Monthly archives: February, 2012

Exhibit News: FiberPhiladelphia 2012

This weekend marks the opening of FiberPhiladelphia is an international biennial and regional festival for innovative fiber/textile art.Pick up a copy of the FiberPhiladelphia directory, with all the venues listed (there’s even an app to help you get directions). You’ll see our 25th Anniversary ad in the Directory, featuring work by Ritzi Jacobi and Mary Merkel-Hess, and an ad for SOFA NY featuring a concrete basket by Klaus Titze and a much-appreciated congratulations to us. Among the Philadelphia exhibitions we hope to visit later this month: Distinguished Educators, at the Crane Arts Building: Grey Area, 1440 North American Street through April 12th which includes celebrates significant artist/mentors who have shaped the field:

WINTER GOLD, Adelea Akers, Linen, horsehair, paint & metal 30" x 72", 2011

Adela Akers, Lewis Knauss, Gerhardt Knodel, Gyongy Laky, Joan Livingstone, Rebecca Medel, Jason Pollen, Cynthia Schira, Warren Seelig, Deborah C. Warner, Carol Westfall, Pat Hickman, solo and in collaboration with the late Lillian Elliott; Andrea Donnelly: Binary, Sondra Sherman: Found Subjects at the Philadelphia Art Alliance, 251 South 18th Street, through April 21st; and Secret Garden, which includes work by Lenore Tawney, Mary Merkel-Hess, Ted Hallman, Sheila Hicks,
and Jim Hodges at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Perelman Building, Fairmount and Pennsylvania Avenues, through July.
Visit the FiberPhiladelphia website for complete details. http://www.fiberphiladelphia.org/fiberphiladelphia_exhibitions_2012

 


Update: Chris Drury’s Carbon Sink Creates a Dialogue

In a previous blog,  we wrote about Chris Drury’s Carbon Sink, an installation at the University of Wyoming that garnered the ire of local legislators who viewed it as a poor educational investment. Chalk one up to transformative power art.  As you can see from the editorial below, by Wyoming State representative, Tom Lubnau, in the Gillette News Record, (where Rhonda used to live) the controversy led to a valuable dialogue about art, education, energy and the environment http://www.gillettenewsrecord.com/stories/Trying-to-make-silk-purses-from-sows-ears,61404.  Here’s also an image of Chris Drury’s most recent Wyoming-inspired art work, On the Ground: Above and Below Wyoming.

topographical map woven with a Geological map of the state. The border is coal dust and Wyoming earth. The pattern is wind blowing off the Rockies. Size: 3'4"€ x 4'€™1.5"€

Trying to make silk purses
from sows’ ears

Tom Lubnau
Gillette News Record, September 6, 2011

A few weeks ago, the University of Wyoming unveiled a new on-campus sculpture entitled “Carbon Sink.”

The artist,  Chris Drury, is a worldfamous sculptor, the university paid $40,000 to install the sculpture on campus. The artist designed the sculpture as a series of dead logs arranged in a spiral pattern, which he hoped would symbolize the death of forests from pine beetles due to global warming.

On the Ground: Above and Below Wyoming Detail by Chris Drury

Much has been written by journalists, bloggers and in some tersely worded emails about the comments Reps. Gregg Blikre, Norine Kasperik and I made about the hypocrisy of accepting dollars derived from carbon fuels to put up an anti-carbon sculpture. People, mostly from California and New York told we told us we should be “ashamed of ourselves” and that we are “ignorant bumpkins because we hate anything that resembles culture” and referred to us as “cow flops and road apples.”

It is important to understand what we didn’t do. We didn’t ask the sculpture be taken down. We didn’t take any steps to remove funding from the university. And we didn’t engage in any form of censorship. What did we do? We defended our friends and neighbors. Prompted by the existence of the piece of art, we started a discussion. My old art teachers, from back in the day, told me that art was supposed to provoke discussion, to inspire and to affect the viewer.

And that is what we did. We used the existence of the art as an inspiration piece to let folks know that between 60 and 80 percent of the state’s budget is dependent on extractive industries. We asked for some appreciation and kudos for the hard-working folks in the energy industry, who go to work day after day, meeting America’s energy needs and funding in large measure the University of Wyoming budget. We told the university that we thought it was out of touch with the rest of the state, and that we wished they would spend as much time working with us to meet our educational needs as they did being critical of the industries that pay the bills in Wyoming.

And to their credit, the administration of the University of Wyoming listened. We engaged in a dialogue about the misunderstandings, misperceptions and missed opportunities that exist between the University of Wyoming and Campbell County. University President Dr. Tom Buchanan, Trustees Warren Lauer and Jim Neiman, and senior UW staffers Don Richards and Mike Massie took time out of their busy schedules to travel to Gillette, to tour a power plant, the college and other community facilities, and to meet with community leaders and energy company officials to discuss opportunities for UW to offer educational services in the Campbell County area.

Carbon Sink University of Wyoming

The discussions were positive. Dr. Buchanan left the citizens of Campbell County with a clear challenge. If we can define a specific set of needs that can be met by the university rather than a vague list of complaints, the university will work to meet those needs. The monkey is now on the backs of the citizens of Campbell County. We have a great opportunity to advance the education opportunities and the quality of life in northeastern Wyoming if we are wise, and if we can specifically define our needs and put a plan in place to accomplish those needs.

Thanks to Chris Drury for your sculpture. While I don’t agree with your science, or what you believe your sculpture symbolizes, the burnt logs laying in a circular pattern on the grounds of the University of Wyoming were a catalyst to open discussions on a greater UW presence in Campbell County. Art prompted discussion. If we accept the challenge, discussion will lead to better education and an enhanced quality of life.

Rep. Tom Lubnau represents Campbell County. Rep. Gregg Blikre and Rep. Norine Kasperik of Campbell County also joined with him in signing this opinion piece. (reprinted with permission).

For Chris’s views and more on the controversy, visit his blog: http://chrisdrury.blogspot.com/2011_09_01_archive.html.


News Flash: Artists Get Good Press

Over the last few months, the artists browngrotta arts represents have received mentions and more from the media, print and online.  The  November/December issue of Craft from the UK, included an image of Sounding by Lawrence LaBianca and Donald Fortescue in, “Craft’s quick fix,” by Glenn Adamson, which discusses the use of the humble cable tie by contemporary artists.

Lawrence LaBianca in the Aspen Sojourner

Then, in its Holiday issue, Aspen Sojourner printed a lengthy piece about LaBianca’s artist-in-residency at Anderson Ranch, “Ranch Hands: A day in the life of an Anderson Ranch artist-in-resident,” by Hilary Stunda http://softarchive.net/blogs/d3pz4i/aspen_sojourner_usa_holiday.882867.html.

Surface Design Winter 2012

The Winter 2012 of Surface Design,devoted four pages to Kyomi Iwata’s new work in kibisio, a by-product of silk spinning production in Japan, previously considered a waste material http://www.surfacedesign.org/publications/sda-journal. The same issue reviewed New York Fiber in the 21st Century at Lehman College Gallery and featured Tom’s photo of Norma Minkowitz’s King of the Hill and referenced Nancy Koenigsberg’s Light and Tempest, as “challeng[ing] the idea of flatness vs. sculptural, a middle ground that fiber works can uniquely occupy.”

Dail Behennah Grid Dish, 40:40 Forty Objects for Forty Years

The UK’s Craft Council included Dail Behennah’s Grid Dish as one of its 40:40/Forty Objects for Forty Years. You can see all 40 objects at: http://onviewonline.craftscouncil.org.uk/4040/.

Korean Foundation Newsletter 12 2011

The December 2011 issue of the Korea Foundation Newsletter featured a profile of Jin-Sook So in conjunction with coverage of the exhibition of Swedish craft art that she curated in Seoul late last year http://newsletter.kf.or.kr/news/news_201112/eng/sub_02.html. In the piece, “Encounter of Swedish Crafts and Korean Sensibilities; Textile Artist Jin-Sook So’s Views of Contemporary” So explains how Sweden and Korea influence her work. “I’ve lived in Sweden for 30 years and have traveled all over the world to create works and hold exhibitions, but my roots remain in Korea. Although I didn’t intend it to be, Korea and Korean sentiments have served as the spirit and inspiration that have motivated me. As time went by, it became even more evident, and I believe they will remain the roots of my work in the future.”

New York Spaces October 2011

So’s work of steel mesh, Untitled, was also included in the “Art Now” column of New York Spaces last October.

Textile Forum December 2011

Photos of work by three artists represented by browngrotta arts were featured in the December 2011 issue if the ETN textileforum. These included shots of Merja Winquist’sWinter Garden, her large, on-site installation at the Sofia Paper Art Fest in Bulgaria, Anda Klancic’s lighted work, Aura FM, at the 2011 Como Miniartextil exhibition in Italy and Grethe Sorenson preparing for her Traces of Light exhibition at the Round Tower in Copenhagen, Denmark through March 11, 2012.


Art News: Feels Like Falling Love

Lenore Tawney Heart Collage, Detail

In honor of Valentine’s Day, this news note (thanks to Gyöngy Laky). Brain mapping by Semir Zeki, Professor of Neurobiology and Neuroesthetics at University College in London, UK, suggests that viewing art creates the same chemical response — a surge of dopamine — that romantic love does. “We have recently found that when we look at things we consider to be beautiful, there is increased activity in the pleasure reward centers of the brain,” said Zeki.  In his experiment, Zeki showed volunteers 28 works of art including The Birth of Venus,  by Sandro Botticelli, Bathing at La Grenouilliere by Claude Monet and Salisbury’s Cathedral by Constable.  In the UK, The Telegraph reported on Zeki’s study, writing that this research suggests that art could be used to increase the welfare and mental health of the general public and should be protected from budget cutbacks. The research also offers an interesting affirmation of previous studies which have shown shown that art can reduce suffering in hospital and lead to speedier recoveries from ill health. For a video report by TheArtFundUK, see YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_5twGr9l_0.


Who Said What: Isaiah Zagar

“Art should not be segregated in museums: it needs to live free among us.”


Isaiah Zagar Magic Garden, Photo by Tom Grotta

 

Isaiah Zagar, a renowned muralist, is the creator of Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, a mosaiced folk art environment, gallery space and nonprofit organization. Created over several decades and spanning half a city block, the Magic Gardens is Zagar’s largest artwork. It includes a fully tiled indoor space and a massive outdoor labyrinthine mosaic sculpture garden that incorporates Latin American and Asian Statutes, bicycle wheels, colorful glass bottles, Zagar’s handmade tiles and thousands of glittering mirrors http://www.phillymagicgardens.org.

On Exhibit Abroad: Sørensen, Bilenga and Drury

Traces of Light, couples digital jacquard by Sorensen and video by Bo Hovgaard

Grethe Sørensen’s work is the subject of a dramatic installation at the Round Tower in Copenhagen, Denmark. Traces of Light, couples digital jacquard by Sørensen and video by Bo Hovgaard, film & video producer. Video recordings of light in the city at night served as the starting point for the project. The unfocused camera acts as a filter that transforms the realism of billboards, street lamps and brightly colored surfaces into varying color effects. The recordings reflect four themes: Rush Hour, City Light, Passing by and Times Square in a Rush. The exhibition includes 18 large weavings alongside the video in large format. The flowing movements of the video create an ethereal counterpoint to the weight and structure of the weavings. Rundetaarn Købmagergade 52A, 1150 Copenhagen K, 33 73 03 73; post@rundetaarn.dkhttp://rundetaarn.dk/engelsk/udstillinger.html#Traces_of_Light_; through March 11, 2012.

Traces of Light, couples digital jacquard by Sorensen and video by Bo Hovgaard

 

A Sense of Place, at the Philadelphia Art Alliance, 251South Street, http://www.philartalliance.org/exhibitsnew.htm, includes work by Marian Bijlenga and seven other artists. It closes on April 21st.

Bijlenga’s work will be part of Langsam + Leise (Softly + Quietly) at Künstlerforum Bonn, Hochstadenring 22-24, 53119 in Bonn, Germany, http://www.kuenstlerforum-bonn.de/typolight/index.php/
suche.html?keywords=bijlenga&x=0&y=0
, which opens March 11th and runs through August 4, 2012.

Chris Drury’s work will be a part of Landscapes of Exploration, at the Peninsula Arts Gallery, Plymouth University, UK, from February 11th to March 31, 2012. Ten visual artists, one musician and three writers undertook residencies in the Antarctic between 2001 and 2009, under the auspices of the British Antarctic Survey, supported by Arts Council England. This exhibition will bring together for the first time art resulting from the various artistic investigations, offering an opportunity to examine the role of contemporary art in examining Antarctica. Plymouth University, Roland Levinsky Building, Drake Circus, Plymouth, PL4 8AA; http://www.plymouth.ac.uk/pages/view.asp?page=28345#landscapes.

8cd Double Echo, Chris Drury, Inkjet print with UV coating, 54.25" x 46.25" x 2.75", 2000

The Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery in Drake Circus will feature a companion exhibit, From Plymouth to Pole: Scott, Science and the Men who Sailed South through April 14, 2012.