kimono brought for me by parents from SoHo, New York, when I was 6-7 years old. My father, Mario Luzzi, was an expert and journalist in jazz music, and in the 70s and 80s, my parents’ house in Rome was a continuous coming and going of American and European musicians who also stayed with us — Ornette Coleman, Don Pullen, Muhal Richard Abrams, Max Roach, Noah Howard, Paul Bley e Byard Lancaster.

“Everyone’s dream: to know a foreign (strange) language and yet not to understand it: to grasp the difference in it …” writes Roland Barthes in the beginning of “The language unknown” in The Empire of Signs. Mine is a eulogy to the slowness of the gesture. A pure gesture that leads to the conscious cancellation of the subject, the beginning of that “visual vacillation” of which Barthes speaks when “the text does not comment on the images. The images do not illustrate the text”. A calligraphy whose author disappears taking “in some part of the world (down there) a certain number of ‘traits’ (graphic and linguistic terms) and with these traits deliberately forming a system,”writes Barthes. It is necessary to find a voice and a language that are foreign to themselves; a musical score, whose interpreter will read and imagine in a different way, moving away.

Detail of White Paper Shell
photo by Tom Grotta


From Frascati’s DAPHE particle accelerator, which I had left to create this series of works, I have come to confirm my old intuition: in approaching each other, we do not recognize ourselves in an alien matter. 

Nostalgia is a feeling that I have felt since I was very young for Japan: a country that until a few years ago I had never seen but where I felt I had already been. In 2017, I presented my works for the first time in a solo exhibition, Shell, in Osaka, at the LADS Gallery, which mainly deals with Gutai artists and is directed by Toyoko Hyono San. Everything that I have always imagined of Japan began to take shape deeply, in particular when two of my works, usually exhibited separately, were put together there. The LADS Gallery, with its partially modifiable and openable space with sliding walls, has the possibility of creating a sort of niche that I immediately identified by visualizing the White Shell Tongue fine art print which, due to its vertical disposition, recalled to my mind the paintings or calligraphy on paper or silk, kakemono, displayed in the tokonoma, an intimate space of traditional Japanese houses. A sacred space where I put together my sculptural work made by knotting paper cord resting on a raised wooden structure.

Federica Luzzi
13fl White Shell
knotting technique, cotton cord
15” x 15” x 7.25”, 2018
photo by Tom Grotta

As a woman, I never appear physically in the works, but it is through my body that I touch and look at things, entrusting my story to long and narrow strips of paper as ever-changing languages. But if writing is an act of “dispossession” as Marc Augé makes clear, in my idea of dissemination that void of speech is vibration; small invocations dispersed in the cosmos.


Solo Flights: Hicks, Sisson, Bijlenga on view this summer

COLORFUL MOSAIC:
Installation by Hideho Tanaka. Photo by Hideho Tanaka.

If you are in Miami, Los Angeles or Honolulu this summer be sure to visit these three not-to-be-missed exhibitions (and enjoy images from Hideho Tanaka’s recent solo show in Japan).

Sheila Hicks: Campo Abierto (Open Field)
April 13, 2019 -September 29, 2019
The Bass Museum of Art
2100 Collins Avenue 
Miami Beach, FL 33139
305. 673.7530

Grouping works of art from various periods, Campo Abierto (Open Field) explores the formal, social and environmental aspects of landscape that have been present, yet rarely examined, throughout Sheila Hicks’ expansive career.

STRAWS:
Fissures III, 2019
Karyl Sisson
vintage paper drinking straws, thread and polymer
framed 16.5″ x 16.5″ x 1.75″
Photo by Susan Einstein

Karyl Sisson: Fissures & Connections
May 11, 2019 –July 6, 2019
Craft in America Gallery
8415 W. Third Street
Los Angeles, CA, 90048M
323.951.0610

Los Angeles-based artist Karyl Sisson has a solo exhibition at the Craft in America gallery. The materials of everyday life, both past and present, are the fibers that Sisson weaves together to form sculptural and textured forms. Sisson draws inspiration from sources as diverse as Los Angeles’ landscape, microbiology, and fashion manufacturing. Glimpsing back at her work over three decades, pattern, repetition, and structure are unifying and focal themes that she explores dimensionally from her foundation in basketry and needlework. In her choice of reinventing undervalued materials, Sisson manages to confront domesticity and traditional gender roles. Her recent work with paper straws draws inspiration from cells and organisms, which inform the objects as she composes them and they grow seemingly naturally.

After studying painting and drawing at NYU, Sisson moved to Los Angeles and entered graduate school in 1983 at UCLA where she studied with Bernard Kester, one of the pioneering voices in the establishment of fiber as an art medium in the 1960s and 1970s. Ed Rossbach, Judy Chicago, Miriam Shapiro, Esther Parkhurst, and Neda al Hilali are among the artists who inspired her work and exploration of fiber early on.

(left) Sampler II- 1990-1995 Marian Bijlenga (Dutch, 1954) Horsehair, fabric, stitched
(right) Sampler VII- 1997-1998 Marian Bijlenga (Dutch, 1954) Horsehair, fabric, stitched

Constellation—drawing in space by Marian Bijlenga
May 18, 2019 – August 04, 2019 
Honolulu Museum of Art
900 South Beretania Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96814
808-532-8700

Marian Bijlenga, a Dutch contemporary artist, approaches mark-making with an innovative use of materials as a drawn “line.” Her unique constructions respond to the environment, echoing her interpretations of interconnected webs of fiber. Drawing on a non-traditional use of the sewing machine, these sculptures are mere whispers of dark and light, playing on positive and negative spaces, sometimes barely visible gestures as a shadowy effect.

Hideho Tanaka Sole Exhibition 2019, Emerging
May 25, 2019-May 3

Hideho Tanaka also had a one-person exhibition last month in Japan, Hideho Tanaka Sole Exhibition 2019, Emerging While he was engaged in education and research at Musashino Art University, in the Craft and Industrial Design Department for many years he usedfiber to pursue three-dimensional modeling expressionA novelist of a writer who was also a fiber artist, wrote monyaart: http://monyaart.jugem.jp/?eid=3778. The small works on the wall were organized in a grid. “I am overwhelmed by a large amount of ‘brooches,'” Monyaart quoted the artist. These are designs of two or three rectangles on which a hand-drawn image is superimposed. The exhibition also featured larger works were also displayed.


Acquisition News

Diagonal, Kyoko Kumai, stainless steel, 2016.

We have learned about a host of acquisitions for artists who work with browngrotta arts’ since our acquisition reports last July and August 2018.  A large number of our artists’ work are now included in the collection of The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum thanks to the remarkable gift of the late Lloyd Cotsen, former chief executive officer and chairman of the board of Neutrogena Corporation, which included 4,000 textiles, an endowment and equipment to support the textile collections he assembled.

Attitude, Lia Cook, Handwoven cotton and rayon, 1999.Photo by: Bruce M. White@ Lloyd E. Cotsen, 2016.

The gift includes the Cotsen Textile Traces Study Collection, one of the world’s most significant textile study collections ever assembled by an individual and The Box Project: Uncommon Threads, organized by Cotsen Foundation for Academic Research, which includes work by John Garrett, Helena Hernmarck, Agneta Hobin, Kiyomi Iwata, Lewis Knauss, Naomi Kobayashi, Nancy Koenigsberg, Gyöngy Laky, Heidrun Schimmel and Hisako Sekijima. Cotsen’s gift also included Lia Cook’s 1999 work, Attitude.

Other acquisitions of note:

Ed Rossbach: Bobbin Lace, 1970, was acquired by the Minneapolis Institute of Art, through browngrotta arts.

Eduardo Portillo and Mariá Eugenia DávilaNew Nebula, 2017, was acquired by the Toledo Art Museum in Ohio, through browngrotta arts.

Norma Minkowitz: The Minneapolis Institute of Art purchased a crocheted and stitched wall hanging called Journeys End, 2017, and a stitched drawing with collage and crochet, Lunar Landing, 2017.

Shin Young-ok: Rhymes from 2000 was acquired by the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea

Moot, Helena Hernmarck, wool, linen, cotton, 1971. Photo by Helena Hernmarck.

Chang Yeonsoon:  In addition to being a finalist for the Loewe Craft Prize in 2018, the Loewe Foundation in London collected three works of Chang Yeonsoon’s works in August, 2018.

Polly Barton: Fertile Ground, was chosen by the Art in Embassies program to be in the US Embassy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

Nancy Koenigsberg: Teal Concentric Boxes was a gift from Camille and Alex Cook to the Racine Art Museum, Wisconsin.

Ampersand by Gyöngy Laky

Ethel Stein: Butah, 2011, went to the Art Institute of Chicago in Illinois through browngrotta arts.

Kyoko Kumai: Kumai’s tapestry, Diagonal, which was acquired by teh Victoria & Albert Museum in London in 2016, is on display at the Museum until the end of July 2020. The National  Museum of Art in Riga, Latvia collected Kumai’s work in 2018.

Åse Ljones: Three pieces from Ljones’ series, It is Still Quiet, were acquired by KODE Museum, Bergen, Norway in 2017.

Adela Akers: In 2018 Akers’ work, Traced Memories, was acquired by The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco/De Young Museum.

Gyöngy Laky: In addition to This Way and That, which is part of The Box Collection, which went to the The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum, Seek, from 2016, was acquired by the United States State Department for the new Kosovo Embassy in Pristina. 

Helen Hernmarck: Moot, 1971 was acquired by the Minneapolis Institute of Art. 


Art Assembled: New This Week April

Transition, Neha Puri Dhir, resist dye, silk, 23” x 34”, 2015. Photo by Tom Grotta.

What a month! April was quite the month for us here at browngrotta arts as we hosted our once-a-year Art in the Barn exhibition art + identity: an international view. The exhibition was a great success and we are so thankful for all the support near and far. At the beginning of April, we shared pieces by Neha Puri Dhir and Paul Furneaux, both of whom are new to browngrotta arts. Dhir’s piece Zazen caught the eye of many on social media, becoming our most liked “New This Week” post to date. In recent years, Dhir has experimented with the meticulous and labor-intensive techniques of shibori (bandhini  India and adire in Nigeria. In doing so, Dhir sources all of her fabric from places all across India. As visible in Transition Dhir’s design influenced by the Japanese wabi-sabi aesthetic, which is centered on the acceptance of impermanence and imperfection. 

City Trees II and City Lights II, Paul Furneaux
Japanese woodcuts on wood , 19.5” x 40” x 4”, 2015. Photo by Tom Grotta.

      Like Dhir, Scottish artist Paul Furneaux also draws inspiration from a Japanese aesthetic. Furneaux’s works, City Trees II and City Lights II, which grace the cover of our art + identity: an international view catalog, were made using the traditional Japanese woodblock printing technique known as mokuhanga. In making his City Trees and City Lights series, Furneaux wanted to try out chunkier forms with wider surfaces. “I was aware that the interaction between the two forms was important,” explains Furneaux “once I had established this relationship with the wooden form, I became very interested in how the clothing of the form made the forms spatial interaction more complex.” 

Coques, Brigitte Bouquin-Sellès, felt, 76.75” x 51”, 2019. Photo by Tom Grotta.

Premiering in April were also works by Nnenna Okore and Brigitte Bouquin Sellés. In works like Coulée les de fils, Brigitte Bouquin Sellès uses selvedge ends, produced during the manufacture of the well-known Cholet handkerchief on looms in France. These strips are cut automatically by the machine from the outer edges of the weave. The artist reinterprets this manufactured material, made up of falls destined for destruction. The mutation is profound, these falling fabrics become works that are born by gravity. Using this material, the creation mode of Brigitte Bouquin Sellès is original: it creates not by adding material but not subtraction either, in this case, small pieces of weft still attached to the warp, snatched one by one to achieve the artist’s ends.

The Path, Norma Minkowitz, mixed media, 14” x 52” x 52,” 2013. Photo by Tom Grotta.

      To wrap up April, we shared Norma MinkowitzThe Path. The piece is very personal for Minkowitz, in creating it she explored her thoughts, identity and how she feels about the path her life is taking. Minkowitz even used a casting of her own head for the center of the piece, painting it with a camouflage pattern to camouflage her feelings and fears, a process you can see in this video.

      If you weren’t able to make it to the exhibition, have no fear, you can still see the pieces featured in our coveted exhibition catalog art + identity: an international view, which is available for purchase in our online store HERE.


art & identity: Four More Days to See the Exhibition

We’ve been steadily busy since our Artists reception and opening on April 27th.

Participants in art + identity at browngrotta arts through May 5th. Clockwise from upper left: Lewis Knauss (US); Dawn MacNutt (CN); Ulla-Maija Vikman (FI); Agneta Hobin (FI); Judy Mulford (US); Pat Campbell (US); Tamiko Kawata (JP); Nancy Koenigsberg (US); Wendy Wahl (US); Norma Minkowitz (US). Photo by Carter Grotta.

Yesterday we hosted 38 students from the Fine Arts program at Bishop’s University outside Quebec. Groups from the Westport Art Center and the Surface Design Association have visited and the Textile Study Group of New York and members of the Aldrich Museum of Art will join us later in the week. \

Students from the Fine Arts program at Bishop’s University outside Quebec. Photo by Carter Grotta

It’s hard to say what work has been most appreciated — with over 150 works by 62 artists, there is a lot to experience. People have commented on Neha Puri Dhir’s shibori. We’ll be open until 5 pm on Sunday May 5th — so you still have time to see it for yourself. Our hours are 10 am to 5 pm every day — call if you want to come earlier or later in the day. 203.834.0623. Learn more about browngrotta arts at: http://www.browngrotta.com.