Monthly archives: March, 2012

25 at 25 at SOFA NY Countdown: Anda Klancic


Anda Klancic, Black Grove detail, photo by Tom Grotta

Cerni Goj means the black grove in the ancient Slovenian language, but it is also a surname in Slovenia, the name of the late Slovenian painter and graphic artist, August Cernigoj. At SOFA NY 2012 , browngrotta arts will exhibit Anda Klancic’s work, The Black Grove. The work involved several techniques and manipulations, took 13 years to complete and explores the themes of global linkage and the interaction of humans and nature.
Klancic’s  first stimulus for The Black Grove was the structure of the vein-like net of the dried fruit from the plant echynocystis lobata, a wild pumpkin. Inspired by this natural structure, Klancic designed a pattern for industrial machine-embroidered lace and machine-embroidered fabric. From a piece of this embroidered fabric, produced from selected raw materials especially for this hand-manipulated experiment, she produced The Black Grove, using numerous hand-applied techniques.
Klancic’s work has garnered international acclaim. Her three-dimensional lace work, Foothpaths 2, was commended by the judges at last year’s International Triennial of Tapestry in Poland. Her lighted works Aura and Aura F&Mwere presented at the Miniartextil Energheia touring exhibition that opened in Milan, Italy. Aura which is made of palm tree bark, optical fibre,  and includes three halogen light sources, is currently in Zagreb, Croatia in the Textil{e}tronic exhibition.


25 at 25 at SOFA NY Countdown: Susie Gillespie

SETTLEMENT detail by Susie Gillespie, photo by Tom Grotta

Susie Gillespie’s weavings contain many influences besides those of ancient textiles that have survived the millennia. The artist writes that she finds “beauty in the ruins of what once must have been new: the patterns in damp and crumbling plaster; the remains of paint on decayed wood; rotting bark; broken carvings; fallen monoliths. Some of these I express in broken borders, insets and slits; twining and wrapping; weaves of herringbone and twill; mends, darns, fraying; drawn threads and slits.” She seeks to reinvent the past to some extent, “Despite my weaving having roots in the past, I look forward to a future where we do not discard things because they are worn out or outmoded. Out of decay and disintegration I wish to express a sense of renewal.”

Settlement by Susie Gillespie, antique handspun linen & Nepalese nettle yarn, modern linen, cotton, natural pigments from caves. gesso, hand-made paper, 45.5" x 48" x 1", 2010, photo by Tom Grotta

At SOFA NY 2012, browngrotta arts will exhibit Gillespie’s 2012 work, Settlement, in which the artist has combined antique handspun linen yarn, handspun Nepalese nettle yarn, modern linen, cotton, natural pigments from caves, gesso and handmade paper to create a contemporary haptic artifact. Gillespie’s work has been exhibited at the Coombe Gallery, Dartmouth, UK; Somerset House, London, UK (Origin); Torre Abbey, Torquay, UK; Brewery Arts Centre. She is a recipient of the Theo Moorman Trust Weaving Award.

25 at 25 at SOFA NY Countdown: Mary Giles

TWIST by Mary Giles, photo by Tom Grotta

53mg TWIST, Mary Giles, waxed linen, iron twists, and hammered tin coated copper wire, 22" x 10" x 5", 2012, photo by Tom Grotta

Mary Giles‘ sculptures, Sentry Field and Twist, made of knotted linen, pressed metal and springs, will be on display at browngrotta arts at SOFA 2012 , booth 208.  Giles says of her work,  “I interpret and express my concerns about our environment and the human condition through my work. I have also explored themes related to communication and intimacy in relationships, and the results are reflected in my figural work. Today, however, I am very concerned about the environment and try to capture the forms, textures, and light found in nature. I admire the directness and honesty I see in tribal art, and I try to incorporate those qualities in my own.” Giles’ work is in numerous museum collections including that of the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the St. Louis Art Museum  and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.


25 at 25 at SOFA NY Countdown: Chris Drury

Crossing and Recrossing the Rivers of Iceland by Chris Drury, photo by Tom Grotta

Chris Drury’s Crossing and Re-crossing the Rivers of Iceland will be exhibited by browngrotta arts at SOFA NY 2012. The handwritten text on the peat-impregnated paper lists and repeats all the rivers crossed on a six- day walk from Porsmork to Landmanalauga in Iceland. The pattern is from a satellite image of a storm that hit us on the fourth day. The story behind Crossing and Re-crossing the Rivers of Iceland Drury and a friend with a heart condition, went on a six-day walk in central Iceland. On the fourth day they were hit by a storm and waited out the night in a hut. The following day, the storm was still raging but they used a four-hour lull to try and catch their plane.  They started for the next hut at 3:00 p.m., crossing a cold river and climbing 2000 feet to a snow-covered plateau. On the top the storm returned and they were enveloped in a whiteout.

7cd Crossing and Recrossing the Rivers of Iceland, photo by TomGrotta

Drury’s friend announced that he wasn’t going to make it to the hut. He was, in fact, having a heart attack. Drury didn’t know it, but his heart was shutting down. He gave him some water, which he used to swallow pills given him by his doctor for just such an emergency. The pills saved his life and he was able to make it to the hut. This experience is reflected in Crossing and Re-crossing the Rivers of Iceland. The blood flows in the heart in a double vortex pattern called a Cardiac Twist; the storm that Drury and his friend were caught in had that same pattern. Drury is an environmental artist who has created site-specific works from South Africa to Ireland to Wyoming. In recent years he has studied systems in the body and on the planet, with particular reference to systems of blood flow in the heart, including combining measurements of the “Earth’s heartbeat,” echograms of Antarctica, with the heartbeat, echocardiogram, of a pilot who flies there in his work, Double Echo. Drury’s work has been included in several books, including Chris Drury: Found Moments in Time and Space (Harry N. Abrams, Inc.).


25 at 25 at SOFA NY Countdown: Lia Cook

Neural Networks Detail by Lia Cook, photo by Tom Grotta

At SOFA NY 2012, browngrotta arts‘ display will include Neural Networks by Lia Cook. Cook works in a variety of media, combining weaving with painting, photography, video and digital technology. Cook’s current practice explores the sensuality of the woven image and the emotional connections to memories of touch and cloth. Working in collaboration with neuroscientists at the University of Pittsburg School of Medicine,

23lc Neural Networks, Lia Cook, woven cotton and rayon, 83" x 51" x 1.5", 2011, photo by Tom Grotta

Cook has investigated the nature of the emotional response to woven faces by mapping in the brain these responses and using the laboratory experience both with process and tools to stimulate her work in reaction to these investigations. Her solo exhibition, Bridge 11: Lia Cookwhich includes large-scale woven images of human faces and introduces several works based on her recent art-neuroscience collaboration, is at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft through May 13th. Cook is one of 11 artists whose work is highlighted in the current exhibition, Sourcing the Museum, at the Textile Museum in Washington, DC through August 19th and one of 14 artists featured in Sleight of Hand at the Denver Art Museum through May 13th.


25 at 25 at SOFA NY Countdown: Marian Bijlenga

DIAMOND DOTS 5-V detail by Marian Bijlenga, photo by Tom Grotta

At SOFA NY 2012 this year,  browngrotta arts will exhibit work from the Diamond Dots series by Marian Bijlenga of the Netherlands. Bijlenga studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, has taught workshops at Kawashima Textile School, Kyoto,  the Aalto University School of Art and Design Helsinki, Finland and will teach at the Haystack School of Crafts in Maine this summer. Her work is found in the permanent collections of the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Textile Museum, Tilburg, the Netherlands and the LongHouse Reserve in New York.

17mb DIAMOND DOTS 5-V, Marian Bijlenga, horsehair, fabric, viscose, machine embroidered, 28" x 28", 2011, photo by Tom Grotta

“I am fascinated by dots, lines and contours, by their rhythmical movements but also by the empty space they confine,” the artist explains. “Instead of drawing on paper, I draw in space using textile as a material. By leaving some space between the structure and the wall the object is freed from its background and interacts with the white wall. It becomes what I call a ‘”spatial drawing.'”


25 at 25 at SOFA NY Countdown: Dorothy Gill Barnes

HAYSTACK RIVER BASKET detail, photo ©2011 Tom Grotta, courtesy of browngrotta arts


At SOFA NY 2012, browngrotta arts will exhibit Dorothy Gill BarnesHaystack River Basket. The sculpture is created of “river teeth,” teeth-shaped knots from old growth trees that are sculpted by the elements that Barnes discovered on the ground around the spruce trees in Maine while teaching at Haystack Mountain School of Craft.

HAYSTACK RIVER BASKET by Dorothy Gill Barnes, photo ©Tom Grotta, courtesy of browngrotta arts

The basket is made of  younger river teeth, though some can be 200 years older than the remainder of the tree and up to 12 to 15 inches long. Barnes’ work was recently the subject of an exhibition, Collection Focus, at the Racine Art Museum.  Her work is also in the permanent collections of the Museum of Arts & Design, the Erie Art Museum, Arizona State University Art Museum, Nelson Fine Arts Center, Tempe and the Arkansas Decorative Arts Museum.

Haystack River Basket

early river teeth, 14.5” x 21” x 16”, 2011

Dispatches: Palm Beach, Florida

Tom behind a work by Chang Yeonsoon and in front of a Jun Tomita ikat. 2011 © Carter Grotta - courtesy cbgimages.com

Dawn MacNutt and Ceca Georgieva installation photo by Carter Grotta

We took a few days off and visited Florida last week. More rest than recreation, but we managed to visit Cocktail Culture at the Norton, which we had seen previously at the RISD Museum. Great fun! We wound up at the Apple Store and admired the iPhone cases by Fresh Fiber and appreciated the jewel-toned, stretched raw silk panels in our room at the Omphoy Resort.  We also visited friends who have two great works of fiber art: a pair of Dawn MacNutts from the Kindred Spirit series and Landscape for Men by Ceca Georgieva. On the Florida fiber art front, though, it’s hard to beat our in-laws’ collection.

John McQueen (1994) JUST UNDER THE RECORD private Collection photo by Tom Grotta

Here’s Tom behind an abaca square by Chang Yeonsoon and in front of an ikat by Jun Tomita, along with shots of a fanciful marlin by John McQueen,

two bows by Masakazu Kobayashi

Masakazu Kobayashi installation photo by Tom grotta

and work by Keiji Nio.

Blue Keiji Nio, photo by Tom Grotta


Art News: Korean Art Gains Exposure

The Korean Art Show opened this week at 82 Mercer Street in New York and runs through March 11th. Interest in Korean Art is on the rise. The Museum of Arts and Design and Korean Art Show opened the Korean Eye: Energy and Matter from last November through February. It was accompanied by a 300-page catalog. Last year’s Cheong-ju International Craft Biennale featured artworks by 189 international artists. The Korean Design & Craft Foundation began exhibiting at SOFA expositions in 2010. In recognition of this escalation of interest we offer this online view of work by three accomplished artists from Korea who explore traditional and innovative techniques in their work.  Chang Yeonsoon was Artist of the Year at the National Museum of Art in Seoul in 2008. The artworks of her Matrix series illustrate the Asian perspective of the human mind and body as unified, rather than separate. To transform her abstract ideas into three-dimensional structures requires an elaborate 12-step process that includes starching, ironing, cutting and sewing sparsely woven abaca fiber after dyeing it with indigo. Jin-Sook So has spent much of her career in Sweden and her work reflects her time in two cultures.  So creates abstract and rhythmical works by applying various techniques to wire mesh, organza and paper. Her works, like Untitled Steel Mesh in the permanent collection of the Museum of Arts and Design, combine Western influences and Korean sensibilities.  Young-Ok Shin transfoms traditional Korean aesthetics into contemporary works of art.  In Ways of Wisdom, for example, which is part of the permanent collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the artist repurposed an entire volume of a 19th-century printed version of the The Analects of Confucius to create five scrolls, woven with ramie and cotton threads, standing, rather laying flat in the traditional manner, each presenting the five elements of the East Asian cosmology: Water (black); Fire (red); Earth (yellow); Wood (blue) and Metal (white).