Books Make Great Gifts: Our Annual Artists’ Reading Round Up

Posted in Books, Book Recommendations on December 20th, 2015 by arttextstyle

Another year of interesting and inspirational book recommendations from browngrotta arts’ artists and staff. History, humor, poetry, philosophy — it’s all here. I recently read Listening to Stone: The Art & Life of Isamu Noguchi by Hayden Herrera

Dona Anderson reports, “I recently read Listening to Stone: The Art & Life of Isamu Noguchi by Hayden Herrera. Noguchi created Black Sun, a sculpture in Seattle’s Volunteer Park. Postwar, Noguchi was increasingly involved in designing public spaces — the UNESCO garden in Paris, Yale University’s Beinecke Library Garden, the Billy Rose Sculpture Garden in Jerusalem — while still creating personal work. His aim, he said was to form ‘order out of chaos, a myth out of the world, a sense of belonging out of loneliness.’ Building Art: The Life & Work of Frank Gehry by Paul Goldberger

My current read is Building Art: The Life & Work of Frank Gehry by Paul Goldberger.” Chris Drury loved John McPhee’s Coming into the Country – although, he notes, it is an older book now – about Alaska. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini Ceca Georgieva read A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini and is currently reading, The Secret Book of Frida Kahlo: A Novel by F.G. Haghenbeck. Don't Despair by Matias Dalsgaard Helena Hernmarck recommends, Don’t Despair by Matias Dalsgaard (www.pinetribe.com; Twitter:@MatiasDalsgaard). Dalsgaard is a Danish scholar who has a background in comparative literature and postdoctoral degree in philosophy. The book offers a Lutheran-Kirkegaardian perspective on life, criticizing the modern perspective of being self-centered and ultimately despaired. 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works--A True Story, by Dan Harris Helena also found 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually WorksA True Story, by Dan Harris, a fun read. For Tim Johnson, 2015 was a great year for personal book discoveries! “After years of being out of print and hard to find Charles Jencks and Nathan Silver’s influential Adhocism, The Case for Improvisation was republished in 2013 (https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/adhocism). Adhocism, The Case for Improvisation When I first held this book in the 1980s it offered a thoughtful contextualization to the real life process of gathering and recycling urban materials for my sculptures and installations. With contemporary concerns of upcycling and sustainability, Jencks’ and Silvers’ assertions seem more apt than ever.” Nancy Koenigsberg recommends a favorite from 2014, Fiber Sculpture: 1960-Present by Jenelle PorterFiber Sculpture: 1960-Present by Jenelle Porter. Mary Merkel-Hess says her favorite book on art this year was Playing to the Gallery by Grayson Perry Playing to the Gallery by Grayson Perry, a British ceramic artist, described by one reviewer as “a man in a frock who makes pots with rude designs.” Mary describes it as “a quirky, personal and lively journey through the issues facing the contemporary art world and a lot of it is hilarious – especially the illustrations.”
The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt Heidrun Schimmel read, “with great pleasure,” The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt (Simon and Shuster, New York 2014). “And not always with great pleasure,” Heidrun says she read, All the World's Futures: 56 International Art Exhibition All the World’s Futures: 56 International Art Exhibition, the catalogues for this year’s Venice Bienniale. “Most of the essays are very interesting and important,” she writes. “There were some very good pavilions in the Giardini this year, for example the Japanese Pavillon for the textile art scene.” Hisako Sekijima recommends a book in Japanese, U.S. Cultural Diplomacy and Japan in the Cold War Era Tokyo Press U.S. Cultural Diplomacy and Japan in the Cold War Era (only the title is in English; the contents are in Japanese. It’s a 300-page hardcover book published by University of Tokyo Press, 2015) It is an extensive study done by Fumiko Fujita, ex-professor at Tsuda College. “Actually, the author is my college friend,” writes Hisako. Reading this book, she “happily” realized that she had been exposed to much of this cultural climate after the World War, as she grew up. “From home comedies, like Lassie to Edward Steichen’s The Family of Man, I learned — and was surprised — at the large extent to which numberless cultural programs had been politically planned to create a good partnership between US and Japan.” She was also surprised to learn such programs had been also worked to be less political or more culturally meaningful by the efforts done by enthusiastic and respectful private people like cultural attachés, artists or sports players. “I liked this latter part of the story! Though planned politically, such rich programs proved to influence us so much. I studied English and could enjoy my chance to live in NYC, where I came across with new waves in crafts.” Kay Sekimachi recommends Masters of Craft: Portraits by Paul Smith (and so do Tom and Rhonda) and also The Monocle Guide to Cozy Homes, edited by Tom Morris, Monocle (Gestalten, Berlin. 2015). Last Spring, Wendy Wahl began teaching, Soft Materials, a course in the department of Constructed Environments at Parson’s New School in New York. “In researching books for the course,” she writes, “I was reintroduced to Fabrics: A Guide for Interior Designers and Architects, by Mary Paul Yates (W.W.Norton). Imagine my delight to see the inclusion of Fiber Art and the images from browngrotta arts. At a rare and used bookstore I came upon The Root of Wild Madder: Chasing the History, Mystery and Lore of the Persian Carpet by Brian MurphyThe Root of Wild Madder: Chasing the History, Mystery and Lore of the Persian Carpet by Brian Murphy (Simon and Schuster). The author takes the reader on a magic carpet ride traveling in the regions of its origins and destinations to tell the stories of the dyers, weavers and sellers of this remarkable art form. At my local public library I found Textiles --The Whole Story: Uses, Meanings, Significance by Beverly Gordon Textiles –The Whole Story: Uses, Meanings, Significance by Beverly Gordon (Thames and Hudson, 2011). With words and images she beautifully covers the uses, meanings and significance of textiles in the course of human history, as the subtitle suggests.” The Genome Rhapsodies
Randy Walker writes, “At the risk of appearing immodest, I’m recommending a book of poetry, The Genome Rhapsodies, that has one of my pieces on the cover. And I’m not even an avid poetry reader. When I was approached by Anna George Meek, a friend and accomplished poet, about using an image of my first public art installation, Woven Corncrib, on the cover of her new collection of poems, I was, of course, honored. But that’s not why I’m recommending this book. As we worked together to find an appropriate image, a series of conversations ensued over several months. These conversations were about histories, found objects, genetic material, fibers of all kinds woven throughout our lives. Gradually, I began to see clearly why Anna would venture to adorn her book, winner of the Richard Snyder Publication Prize and a product of over 15 years of work, with an image of an old steel corn crib woven with 300 pounds of salvaged fiber. Reading these poems, some deeply personal, opened an expansive view to me of a world that, as a primarily visual person, I don’t usually glimpse.” Tom and Rhonda recommend Organic Portraits, a photography book by John Cooper. Organic Portraits by John CooperCooper’s organic portraits will be on exhibit this Spring at the Morris Museum in New Jersey in conjunction with Green from the Get Go: International Contemporary Basketmakers, from March 19 to June 26, 2015. “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. At the time of this book’s publication, fewer than 70% of those forests remain. 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; he is donating all profits from the book to the Rainforest Action Network Fund.

We hope your holidays provide you lots of leisure reading time!

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It’s Never Too Early: How to Buy Art in Your 20s

Posted in Art, Commentary, DIY, Eco-Art, Galleries, Mixed Media, Sculpture, Basketry, Art Textiles, Fiber Sculpture, Gifts, Paper, Wood on December 5th, 2015 by arttextstyle
Lizzie Farey, Deborah Valoma and Stéphanie Jacques

Lizzie Farey($1,800), Deborah Valoma($1,700) and Stéphanie Jacques($1,200). Photo by Tom Grotta

Thanks to the DIY movement and a mass of online and cable design and decor resources, we’ve never had more encouragement to create environments that inspire and invigorate. Art can be an essential element of such an environment and investing in art need not be a bank breaker. Domino, a curated site that encourages readers to “bring your style home,” offers several tips for buying art in your 20s, including not buying too big and not being afraid to invest http://domino.com/how-to-buy-art-in-your-twenties/story-image/all. We at browngrotta arts have a few additional thoughts:

6tt INYO (95-2), Tsuruko Tanikawa, brass and iron wire, coiled and burned, 7.5" x 6.5" x 14", 1995

INYO (95-2), Tsuruko Tanikawa, brass and iron wire, coiled and burned, 7.5″ x 6.5″ x 14″, 1995 ($1,200)

1) Think objects: If you are in your first apartment or are fairly certain that a move is in your future, Ceramics, Art Baskets, Glass sculptures can be easier to place in your next home than a large wall piece may be.

Naomi Kobayashi Red & White Cubes

Naomi Kobayashi Red & White Cubes ($1,000 each)

2) Invest for impact: Prints are generally less expensive than originals, editions less expensive than a one off. And you will find that some mediums are, in general, priced more accessibly than others. Art textiles and fiber sculpture are an example. Work by the best-known artists in the field go for under a million dollars, compared to tens of million dollars for paintings by well-recognized artists.  You can start small with works in fiber, ceramics and wood, and create a small, but well-curated, collection. Consider Naomi Kobayashi, a Japanese textile artist whose work is in the permanent collection of many museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and whose work can be acquired for $1000.  Or an up-and-coming artist like Stéphanie Jacques from Belgium, whose masterful multi-media works address issues of gender and identity, and begin at prices below $1500.

GRAY WITH BLACK, Sara Brenan, wool & silks linen, 12.5” x 19”, $1,900 photo by Tom Grotta

GRAY WITH BLACK, Sara Brenan, wool & silks linen, 12.5” x 19”, $1,900 photo by Tom Grotta

3) Take advantage of digital placement: Reviewing art online is a great way to expose yourself to a wide variety of work, and develop your personal aesthetic. Once you’ve found a work that appeals, digital placement can give you a greater level of confidence before you press “Buy.” At browngrotta arts, we ask clients to send us a photo of the space the propose to install the work. We can digitally install the piece, to scale and with shadow, so you have a sense of how will work there.

32pc CONSTRUCTION III, Pat Campbell, rice paper, reed, 8" x 7.5" x 5.5", 2002

32pc CONSTRUCTION III, Pat Campbell, rice paper, reed, 8″ x 7.5″ x 5.5″, 2002

4) Document: If the work you purchase has appeared in a book or a catalog, make sure you get a copy. Ask the seller for any information he/she has on the artist for your files. On each artist’s page on browngrotta.com, you can find a list of publications in which the artist’s work appears. The documentation is good to have for insurance and appraisal purposes and you can watch as the artist’s cv —hopefully — expands in the next several years.

5) Buy for love: It’s great to learn 10 years down the road that a work of art you purchased has appreciated and is worth more than you paid for it. We’d argue, though, that if you’ve enjoyed owning it for 10 years, and thought each time you looked at it, “I really love that piece,” you’ll have gotten your money’s worth, and enriched your life in the process.

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browngrotta arts Returns to SOFA Chicago, November 5-8th

Posted in Art, Exhibitions, Galleries, Installations, Sculpture, SOFA, Art Textiles, Fiber Sculpture, Tapestry on October 26th, 2015 by arttextstyle
627mr PapelionIidae, Mariette Rousseau-Vermette wool, steel, 54” x 54” x 16”, 2000

627mr PapelionIidae, Mariette Rousseau-Vermette
wool, steel, 54” x 54” x 16”, 2000

After a few-year hiatus, browngrotta arts will return to the Sculpture, Objects, and Functional Art Exposition at the Navy Pier in Chicago next month. We’ll be reprising our most recent exhibition, Influence and Evolution: Fiber Sculpture…then and now, with different works for a number of artists, including Naoko Serino, Kay Sekimachi, Anda Klancic, Ritzi Jacobi, Randy Walker, Mariette Rousseau-Vermette, Carolina Yrarrázaval and Lenore Tawney. Other artists whose work will be featured in browngrotta arts’ exhibit are Magdalena Abakanowicz, Adela Akers, Lia Cook, Sheila Hicks, Masakazu Kobayashi, Naomi Kobayashi, Luba Krejci, Jolanta Owidzka, Ed Rossbach, Sherri Smith, Carole Fréve, Susie Gillespie, Stéphanie Jacques, Tim Johnson, Marianne Kemp, Federica Luzzi, Rachel Max, Eduardo Portillo & Mariá Eugenia Dávila, Michael Radyk and Gizella K Warburton. SOFA will publish a related essay, Fiber Art Pioneers: Pushing the Pliable Plane by Jo Ann C. Stabb,
on the origins of the contemporary fiber movement.

1cy AZUL Y NEGR Carolina Yrarrázaval rayon, cotton 116" x 40.5”, 2003

1cy AZUL Y NEGR
Carolina Yrarrázaval
rayon, cotton
116″ x 40.5”, 2003

Now in its 22nd year, SOFA CHICAGO is a must-attend art fair, attracting more than 36,000 collectors, museum groups, curators and art patrons to view museum-quality works of art from 70+ international galleries. After a nationwide competition, SOFA CHICAGO recently placed #7 in the USA Today Reader’s Choice 10 Best Art Events.New this year, SOFA CHICAGO will unveil a revamped floorplan created by Chicago architects Cheryl Noel and Ravi Ricker of Wrap Architecture. The re-envisioned design will create a more open and cohesive show layout, allowing visitors to explore the fair in a more engaging way. Changes include a new, centrally located main entrance where browngrotta arts’ booth, 921, will be located. Cheryl Noel of Wrap Architecture adds, “The most effective urban contexts contain distinct places within the larger space, corridors with visual interest and clear paths with fluid circulation. We believe this new floorplan will capture the spirit of the art and be an expression of the work itself, exploring form and materiality, with the same level of design rigor applied.”

1rw SAW PIECE NO.4 (AUTUMN) Randy Walker, salvaged bucksaw, steel rod, nylon thread 42" x 96" x 26", 2006, Photo by Tom Grotta

1rw SAW PIECE NO.4 (AUTUMN)
Randy Walker, salvaged bucksaw, steel rod, nylon thread
42″ x 96″ x 26″, 2006, Photo by Tom Grotta

On Friday, November 6th, from 12:30 to 2:30, Michael Radyk will be at browngrotta arts’ booth to discuss his Swan Point series, Jacquard textiles created to be cut and manipulated after being taken off the loom, in which Radyk was trying “to bring the artist’s hand back into the industrial Jacquard weaving process.” SOFA opens with a VIP preview on Thursday, November 5th, from 5 pm to 9 pm. The hours for Friday and Saturday are 11 am – 7 pm; and 12 to 6 pm on Sunday the 8th. SOFA is in the Festival Hall, Navy Pier, 600 East Grand Avenue Chicago, IL 60611. Hope to see you there!

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Last Chance: TWO WAYS-STUDIOS

Posted in Art, Exhibitions, Installations, Museums, Sculpture, Art Textiles, Tapestry, Ceramics on October 7th, 2015 by arttextstyle

Mariette Rousseau-Vermette
and Claude Vermette:
Creators of Modern Québec
through October 12th
Contemporary Museum of Art,
Baie-Saint-Paul, Québec, Canada

Mariette Rousseau-Vermette & Claude Vermette. Portraits by Tom grotta

Mariette Rousseau-Vermette & Claude Vermette. Portraits by Tom Grotta

Two-Way Studios – Mariette Rousseau-Vermette and Claude Vermette: Creators of Modern Québec, at the Contemporary Museum of Art at Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec, invites visitors to wander through more than five decades of artistic creation The art of Mariette Rousseau-Vermette (1926-2006) and Claude Vermette (1930-2006) offers a view of a way of life that emerged in Québec in the late 1950s. Their works were sometimes monumental and could readily be integrated in the architectural context. They express, according to the Museum, a basic tenet of the “Quiet revolution” that aligns cultural production with social progress. Throughout the 60s, these couple merged modernist values and traditional craft, aiming to express a cultural identity that could be both ultra-contemporary and remain respectful of the past. The exhibition displays the production of these two artists in a series of “chapters” themes. Through a chronological approach, viewers are able to make comparisons. The exhibition reveals a common spirit, strong affinities, correspondences, and, of course, emotional and intellectual ties, set within a single historical and sociological context, crossing an important period of recent history.

Virtual Exhibition: You can take a video walkthrough of the exhibition and the artists’ separate, but adjacent studios, in Ste. Adele, Canada at: http://www.hdmedia360.ca/english/visite-virtuelle/hd/cbphgpWJl-mac-baie-saint-paul-rousseau-vermette.html. More images: See a review in Vie des Arts Magazine: http://www.viedesarts.com/article790-Precurseurs.

Vermette spent 30 years creating ceramics for architecture — bringing warmth and color to stark, cold constructions. He created new forms of clay composition, modules for tiles and bricks and new patented enamels. These innovations improved the sustainability of ceramics for the Canadian climate and its gruelling winters. His bricks and tiles earned him a First Prize in 1962 for industrial design. His large-scale ceramic compositions grace more than 100 public buildings, including pavilions and buildings connected to the Montreal World’s Fair in 1967, at Osaka in 1970, at the 1976 Summer Olympics held in Montreal. as well as in many schools, churches, courthouses, universities, more than a dozen Montreal subway stations and other buildings, including General Motors in New York City, MacMillan Bloedel in Vancouver and Bell Canada in Toronto. The last 30 years of his career, Vermette devoted to painting. His paintings have been collected and exhibited in Canada and abroad including a 910-foot wall of paintings at Bell Canada’s Trinity Square office in Toronto.

Born in 1926, in Trois-Pistoles, Québec, Mariette Rousseau married Claude Vermette in 1952. She received her training at both the École des beaux-arts du Québec (1944-1948) and at the Oakland College of Arts and Crafts, in California (1948-1949). She and Vermette travelled extensively to Europe and Asia, allowing Rousseau-Vermette to broaden and deepen her understanding of different tapestry techniques. She was honored several times in Québec and abroad, winning numerous awards throughout her career. She has exhibited in Canada, the United States, in several European countries — including at several Lausanne Biennials of International Tapestry — and in Japan. Her tapestries are held in many major public and private collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York, the Chicago Art Institute, the Museum of Modern Art, in Kyoto, the National Gallery of Canada, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec and the Contemporary Art Museum of Montréal. She was a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and an Officer of the Order of Canada. Her storied career was the subject of an article by Anne Newlands, in the Journal of Canadian Art History,“Mariette Rousseau-Vermette: Journey of a Painter-Weaver from the 1940s through the 1960s” (2011). You can watch a video (in French) about a careful restoration and installation of a large Rousseau-Vermette tapestry at Simon’s department store in Montreal at: SIMONS: Des
The Contemporary Museum of Art at Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec is at 3, rue Ambroise-Fafard, Baie-Saint-Paul, G3Z 2J2. Telephone: (418)435-3681. Fax: (418)435-6269. For more information, visit: http://www.macbsp.com/exhib_tocome.aspx.

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Art Events — From the Ground Up: ART inspired by Nature

Posted in Art, Eco-Art, Exhibitions, Galleries, Installations, Sculpture, Basketry, Fiber Sculpture, Wood on September 21st, 2015 by arttextstyle
From The Ground Up Banner Bendheim Gallery . Photo by Tom Grotta

From The Ground Up Banner Bendheim Gallery . Photo by Tom Grotta

We are pleased to have partnered with the Greenwich Arts Council for From the Ground Up: ART Inspired by Nature, at the Bendheim Gallery in Greenwich through October 29th. The exhibition is beautifully installed by Gallery Director and the gallery space is quiet and contemplative. There are three small galleries and a dramatic entry space, where works by Jane Balsgaard, Gyöngy Laky and Stéphanie Jacques join Dawn Mac Nutt’s willow figures, companions to the bronze MacNutt figure that stands in front of the Arts Council Building.

From the Ground Up: ART inspired by Nature installation, Stéphanie Jacques, Gyöngy Laky, Jane Balsgaard, Dawn MacNutt. Photo by Tom Grotta

From the Ground Up: ART inspired by Nature installation, Stéphanie Jacques, Gyöngy Laky, Jane Balsgaard, Dawn MacNutt. Photo by Tom Grotta

Paintings are interspersed with photographs and sculptures of natural materials, providing viewers a varied view of nature as envisioned by artists. There are 12 in this exhibition, from the US and abroad: Jane Balsgaard, Laura Cunningham, Stéphanie Jacques, Donald Landsman, Gyöngy Laky, Dawn MacNutt, John McQueen, Kyle Norton, Ángel Mieres, Lizzy Rockwell, Hisako Sekijima and Masako Yoshida.

From the Ground Up: ART inspired by Nature installation, Hisako Sekimachi, Gyöngy Laky, Jane Balsgaard, Photo by tom Grotta

From the Ground Up: ART inspired by Nature installation, Hisako Sekimachi, Gyöngy Laky, Jane Balsgaard, Photo by tom Grotta

The exhibition includes paintings by Ángel Mieres, born in Caracas, Venezuela, whose vibrant, bright works are an abstract exploration of fragile, natural motifs, such as butterflies or flowers.

From the Ground Up: ART inspired by Nature installation, Gyöngy Laky, Jane Balsgaard, Photo by tom Grotta

From the Ground Up: ART inspired by Nature installation, John McQueen, Kyle Norton, Photo by tom Grotta

Kyle Norton, who studied photography at Rochester Institute of Photography, takes lush photographs of fruits and vegetables, magnifies their size from a few inches to a dramatic three feet or so — offering nature up close and personal, as it were.

John McQueen‘s three-dimensional works are made of natural materials — twigs, bark, cardboard — he prides himself on not needing to go the arts supply store. In Same Difference, for example, the juxtaposition of detailed sculptures of the Hindu god, Ganesh, a bonsai and a sump pump is visually engaging. When McQueen explains the simple and smart connection amongst the three —all soak up water, through a trunk, root system or a pump — the work can be appreciated on additional level.

From the Ground Up; Greenwich Art Council, John McQueen, Jane Balsgaard, Photo by Tom Grotta

From the Ground Up; Greenwich Art Council, John McQueen, Jane Balsgaard, Photo by Tom Grotta

In front of the building that houses the Bendheim Gallery stands Dawn MacNutt’s Timeless Form and viewers have an opportunity to hear her speak about it’s creation through a mobile device link. You can hear her here:

Dawn Macnutt Timeless Figure bronze Sculpture and Otocast in front of the Greenwich Arts Council. Photos by Tom Grotta


From the Ground Up: ART inspired by Nature, will be at the Bendheim Gallery, Greenwich Arts Council, 299 Greenwich Avenue, Greenwich, CT, 06830 . P 203.862.6750 F 203.862.6753 . info@greenwicharts.org through October 29th. The Arts Council’s Gala, Arts Alive will be on October 17th at the Art Center. To buy a ticket, go to: http://www.greenwichartscouncil.org/Arts-Alive.html.

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Out and About: Grethe Wittrock’s Reception and Lecture at Fuller Craft Museum

Posted in Art, Exhibitions, Fashion, Installations, Lectures, Museums, Sculpture, Art Textiles, Fiber Sculpture, In the News, Danish Tapestry, Paper on September 14th, 2015 by arttextstyle

We were pleased to catch up with Grethe Wittrock and fans of her work at the Fuller Craft Museum yesterday, to hear her speak and to celebrate the opening of her first solo exhibition the US.

Grethe Wittrock at her Fuller Craft Museum Exhibition Opening. photo by Tom Grotta

Grethe Wittrock at her Fuller Craft Museum Exhibition Opening. photo by Tom Grotta

The installation, of sails that Wittrock has re-purposed and re-envisioned, dyed and cut, is dramatic, its shifting shadows giving visitors a sense of being near the sea.

Titilayo Ngwenya, Director of Communication filming Grethe Wittrrock, European Magpie. Photo by Tom Grotta

Titilayo Ngwenya, Director of Communication filming Grethe Wittrrock, European Magpie. Photo by Tom Grotta

In her lecture, Wittrock spoke about this work and about her initial SAIL project at the Danish Arts Workshops using sails from the training vessel Georg Stage, which is moored at Holmen in Copenhagen in between cruises. Wittrock began by punching holes and tying knots through the sails to create designs and then transitioned to painting and dying them an finally to cutting sails and sailcloth to resemble bird wings.

Grethe Wittrock Fuller Exhibition Lecture. Photo by Tom Grotta

Grethe Wittrock Fuller Exhibition Lecture. Photo by Tom Grotta


The maritime signal colors of neon orange and yellow are the dominating colors in the project, and patterns representing rope bindings, nautical maps and underwater seascapes are transferred by means of printing and perforation. Wittrock’s dual goal is to shape the material in accordance with her idea while also incorporating the potential and expression of the material itself. The SAIL project is based on a piece of age-old utilitarian textile that has served in all sorts of wind and weather conditions, and which is a carrier of stories from voyages to destinations near and far.

Wittrock explained that she grew up near a stony shore and sea and sky, stones and birds are consistent influences in her work.The exhibition, Grethe Wittrock: Nordic Currents, is at the Fuller through January 31, 2015, 455 Oak Street, Brockton, MA. http://fullercraft.org/event/nordic-currents-grethe-wittrock/

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We Told You So: Fiber Art Continues to Trend

Posted in Art, Commentary, Exhibitions, Press, Art Textiles, Fiber Sculpture, In the News, Who Said What on August 24th, 2015 by arttextstyle
22sh/r Color Alphabet Tapestry by Sheila Hicks, wool, silk, 6’ x 6’, 1982. Photo by Tom Grotta

22sh/r Color Alphabet Tapestry by Sheila Hicks, wool, silk, 6’ x 6’, 1982. Photo by Tom Grotta

Last year we predicted that fiber art’s new-found popularity would continue into 2015. You need not take just our word for that — take the Wall Street Journal’s. Earlier this month, the paper identified fiber as the “Art World’ New Material Obsession,” http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-art-worlds-new-material-obsession-fiber-1439565675 and dubbed Sheila Hicks and Françoise Grossen “overlooked masters.” The short piece quotes Sheila Hicks, “I always joke that fiber is my alphabet. I can say an unlimited range of things.” (The Hicks’ work featured here, Color Alphabet Tapestry (1982), is an ideal example.) The New York Time’s review of Françoise Grossen’s long-awaited US survey exhibition, “Françoise Grossen, a Fabric Artist Inspired by Other Fields,”

FROM THE MERMAID SERIES IV, Francoise Grossen, poly, metal, paper, braided, 16" x 72" x 72"

FROM THE MERMAID SERIES IV, Francoise Grossen, poly, metal, paper, braided, 16″ x 72″ x 72″

http://www.nytimes.com/
2015/08/07/arts/design/
review-francoise-grossen-a-fabric-artist-inspired-by-other-fields.html, adds additional context. The author, Martha Schwendener, quotes Grossen describing the approach of pathmaking fabric artists of the 60s, “First we broke with the rectangle, then we broke with the wall.” Interested in learning more? The contemporary art fabric movement is discussed (and illustrated) in our recent catalogs, Retro/Prospective: 25+ Years of Art Textiles and Sculpture, with essays by Jo Ann C. Stabb and Lesley Milar, MBE and Influence and Evolution: Fiber Sculpture…then and now with an Essay by Ezra Shales, PhD

Influence and Evolution: Fiber Sculpture...then and now catalog cover artwork by Federica Luzzi

Influence and Evolution: Fiber Sculpture…then and now
catalog cover artwork by Federica Luzzi

http://www.browngrotta.com/Pages/catalogs.php.

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Press Notes: browngrotta arts in the news

Posted in Art, Commentary, Exhibitions, Galleries, Installations, Art Textiles, Fiber Sculpture, In the News, Paper, Tapestry on June 18th, 2015 by arttextstyle
July issue of selvedge cover

July cover of selvedge magazine

We are excited to be featured in the July issue of selvedge magazine. We have long been fans of the UK magazine, which is artfully designed with lush photos and creative illustrations, and, like browngrotta arts, economical in its use of capital letters. We have a large collection of back issues, stockpiled for reference and inspiration.

Issue 10 A ROCK AND A SLOW PACE: Sue Lawty Interview pages 62-65 MUTUAL ADMIRATION: Bamboo has inspired artists worldwide by Nancy Moore Bess pages 66-71

Issue 10
A ROCK AND A SLOW PACE: Sue Lawty Interview
MUTUAL ADMIRATION: Bamboo has inspired artists worldwide by Nancy Moore Bess

Issue 10 was a particular favorite, not surprisingly, with an insightful profile of Sue Lawty, “A rock and a slow pace” followed by an update on bamboo artwork by Nancy Moore Bess, “Mutual Admiration: Bamboo Has Inspired Artists Worldwide.” But we also loved the piece on fashion drawings in the letters of Jane Austen, “Detailed statements” in the Romance issue (34) and the introduction to Indian embroidery in Issue 00. The magazine is a great source of information about what’s current and what’s past in textile art and design, interiors, fashion — around the world. Founded by Polly Leonard in 2003, selvedge is intentionally produced “with the time, thought and skill” required in textile practice. The magazine ably succeeds in its aim of “see[ing] the world through a textile lens, but cast[ing] our eye far and wide looking for links between our subject and achievements in other fields from architecture to archeology”— in this case, as far as Wilton, Connecticut.

page 31 July Selvedge magazine

page 31 July Selvedge magazine. Pictured works by Lia Cook, Marian Bijlenga, Sara Brennan, Kay Sekimachi, Noriko Takamiya, Nancy Moore Bess, Keiji Nio, Birgit Birkkjaer, Lenore Tawney

As we were preparing our Of Two Minds: Artists Who Do Two of a Kind exhibition in 2014, selvedge sent Rhonda Sonnenberg to interview us for a piece. Sonnenberg has written about fiber artists for some time, including Kate Anderson, Lisa Kokin and Fran Gardner, and we’ve talked shop with her at SOFAs in years past. Over the couple of hours she was in Wilton, we discussed with her the changes we have seen in the field in our two-dozen plus years promoting art textiles and we talked about some of the artists we were watching with interest. The conversation was a good prelude to our show that followed in 2015, Influence and Evolution: Fiber Sculpture…then and now, in which we highlighted work by 15 of the newer-to-the field artists whose work we admire. The selvedge article, “Consuming Fibre,” features photographs of work by many browngrotta artists. You can buy a copy online, through the Selvedge store at: http://www.selvedge.org/shop/64-ageless.

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Dispatches: Art Among the Pines —thinking Maine

Posted in Art, Japanese Art, Sculpture, Basketry on June 3rd, 2015 by arttextstyle
Deer Isle  Maine Hiking Trail, Photo by Carter Grotta

Deer Isle Maine Hiking Trail, Photo by Carter Grotta

In honor of National Trails Day, http://www.nationaltrailsday.org on June 6th we’re publishing — belatedly — this post about visiting Jiro Yonezawa last summer at Haystack in Deer Isle, Maine, which features miles of beach and wooded hiking trails. Last month, Jiro received a Special Prize at the Japan Contemporary Craft Exhibition held at the National New Art Museum in Tokyo. Jiro’s was the only work of bamboo to be awarded a prize.

Jiro Yonezawa at Haysatck. Photo by Tom Grotta

Jiro Yonezawa at Haysatck. Photo by Tom Grotta

We’ve brought you several artist and student reports from the Haystack School of Crafts in Maine http://www.haystack-mtn.org/index.php in previous posts on arttextstyle. (Visit: David Ling http://arttextstyle.com/2014/02/06/dispatches-david-ling-haystack-school-crafts-deer-isle-maine/; Hisako Sekijima http://arttextstyle.com/guest-post-hisako-sekijima/; Nancy Moore Bess http://arttextstyle.com/guest-posts/ to get a good sense of the Haystack experience.) Last August, we had the chance to visit Haystack ourselves as we were vacationing in nearby Stonington, Maine. Haystack is in a glorious location and we visited on a crystalline day. Jiro Yonezawa’s 

Jiro Yonezawa at Haystack, Photo by Tom Grotta

Jiro Yonezawa at Haystack, Photo by Tom Grotta

Bamboo Weaving Techniques and Decoration class was kind enough to let us interrupt. The students were excited and engaged and grateful for Jiro’s generous teaching. One described his helping her until 1 a.m. that morning. Each student had interesting and accomplished works to show for his or her time there. Carter is now angling to attend a session. Other art-y activities we enjoyed on our trip: the terrific Turtle Gallery in Deer Isle http://www.turtlegallery.com; the sprawling sculpture center created by Peter Beerits at Nervous Nellie’s Jams and Jellies in Deer Isle http://www.nervousnellies.com/peter-beerits-sculpture/ and the creatively curated collection of buoys and locks and knots and ropes at the Marlinspike Chandlery in Stonington http://www.marlinespike.com/marlinespike_chandlery.html. The locale offers art appreciation, hiking, kayaking, great eating, and, as always, a great time was had by all.

Jiro Yonezawa at Haystack, Photo by Tom Grotta

Jiro Yonezawa at Haystack, Photo by Tom Grotta

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Art Abroad: Exhibitions in Canada, Europe and the UK

Posted in Art, Awards, Exhibitions, Installations, Museums, Sculpture, Art Textiles, Fiber Sculpture, In the News, Danish Tapestry, Tapestry on May 27th, 2015 by arttextstyle

A host of important exhibition featuring art textiles is in store this summer in Europe, the UK and Canada.

Rijswijk Textile Biennial 2015
May 9 – September 27th
Museum Rijswijk, the Netherlands

Mille Fleur by Ane Henriksen

Mille Fleur by Ane Henriksen

In the 2015 Textile Biennial, Museum Rijswijk is showing textile artworks by nineteen international artists including Caroline Bartlett and Ane Henriksen. Apart from the great diversity of textiles and applications, there are common threads evident among the participants this year. All the Submitted works provide material for thought and reflection. Vintage textile, wool, embroidery floss and flax are used in combination with techniques including weaving, cross-stitching and knitting to conjure up loving memories, melancholy or even alienation through a contemporary idiom. For more information, visit: http://www.textielfestival.nl/symposium/rijswijk/rijswijk.php.

Ceca Georgieva’s Memory from the Future

Water-Land, International Competition
Textile Festival
Leiden, the Netherlands
May 2015
Fifty-four works were selected from 175 entries. Ceca Georgieva’s Memory from the Future was the only entry selected from Bulgaria Bulgaria and was awarded 3rd Prize. The jury wrote of Georgieva’s work that, “The use of the material, the thistles, is extraordinary surprising. It is a unique concept in an own technique. The fishes are worked on gauze, that holds the thistles together. It is worked with a lot of imagination. The tessellation shows a proper modesty, the open spaces are an essential part.”For more information, visit: http://www.textielfestival.nl/wedstrijden/genomineerden.php

Sonia Delaunay Tate Modern
The EY Exhibition: Sonia Delaunay
April 15 – August 9th
Tate Modern, London, UK
The Eyal Ofer Galleries, Level 3

Garnering critical acclaim is the Sonia Delaunay retrospective at Tate Modern in London. Delaunay (1885–1979) was a key figure in the Parisian avant-garde who became the European doyenne of abstract art. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, she celebrated the modern world of movement, technology and urban life, exploring new ideas about color theory together with her husband Robert Delaunay. The exhibition features a wide range of media — the groundbreaking paintings, textiles and clothes she made across a 60-year career. Can’t get to the exhibition? A comprehensive survey of her work, Sonya Delaunay, was published to accompany the exhibition. http://shop.tate.org.uk/exhibition-books/sonia-delaunay/invt/16460.

Claude and Mariette Rousseau-Vermette. Photos by Tom Grotta

Claude and Mariette Rousseau-Vermette. Photos by Tom Grotta

TWO WAYS-STUDIOS – Mariette Rousseau-Vermette and Claude Vermette: Crafters of Modern Québec
June 20 to October 12th
Contemporary Museum of Art, Baie-Saint-Paul, Québec, Canada

Two-Way Studios — Mariette Rousseau-Vermette and Claude Vermette: Crafters of Québec Modernity, invites visitors to wander through more than five decades of artistic creation. The art of Mariette Rousseau-Vermette (1926-2006) and Claude Vermette (1930-2006) offers a view of a way of life that emerged in Québec in the late 1950s. The work of the Rousseau-Vermettes most often in the form of murals or tapestries, were sometimes monumental and could readily be integrated in the architectural context. Their works, according to the Museum’s publicity, express a basic tenet of the “Révolution tranquille” that aligns cultural production with social progress. Throughout the 60s, these couple managed to merge modernist values and traditional craft, aiming to express a cultural identity that could be both ultra-contemporary and respectful of the past. For more information, visit: http://www.macbsp.com/exhib_tocome.aspx.

Anda Klancic

Growth 2- Crescita 2 by Anda Klancic


2015 Miniartextil Como
Everyone to the Table
May 9 – June 21st
Former Church of San Francesco
Lake Como / Milan, Italy

This year’s Miniartextil exhibition in the ex church of San Francesco at Como and in Villa Bernasconi in Cernobbio, is the 25th anniversary of the Miniartextil, the unique contemporary fiber art exhibition that annually takes place in Como, Italy and moves to Montrouge /Paris, Caudry and Venice. Fifty-four artists from 25 countries, including Anda Klancic of Slovenia, were invited to exhibit small works (20x20x20 cm). Several artists, including

Naoko Serino Como Installation, photo by Naok Serino

Naoko Serino of Japan, were invited to create large-scale works for the Miniartextil. Serino’s work, Generating-12 can be viewed in the Villa Bernasconi in nearby Cernobbio, Italy. For more information, visit: http://www.miniartextil.it.

MONTANA DEL FUEGO, Magdalena Abakanowicz, 1983, photo by Tom Grotta

MONTANA DEL FUEGO, Magdalena Abakanowicz, 1983, photo by Tom Grotta

Objective Station
June 5- June 14th
Toms Pauli Foundation
Rumine Palace/Espace Artaud
Lausanne, Switzerland

The exhibition in Lausanne, presented by the Toms Pauli Foundation, recalls the prominent role played by the Lausanne Biennials (1962 – 1993) in the history of the New Tapestry, currently experiencing a revival in Paris, Wolfsburg, London and the US. Photographic prints large format give to see bold and monumental installations. At the Espace Arlaud, the public is invited to rediscover the production of Magdalena Abakanowicz, textile artist and Polish sculptor who exhibited in Lausanne and gained importance as one of the major figures of the New Tapestry. For more info: http://polemuseal.ch/media/filer/2015/05/04/150504_dp_objectif_gare_light.pdf

6fl Earth White Shell n.2, Federica Luzzi, linen cord, 4" x 5” x 6”, 2015, photo by Tom Grotta

6fl Earth White Shell n.2, Federica Luzzi, linen cord, 4″ x 5” x 6”, 2015, photo by Tom Grotta

Opus & Light Year XVIII
May 30 – June 24th
Madonna del Pozzo, Porta Monterone,
Spoleto, Italy
Studio A87 in collaboration with Palazzo Collicola Arti Visive

Opus & Light features Installations of works, in this case White Shell, created by Federica Luzzi, that complement the specificity of the venue, which is decorated with a fresco cycle that encompasses an entire century of the history of Italian painting (1493-1600). “This place has given me immediately the particular detail of the apse in the altarpiece of Brera of Piero della Francesca — the shell which stands an egg hanging by a thread, slightly misaligned with respect to the median axis,” says Luzzi. For more information visit: http://www.artapartofculture.net/2015/05/30/white-shell-federica-luzzi/

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