Category: Art Assembled

Dispatches: One Month, Three Museums

We don’t get the chance to see art exhibitions in person as often as we’d like. So we were quite pleased last month to be able to grab some museum time between closing our last exhibition, The Grotta Collection and prepping for our annual spring event, Volume 50: Chronicling Fiber Art for Three Decades.

The banyan tree in front of the Norton, Claus Oldenberg’s sculpture in the background.

We found ourselves first at the Norton Museum of Fine Art in Palm Beach, Florida. The museum has been newly and elegantly renovated. Viewers first see an extraordinary banyan tree incorporated into the entrance. Inside there are exhibitions of the Museum’s permanent collections and a specially commissioned work by Dale Chihuly. We were pleased to see the traveling exhibition, Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern. The exhibition addresses how the artist proclaimed her progressive, independent lifestyle through a self-crafted public persona, using her art, her clothing, and the way she posed for the camera. Early on, she fashioned a signature style of dress — much of which she created herself — that dispensed with ornamentation, which evolved in her years in New York—when a black-and-white palette dominated much of her art and dress—and then her time in New Mexico, where her art and clothing changed in response to the colors of the Southwestern landscape. After locating in the Santa Fe, an amazing array of photographers visited her and solidified her status as a pioneer of modernism and contemporary style icon. In addition to O’Keeffe’s paintings and clothes, the exhibition included photographs of the painter by noted artists Ansel Adams, Alfred Stieglitz, Andy Warhol, and others. You have through February 2, 2020 to see it: https://www.norton.org/exhibitions/georgia-okeeffe-living-modern.

Tom beneath Dale Chihuly’s Sealife Persian Ceiling

Two weeks later we were able to visit the new Westport Museum of Contemporary Art (formerly the Westport Arts Center) to see its inaugural exhibition of two works by remarkable artist Yayoi Kasuma. Part one, Where the Lights in My Heart Go, one of Kasuma’s mirrored boxes, is a work with two distinct characters. While its mirrored exterior both reflects and appears to merge with its surroundings, punctured with small holes it becomes, on the inside, a fathomless space punctuated by dots of daylight.

Inside Yayoi Kasuma’s Where the Lights in My Heart Go at the Westport Museum of Contemporary Art.

Where the Lights in My Heart Go draws parallels with the ritualistic aspect and formality of Japanese culture, MoCA explains. To enter, visitors must bow their heads, humble themselves in preparation for what they are about to experience. As one’s eyes adjust slowly to the play of light across its perforated walls, an ever-changing constellation reveals itself. Kusama has referred to the effect the work produces as a “subtle planetarium” – a space in which to ponder the mysteries of the physical and metaphysical universe. Different for each viewer, Where the Lights in My Heart Go also changes with each fresh experience of it. It is immeasurable yet intimate. Kusama’s art may possess a kind of universal language, but it speaks to us one by one. Our moments inside the artwork were truly magical — we were so pleased to have that experience before it closed.

Nick Cave’s Tondo, from Weather Report at the Aldrich Museum of Art.

Also on exhibit is Kusama’s installation Narcissus Garden which originated in 1966, when the artist first participated, albeit unofficially, in the Venice Biennale. This expansive and immersive work comprises mirrored spheres displayed en masse to create a dynamic reflective field. In Venice, Kusama installed the spheres on a lawn in front of the Italian Pavilion. Signs placed among them were inscribed with the words ‘Narcissus Garden, Kusama’ and ‘Your Narcissism for Sale’. Kusama, dressed in a kimono, remained with the installation, offering individual spheres for sale (at $2, or 1,200 lira a piece). This succès de scandale was both revolutionary – a comment on the promotion of the artist through the media and a critique of the mechanization and commodification of the art market – and deeply connected to history, evoking the Greek myth of Narcissus, who fell in love with his own reflection (and paid the price for doing so). Tom and I found the exhibition so engaging we went right home and watched the documentary about the artist on Amazon Prime: Kusama: Infinity. Narcissus Garden is on view through February 16, 2020 https://mocawestport.org/experiences/.

Eva LeWitt’s Untitled (Mesh A–J),at the Aldrich Museum of Art in Ridgefield, Connecticut

Our last stop was at the Aldrich Museum of Art in Ridgefield, Connecticut. There are three exhibitions there well worth seeing, including a colorful site-specific installation, Untitled (Mesh A-J) by Eva LeWitt. “LeWitt’s sculptural practice explores the visual interconnection of color, matter, shape, light, and gravity. Using materials she can control and manipulate with supporting and opposing attributes – rigid/pliable, opaque/transparent, airy/substantial, and handmade/machine built – LeWitt creates exuberant configurations that vaunt a buoyant physical agency,” says the Museum signage. Zoë Sheehan Saldaña has mounted an exhibition of 50 of her hand-made artifacts, There Must Be Some Kind of Way Out of Here, curated by Glenn Adamson.Even her most elaborate undertakings, such as a reverse-engineered Strike Anywhere match or a hand-woven terrycloth towel, masquerade as objects you might toss away thoughtlessly, or stick in a drawer and forget. Underneath these acts of artistic camouflage lies a deep well of conviction, a drive to take full responsibility for things.”

Weather Study, Jitish Kallat from Weather Report at the the Aldrich Museum of Art.

We were most captivated, however, by Weather Report, a group exhibition curated by Richard Klein. Weather Report brings together that work of 21 artists and three researchers to explore the ways that our immersion is the atmosphere — what can only be considered the most remarkable feature of our planet — has influenced visual culture in the 21st century. The range of ways in which they depict weather phenomena is remarkable. In Fly to Mars 2 by Jennifer Steinkamp the artist has created a video version of the axis mundi, the mythic tree at the center of the universe. Nick Cave created a series of images based on Doppler radar images of cataclysmic weather and brain scans from black youth suffering PTSD from gun violence, presenting gun violence as uncontrollable as a hurricane. In Wind Study, Jitish Kallat has “drawn” with soot, blown by prevailing winds, making a statement about winds and wildfires worldwide.

The exhibitions are all open for a few more months (April, May and March, respectively). From more information, visit the Museum’s website. http://aldrichart.org


Lenore Tawney Gets Her Due

We have been delighted to see a select group of contemporary fiber artists receiving well-deserved recognition in the last few years including Anni Albers, Ruth Asawa, Sheila Hicks and Faith Ringgold. Lenore Tawney is an important member of this growing list. Seems like you can’t turn around this fall without seeing her work in a major exhibition. She’s the subject of a retrospective as well, the first since the 90s and we say — it’s about time!

Lenore Tawney, Floating Shapes, 1958; linen, silk, and wool; 49 x 42 in. Collection of the Lenore G. Tawney Foundation, New York. Photo: Rich Maciejewski, courtesy of John Michael Kohler Arts Center.

You can see Tawney’s work in Talking Thread for a Walk at MoMA, Women Take the Floor: Beyond the Loom: Fiber as Sculpture / Subversive Threads at the Boston Museum of Fine Art and Making Knowing: Craft in Art, 1950–2019 at the Whitney Museum in American Art in New York. She is featured in Weaving Beyond the Bauhaus at the Art Institute of Chicago and bauhaus imaginista at the Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern, Switzerland. You would also have seen her work in Alison Jacques’ and Michael Rosenfeld’s booths at this year’s Art Basel in Miam.

More expansive, however, is the comprehensive look at Tawney’s work and continuing influence at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center (JMKAC) in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Tawney’s life’s work, dating from circa 1946-1997, is the subject of a concurrent four-exhibition series, Mirror of the Universe, through March 7, 2020. The exhibition represents the most comprehensive presentation of Tawney’s work since 1990.

Lenore Tawney, Written in Water, 1979; canvas, linen, and acrylic; 120 x 120 x 120 in. Collection of the Lenore G. Tawney Foundation, New York. Photo: Rich Maciejewski, courtesy of John Michael Kohler Arts Center.

In Poetry and Silence: The Work and Studio of Lenore Tawney
October 6, 2019–March 7, 2020Anchoring the series is an evocation of Tawney’s studio underscoring the relationship of the artist’s space to her creative practice, entitled, In Poetry and Silence: The Work and Studio of Lenore Tawney. The aim, according to the Center is to, reunite a selection of her key works—weavings, drawings, and collages—with objects that once populated her revelatory work spaces to reveal her processes and inspirations, exposing relationships and dissolving boundaries between the material surroundings she constructed for herself and the art she made there. Tawney’s studio was acquired by JMKAC from the Lenore G. Tawney Foundation. The represents an example of the John Michael Kohler Art Center’s very interesting commitment to ongoing preservation and presentation of artist-built environments. 

Ephemeral and Eternal: The Archives of Lenore Tawney 
September 15, 2019–February 16, 2020 Tawney developed a deeply personal visual vocabulary intertwining language with found images, feathers, flowers, and stones. Illuminating key moments in the artist’s career as well as her everyday life and close friendships, Ephemeral and Eternal: The Archives of Lenore Tawney will explore the correspondence, journals, artist books, photographs, audio interviews, and ephemera drawn from manuscript collections at the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art and the Lenore G. Tawney Foundation. 

Lenore Tawney, (left) The Judge, 1961; linen; 124 x 14 in. (right) The Bride, 1962; linen and feathers; 138 x 13 in. Courtesy of the Lenore G. Tawney Foundation, New York. Photo: Rich Maciejewski, 2018, courtesy of John Michael Kohler Arts Center.

Even Thread Has a Speech
September 1, 2019–February 2, 2020 Even Thread Has a Speech is a group exhibition that will explore Tawney’s lasting impact on eight contemporary fiber artists with new, site-specific installations commissioned by the John Michael Kohler Arts Center as well as 2-D and 3-D works. Artists in the exhibition include Indira Allegra, Julia Bland, Jesse Harrod, Judith Leemann, kg, Anne Lindberg, Michael Milano and Sheila Pepe. 

Cloud Labyrinth
August 18, 2019 – January 19, 2020 A study in contrasts, Cloud Labyrinth comprises thousands of individual, tiny threads suspended from a canvas panel or “ceiling.” Although composed in a strict square grid, the diaphanous work is yielding, responding to any atmospheric movement with a slight swaying. The piece was created in 1983 for the Lausanne International Tapestry Biennial in Switzerland, and has not been shown since 1999. The work exemplifies the evolution of Tawney’s practice into the complete dissolution of the loom while maintaining an unmistakable connection to weaving.

Lenore Tawney, Shield IV, 1966; linen, beads, and shells; 13 1/2 x 10 1/2 in. Collection of the Lenore G. Tawney Foundation, New York. Photo: Rich Maciejewski, courtesy of John Michael Kohler Arts Center.

Lenore Tawney, who died in 2007 at age 100, was a pioneering artist who created a body of innovative woven work that helped to shape the course of fiber art during the second half of the 20th century. She studied sculpture with Alexander Archipenko, drawing with Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, drawing and watercolor painting with Emerson Woelffer, and weaving with Marli Ehrman. In the 1950s, Tawney moved to New York to dedicate herself to her art, becoming one of the first artists to apply sculptural techniques to weaving, pioneering a new direction in fiber-based practices, and by extension, in contemporary art. Tawney is equally known for the collages, sculptural assemblages, drawings, and postcards that she began during the 1960s and continued to create throughout her long life. 

A comprehensive monograph co-published by the University of Chicago Press accompanies the series, featuring essays by Glenn Adamson, Kathleen Nugent Mangan, Karen Patterson, Mary Savig, Shannon R. Stratton, and Florica Zaharia: https://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/L/bo45997885.html

For more information: https://www.jmkac.org/exhibition/mirror 


Art Assembled: New This Week November

The month of November was one for the books. Between our new exhibitions — The Grotta Collection and Art and Text — and the holiday buzz, there was never a dull moment around here. Toward the beginning of November, we shared pieces from Mariette Rousseau-Vermette. One of our favorites was a wool and fur piece that dates back to 1974. Crafted of wool, muskrat, white fox and beaver fur – it’s no wonder this piece immediately draws one attention when walking into a room. Rousseau-Vermette draws inspiration from nature and working with natural materials – whether they be old or new, as they support an evolution to unite tradition with high technology.

Mariette Rousseau-Vermette, 233 & 362mr Wool & Fur
wool, muskrat, white fox & beaver fur, 88″ x 44″, 1974

Another artist we were pleased to exhibit at the gallery was the talented Kari Lønning. New for our last exhibition was her Triple Weave, Taming Nature pieces. Lønning is best known for her double-walled constructions and jaw-dropping complex-weaving processes, which she refers to as her “hairy technique.” She works extensively with graphic patterns, using both bold and subtle color schemes that provide the most beautiful art outcomes. For these works she used a new material, akebia vine. The vines are consistently thin and very strong, they are perfect for making baskets,” says Lønning.

Kari Lønning, 69kl Taming Natureakebia vines, rattan, encaustic medium, 15.25” x 8.5” x 8.5”, 2018

Later in November, we also premiered Hideho Tanaka’s Emerging 008. This stunning art was crafted from Japanese carbon ink, inkjet print, collage cotton cloth and Japanese tissue paper. Tanaka’s interest in creative forms, that emerge in time and space and yet also metamorphose and disappear, is evident and admirable.

Hideho Tanaka, 30ht Emerging 008, Japanese carbon ink drawing, inkjet print, collage cotton cloth, Japanese tissue paper, 14.5” x 18.325” x 1.25,” 2016

Last, but certainly not least, we were delighted to exhibit Jiro Yonezawa‘s work. We featured Yonezawa’s Meteorite, made from bamboo, steel and urushi laquer and it is breathtaking. Yonezawa is known for his award-winning bamboo vessels and sculptures. For Yonezawa, bamboo basketry is an expression of detailed precision. Each basket embodies the contrast of disciplined formality in technique and natural freedom. With each art piece, there is an element of intrigue and an element of complexity that represents what lies beyond form. Representing a search for the beauty and precision in nature and a way to balance the chaos evident in current times.

Jiro Yonezawa, 90jy Meteorite, Bamboo, steel, urushi laquer, 9” x 15” x 11”, 2019


Art Assembled — New this Week from October

As we kick off Novembers with our release of the Grotta Collection exhibition and book launch, which runs from November 3rd to November 10th, https://www.artsy.net/show/browngrotta-arts-artists-from-the-grotta-collection-exhibition-and-book-launch, we’d like to take a look back on which artist made October so special for us. 

Eduardo Portillo & Mariá Eugenia Dávila triple weave mosaic tapestry
Triple weave, Eduardo Portillo & Mariá Eugenia Dávila, silk, alpaca, moriche, metalliic yarns, copper, natural dyes, 71” x 48.25”, 2016

October starts the final quarter of the year, and it also brings in much excitement as the new year is nearing. With new beginnings, we began our New This Week feature in October with works from Eduardo Portillo and Mariá Eugenia Dávila. Their work is driven by their relationship with their surroundings and how their artwork can be communicated within a contemporary textile language. “ We have always been passionate about knowledge, experimentation and especially its reinterpretation within our own place and culture, in Mérida, in the Venezuelan Andes, we also work with local materials, such as cotton and alpaca from Peru and Bolivia, fiber from the moriche and chiqui-chique palm trees of the Orinoco River Delta and Amazon region, as well as dyes from the indigo plant. For us, color is crucial. Our interest in color starts at its very foundations: how it is obtained, where it is found in nature, in objects, in people. Through color, we discover the way to follow each project.” – Eduardo Portillo and Mariá Eugenia Dávila
For more on Eduardo Portillo & Mariá Eugenia Dávila visit Artist Link: http://www.browngrotta.com/Pages/portillo.php

Mary Giles figurative wall dolls
Mary Giles, 11mg Annointed Rank, waxed linen, wire, bone, paint, gesso, 10”(h) x 31”, 1997

We are always intrigued by the wide variety of artwork that we have the pleasure of showcasing here at browngrotta arts. We strive not only to share the final products but also behind the scenes of the processes that go into creating the work on that ends up on our gallery walls. Our next October New This Week artist was Mary Giles, a St. Croix, Minnesota based fiber artist, and sculptor.

Over the past four decades, Giles helped move the boundaries of basket weaving and earned international recognition for her art, which is characterized by coiled waxed-linen bases adorned with hammered metal or fine wire that brings to mind tree bark, fish scales, feathers or fur.
“My baskets express both action and reaction to what I have loved in the past and what I am discovering today.” Mary Giles
For more on Mary Giles visit Artist Link: http://www.browngrotta.com/Pages/giles.php

Willow boat basket sculpture
44cj Boat Becoming River, Christine Joy, willow 14” x 31” x 10”, 2018

Did you know that Weeping willow trees, which are native to northern China, are beautiful and fascinating trees whose lush, curved form is instantly recognizable? Did you also know that in addition to her basketmaking addiction, Christine Joy is also addicted to the smell of willow branches. In her studio, you will find willow branches that are piled high, and even when she doesn’t have time to make something, she takes a little visit into her very own willow heaven as much as she can. “Because it takes so long for one work of art, it has really become my own art therapy, which is ironic because that is what I got my degree in, to help others through art,” Joy said. “But now making these expressions is my. Willow is my life.” 
For more on Christine Joy visit Artist Link: http://www.browngrotta.com/Pages/joy.php

Stéphanie Jacques installation
10sj Retournement en cours I, Stephanie Jacques, 36″ x 77″ x 14″, 2014-2016

One of the great joys we have is having the opportunity to share such fantastic work with incredible artists from all over the world. It is a pleasure sharing works from Stéphanie Jacques from Belgium in our new book The Grotta Home by Richard Meier: A Marriage of Architecture and Craft. Stéphanie Jacques once said, “Connecting things is the foundation of my work: hard and soft, old and new, valuable and trivial, conscious and unconscious, human and plant.”
For more on Stéphanie Jacques visit: http://www.browngrotta.com/Pages/jacques.php


Art Assembled September

There are so many reasons to absolutely love the fall season. We share some spectacular pieces by five inspiring artists, as we are gearing up for the launch of The Grotta Home by Richard Meier: a Marriage of Architecture and Craft next month, which was designed and photographed by Tom and which features dozens of browngrotta arts’ artists.

We started the month with Carolina Yrarrázaval. Her artwork evokes harmony in every piece of fiber she touches. “Throughout my entire artistic career, I have devoted myself to investigating traditional textile techniques from diverse cultures, especially Pre-Columbian techniques, trying to adapt them to my creative needs. Abstraction has always been present as an aesthetic aim, informing my choice of materials, forms, textures, and colors.”

Carolina Yrarrázaval
18cy Memoria Andina. Photo by Tom Griotta
Carolina Yrarrázaval 18cy Memoria Andina linen and cotton 54.25” x 25.25”, 2019

We continue with Dawn MacNutt, a source of inspiration to many. A native of the Canadian province Nova Scotia, incorporates an assortment of natural materials, such as twined willow, seagrass, and copperwire, into each life-size sculpture. By crafting these column-like figures, MacNutt masterfully captures the beauty and frailty of the human form.”Through many years of working, the way of creating my sculptures has changed, but two things remain constant: The work is inspired by the human form, and it derives from weaving. The forms are irregular and more universal than specifics. I hope they reflect the beauty of human frailty.”

Dawn MacNutt
35dm Praise South
inflorescence and reed, 19.5” x 5.5” x 3.5,” 2007 

47dm Praise North
willow, 24.75”x 13”x 5.5,” 2018
Dawn MacNutt 35dm Praise South, inflorescence and reed, 19.5” x 5.5” x 3.5,” 2007; 47dm Praise North, willow, 24.75”x 13”x 5.5,” 2018

Aleksandra Stoyanov, also known as Sasha, was our third artist in September. She once told us that her Influence began as a child as she was not very healthy. She spent a lot of time in the hospital, and this further influenced her understanding of people and life itself. “When I keep threads in my hands I feel that they are ground, the grass, that there is life in them. The feeling of thread in my hands is the first appeal for me to begin working on a new piece.”

Aleksandra Stoyanov
9as Reflection
wool, plexiglas
8” x 8.125” x 3.375, 2004
photo by Tom Grotta
Aleksandra Stoyanov, 9as Reflection wool, plexiglas 8” x 8.125” x 3.375, 2004

Chiyoko Tanaka once told us that the act of weaving, as the weft threads accumulate one by one, is a representation of time passing away; texture acting as the locus of the present time. It was such a profound way of explaining that, “Placing the fabric on the ground, I trace out the ground texture and surface of the fabric. The act of tracing is a transformation of time coherence into space, and grinding is the transformation of space coherence into time.” 

Chiyoko Tanaka
68cht Mud-Dyed Cloth - Ocher. White Mud Dots,
handwoven ramie, mud-dyed rubbed with stone and
mud dots, 21.375” x 46.5” x 3,” 2018
photo by Tom Grotta
Chiyoko Tanaka, 68cht Mud Dyed Cloth-Ocher. White Mud Dots, handwoven ramie, mud dyed rubbed with stone and mud dots, 21” x 46.5” x 3”, 2018

We wrapped up September with Jiro Yonezawa and his warm tones that fit perfectly with the fall colors appearing now all over the world. Of this series of work, Yonezawa has said that the curves have the movement of wind. As it blows through the forest, you can hear the rustling of the leaves as it passes by all living creatures.

Jiro Yonezawa
90jy Meteorite, Bamboo, steel, urushi laquer, 9” x 15” x 11”, 2019. Photo by Tom Grotta
90jy Meteorite, Jiro Yoezawa, Bamboo, steel, urushi laquer , 9” x 15” x 11”, 2019

“For anyone who lives in the oak-and-maple area of New England, there is a perennial temptation to plunge into a purple sea of adjectives about October,” says Hal Borland. We look forward to this October and all the wonderful artists we will feature in New This Week, stay tuned!


Art Assembled: New this Week in July

We always want our blog to be a place for textile and fiber artists and collectors to be inspired, and a place to see and learn from the best. We started the summer off hot and July was no different. We kicked off the month of July with artist Lija Rage. She is influenced by many different cultures. She is particularly interested in drawings of ancient cultures on the walls of caves in different parts of the world. Eastern culture with its mysterious magic, drawings of runes in Scandinavia, Tibet and the mandala, Egyptian pyramid drawings. 

Lija Rage wall sculpture
3lr My Sun For Everyone, Lija Rage, bamboo, copper wire, fabric 46.5” x 58.75” x 1.25”, 2018

“Currently, I am interested in new technologies and their use in contemporary fiber art. Textile and fiber art for me are types of modern art that use fiber as their medium. It is the type of art that borders the four fine arts types with the same high requirements and tasks. I believe in its development in the modern world.” Lija Rage New This Week featuring My Sun For Everyone, by Lija Rage.

Tamiko Kawata safety pin wall art
34tk Infinite, Tamiko Kawata, safety pin on canvas wrapped wood 11″ x 11″ x 3″, 2014

We continued the month with works from Tamiko Kawata. Discarded materials are important to Tamiko Kawata, not only for environmental issues but also to reflect his current life. Her choice of materials and interpretation are influenced by the differences experiences between life in America and Japan where she grew up.

“Safety pins function variously as thread, yarn, clay or truss in my work process. I found them soon after I arrived from Japan, out of the necessity to shorten all-too-long American clothing. I noticed their smooth texture and their head- and tail-like details. In the beginning, I found ways to interlock them, as if weaving. I found constructing systems as I went along, using only the inherent structural properties of the pins, and now can create anything from “drawings” to three-dimensional, self-standing works.” Tamiko Kawata New This Week featuring Infinite, Tamiko Kawata, safety pin on canvas wrapped wood.

Wendy Wahl Encyclopedia art
32ww CE/EB #4, Wendy Wahl
Encylopedia Britanica and Comptons pages, poplar frame, 24″ x 32″ x 1.5″, 2011.
27ww EB ’62 vol. 17-18, Wendy Wahl
Encylopedia Britanica pages, poplar frame, 24″ x 32″ x 1.5″, 2011

One thing you could count on as a child was never having to look at an encyclopedia during the Summer and Wendy Wahl made sure of it! She continues to wow us with her use of this material, and she pushes them into a contemporary extreme, somewhere between art and object.
“My art has always been a protest against what I have met with in weaving. I started to use rope, horsehair, metal and fur because I needed these materials to give my vision expression and I did not care that they were not part of the tradition in the field.” Wendy Wahl New This Week featuring work from Wendy Wahl.

Kiyomi Iwata Ogara Choshi
21ki Fungus Three, Kiyomi Iwata, Ogara Choshi are gathered. The surface is embellished with gold leaf and French embroidery knots, 6.5” x 8” x 7.5”, 2018

We wrapped up the month with artist Kiyomi Iwata. In her work, she explores the boundaries of East and West through absence and presence, void and volume.

Fungus Three is made from ogarami choshi. Even though they are all created in the same manner, the elements are all different shapes and tones. The individual pieces are gathered together to make one large bundle. This was inspired by a saying I heard: ‘If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.’  This seems a good thought to keep in mind during these trying times.” Kiyomi Iwata  New This Week featuring work from Kiyomi Iwata


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 Assembled: New This Week March

Shades of Green, Dawn MacNutt, twined willow, paint 63.75”x 23” x 20”, 2008

We started off the month of March with a beautiful willow sculpture by Dawn MacNutt. Like many of Macnutt’s pieces, Shades of Green is an interpretation of universal human form. In creating her work, MacNutt draws inspiration from ancient human forms that were present in ancient times, as well as humans and emotions in the present.

Harmony of Yin Yang I, Shin Young-Ok , mosigut (fine threads made of the skin of ramie plant) linen & ramie threads. Korean ramie fabric, 24.875″ x 24.625″ x 1.5″, 2014.

For the second week of March, we broke the status quo and shared a walkthrough of our online Artsy exhibition An Unexpected Approach: Exploring Contemporary Asian Art. The video, which can be viewed on our Instagram, Facebook or YouTube channel, presents viewers from all over the world an opportunity to see an assortment of astonishing Asian-inspired art. If you are curious about a piece in the video walkthrough make sure to check out the exhibition Artsy page HERE, or give us a call.

Water Is Eternity, Keiji Nio, woven and braided nylon, 4.5″ x 4.5″ x 3.74″, 2009. 9th triennale internationale des mini-textiles – Angers 2009.

Next up on the queue was Shin Young-Ok’s Harmony of Yin Yang I. Made using mosigut (fine threads made of skin of ramie plant), linen and ramie threads, Harmony of Yin Yang I explores the origins of harmony in Asian philosophy. The ying yang sign, which is considered complementary rather than oppositional, embodies dualism, the idea that all energy has an equally powerful, opposing energy.

To finish off March we shared Water is Eternity, a woven and braided nylon sculpture by artist Keiji Nio. Nio creates sculptures with the traditional technique of kumihimo. In the past, Nio has used the technique to create works that have been featured in the International Biennial of Tapestry in Lausanne as well as the International Miniature Textile Triennial in Angers, France.


Art Assembled: New This Week February

Structural Discussion VI, Hisako Sekijima cedar and walnut, 10.75” x 14.5” x 7”, 2016. Photo by Tom Grotta.

Winter is slowly but surely coming to a close (finally!) and the sunny months are not too far ahead. Also rapidly approaching is this year’s Art in the Barn exhibition: Art + Identity: An International View, which seeks to take an expansive look at identity and art in a global context.

We started February’s “New This Week” series with Structural Discussion VI by Hisako Sekijima. Woven using cedar and walnut, Sekijima’s Structural Discussion VI’s explores structure, form and shape. Though Sekijima’s baskets were not created to function in a utilitarian manner she feels that they have been a useful tool in exploring herself. Unlike traditional basketmakers, Sekijima has chosen to not work with one specific plant throughout her life, but instead work with various plant materials. Her openness to other plant materials has allowed her to explore and experiment with each material’s sculptural possibilities.

Material Pleasures: Artemisia, Lia Cook, acrylic on linen, dyes on rayon; woven, 53” x 77” 1993. Photo by Tom Grotta.

The sensual nature of Lia Cook’s Material Pleasures: Artemisia is sure to immediately captivate the viewer. Cook’s Material Pleasures series explores the “sensuality of the woven image” and the emotional response that comes with it. Cook has continued this exploration of sensuality and emotion in her current work, combining it with technology that measures and maps emotional responses.

Orchid, Marianne Kemp, horsehair, gold lures thread, wooden frame, 15” x 18.5” x 2”. Photo by Tom Grotta.

Next up was Marianne Kemp’s stitched and woven Orchid. Dyed red horsehair woven in between a delicate herringbone background brings light to Kemp’s supreme eye for detail. For Kemp weaving is a form of meditation. “It is the only time of day that I do one thing at the time and think (solely) about one thing,” Kemp explains. Weaving allows Kemp to give her brain a rest and explore her creative intuition.

Blue/Green Weaving, Włodzimierz Cygan, polyester, linen, sisal, fiber optic, 41” x 41” x 15”. Photo by Tom Grotta.

We concluded February with  Włodzimierz Cygan’s Blue/Green Weaving. The piece, which is designed with both textiles and fiber optics, resembles a peacock feather in daylight and slowly shifts shades in the dark. Cygan, a Polish artist, is an innovator in the field of fiber art, challenging the boundaries of the medium.


Art Assembled: New This Week January

Mind Garden, Shin Young-ok, 2018
Several kinds threads, bamboo weaving on loom, 72 × 35 1/2 in

A new year and new art, oh my!

We kicked off the new year with Shin Young-ok’s Mind Garden. The varied blue hues of Mind Garden immediately draw your attention, leaving you with a desire to look deeper into the details. In Mind Garden, Young-ok seamlessly weaves ombre blue hues with a geometric pattern. The South Korean native transforms traditional Korean aesthetics into innovative contemporary works of art. “The aim of my work is to convey a genuine Korean atmosphere and its cosmic space through rich color, shapes, forms and material quality,she explains. While doing this I try to link the Korean tradition with modern trends.”

Togetherasone, Marianne Kemp, horsehair, linen, cotton, wooden frame, 31” x 15” x 2”

Marianne Kemp’s Togetherasone was also on social-media display this month. Present in much of Kemp’s work is horsehair, a material which constantly fuels her creativity.  Kemp’s unconventional weaving techniques give each of her pieces a unique character. That uniqueness is further elevated by her unparalleled use of texture, color and movement. The resulting three-dimensional nature of her pieces leaves each viewer not only wanting to look at each piece, but to touch it as well.

Tasting Green, Deborah Valoma, found iron objects, crocheted cotton thread, stinging nettles dye 61” x 5” x 3.5”, 2018

Next up, we shared Tasting Green by Deborah Valoma. Ingesting, bathing in, and dying with a distillation of stinging nettles leaves for a period of two months has produced a multi-sensory experience of green, for Valoma. “My body has been steeped in the smell, flavor, and feel of an earthy, brownish green,” she wrote of the piece. The common weed, Urtica dioica, has been used for food, medicine, fiber and dyes throughout Europe, the Middle East and northern Africa for millennia. Stinging nettle is also a perennial native to western United States and Canada and can be harvested locally from wetland areas.” It is a formidable plant,” writes the artist, “an ally of those in need of protection, fortification and healing. The bite of the fresh plant and its rich iron content syncretizes it with warriors of the wild.”

Offering i, Gizella Warburton, mixed media installation 18” x 12.5” x 63””; 2014

For Gizella Warburton, last in our social media queue for January, the process of making is visceral. “The materiality of cloth, paper, thread, wood and paint connect me to an innate human urge to make marks” and to “decipher the meaning of our physical and emotional landscapes,” describes Warburton. Warburton’s vessel forms, such as Offering i explore an intuitive response to linear, textural and light detail within landscape and surface. The process of making the vessels forms is quite contemplative, and includes a variety of subprocesses which, in the end, result in and aid each piece in coming to fruition.