Category: Basketmakers

ART ASSEMBLED FEATURED IN JUNE

The start to summer has been quite busy for browngrotta arts. At the beginning of June browngrotta arts’ opened Plunge: explorations from above and below in collaboration with the New Bedford Art Museum in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Soon after came the launch of Cross Currents: Art Inspired by Water, an online companion exhibition to Plunge. We’ve featured four works on our website as New This Weekthree sculptures and a tapestry.

Reaching Out by Karyl Sisson

Reaching Out by Karyl Sisson, vintage zipper tape and thread, 8″ x 56″ x 45″, 2013

Made with vintage zipper tape and thread, Karyl Sisson’s Reaching Out cloaks the floor in a deep red. Many of Karyl’s sculptures resemble sea creatures, Reaching Out, which can be viewed in Plunge, resembles an octopus lingering along the seafloor. Rather than starting with a set idea of what she wants to create, Sisson lets the materials and processes dictate the form of her pieces.

61hh

On the Dock by Helena Hernmarck, wool, 43″ x 57″, 2009

Helena Hernmarcks’ tapestry On the Dock depicts two women enjoying the sunshine. Hernmarck. On the Dock can also be viewed with other water-influenced works in Cross Currents, at browngrotta.com.  

Peninsula by Mary Merkel-Hess

Peninsula by Mary Merkel-Hess, paper, paper cord
22” x 22” x 44”, 2016

Peninsula, a sculpture made with paper and paper cord, reflects Mary Merkel-Hess’ study of the natural world. Using a technique of her own creation, Merkel-Hess builds each piece using a combination of collage and paper mâché with inclusions of materials such as reed, paper cord, wood, and drawings.  

Intrusion by Dail Behennah, scorched and waxed white willow; silver black patinated and plated pins, 2″ x 22″ x 22″; 2014

Intrusion, a white willow basket made by Dail Behennah draws in the eye with its grid-like basket architecture. Dail drew inspiration for this piece from igneous intrusions into landscapes. As the softer rocks are worn away the peaks and tors remain hard-edged outcrops on the surface.


Artist in the House: Jane Balsgaard from Denmark

 

Browngrotta arts’ artist Jane Balsgaard recently visited the gallery on her way to the opening of Plunge: explorations from above and below at the New Bedford Art Museum. Balsgaard, a native of Denmark, has been very busy lately. In addition to participating in both Plunge and our 30th Anniversary Exhibition, Still Crazy After All These Years…30 years in art, Balsgaard has just completed a lofty commission for the Hotel Bretagne located in Hornbaek, Denmark.

Jane Balsgaard working

Jane Balsgaard holding “Deck,” a new piece she made while visiting browngrotta.
Photo by Tom Grotta

For the Hotel Balsgaard was commissioned to create something to adorn a 29.5 ft wall facing the Hotel’s staircase. Gallery Hornbaek owner, Susanne Risom, saw Balsgaard’s work as a solution to the immense design dilemma. Balsgaard’s installation, titled Waterfall, consists of 18 reliefs, one sculpture, and one relief in the ceiling, all made with natural materials.

"Waterfall" by Jane Balsgaard

Looking down Jane Balsgaard’s “Waterfall” at the Hotel Bretagne.

The reliefs, varying in length, stretch down the length of the wall creating a straightforward course for the eye to follow. In a statement for Gallery Hornbaek, which assisted in arranging the commission, Art Historian Johan Zimsen Kristiansen explains that the “in the transition between pins, a number of small harmoniously matched fractures and character, along with transparent dots or bubbles of colored paper, all contribute to creating the falls’ dynamics,” and connect the once problematic space.

"Wilton Boat" by Jane Balsgaard

Jane tediously working on “Wilton Boat.”

During her visit at browngrotta arts in Connecticut, Balsgaard worked on a new piece called Wilton Boat, a 12.5” x 11” x 1.5” sailboat made from glass and natural materials, which she sourced fro her yard in Denmark and ours in Wilton.

You can see Jane Balsgaard’s newest works in in browngrotta arts’ online exhibition Cross-Currents: Art Inspired by Water and at the Plunge exhibition through October 8th and of course, by booking a stay at the Hotel Bretagne.


Art Assembled Featured in May

New this Week in May Red Ferne Jacobs

3fj Interior Passages, Ferne Jacobs, coiled and twined waxed linen thread, 54” x 16” x 4”, 2017, Photo by Tom Grotta

Tapestry and sculptural fiber were on tap in May as browngrotta arts’ New This Week selections. First up, Interior Passages, Ferne Jacob’s remarkable wall sculpture of coiled and twined wax linen, a large and complex work that speaks against the desecration of women around the world. Interior Passages needs no one to tell her who she is or what she is says the artist. “She knows her value, and I expect the world to respect this inner understanding. When it doesn’t, I think it moves toward a destructiveness that can be devastating.”

New this Week in May Helena Hernmarck Tapestry

Helena Hernmarck in front of her tapestry Tabula Rasa 3, 2011, Wool, 37.5″ × 57″, Photo by Carter Grotta

Helena Hernmark’s Tabula Rasa 3 , integrates an unusual background of polyester from sequin making that adds a glimmer to the tapestry in the right light. The work is part of a series that included the first Tabula Rasa, commissioned for Yue-Kong Pao Hall, Purdue University.

New this Week in May Jo Barker Dark Shimmer

Dark Shimmer, Jo Barker , wool, cotton and embroidery threads, 34” x 29.25” x 1.25”, 2017, Photos by Tom Grotta

Dark Shimmer, by Scottish artist Jo Barker, is from the series for which she won the prestigious Cordis tapestry prize in 2016.

New this week in May Complex plaiting by Norie Hatekayama

Complex Plaiting Series Pile 02, Norie Hatekayama , plaited paper fiber strips, 11” x 11” x 10”, 2002, Photo by Tom Grotta

Norie Hatakeyama’s Complex Plaiting Series, Pile 02 is made of paper tape. Hatakeyama’s plaited works reflect the complex structures that make up the universe. “Human beings explore structure in nature and create science and art,” she says. “I’ve observed that the transition of science (mathematics, geometry, etc.) and art overlaps with the direction of my work. I feel deeply that the outside world, the natural world, is a field, made up of matter and energy, repeating regeneration and radiating unremitting energy.”


Plunge: explorations above and below Opening Tonight, New Bedford Art Museum, Massachusetts

Annette Bellamy Long Lines

Annette Bellamy Long Lines

Rippling, roiling, teeming with life… Deep, dark, waiting to be explored…
Water has long been a potent influence for artists wishing to explore its majesty and mystery.

For the last several months, browngrotta arts has worked with Jamie Uretsky, Curator and Noelle Foye, Executive Director of the New Bedford Museum of Art/ArtWorks! in Massachusetts. Plunge: explorations from above and below, which examines the influence of water in the work of 16 artists from around the world, is the result.

New Bedford Plunge installation

Plunge explorations from above and below installation

The multifaceted exhibition combines sculptures, tapestries, installation works, paintings and photography. Each work resides at the intersection of the maker’s fascination with a variety of nautical and natural themes and the artmaking process. Plunge pairs Helena Hernmarck’s monumental woven depiction of tall ships in New York Bay 1884 and Chris Drury’s Double Echo, a print that superimposes a fragment of an echogram from Flight W34 over East Antarctica and an echocardiogram of the pilot’s heartbeat. In other galleries, Heather Hobler’s meditative photographs of seascapes join Karyl Sisson’s “sea creatures” made of domestic objects like zippers and clothespins; Christopher Volpe’s evocative paintings join Grethe Wittrock’s Arctica, a sculpture made from a repurposed sail from the Danish Navy. Unlike most musuem exhibtions, the works in Plunge are all available for sale.

Thirteen of the artists in Plunge, representing five countries, are represented by browngrotta arts: Dona AndersonJane BalsgaardAnnette BellamyMarian BijlengaBirgit BirkjaaerChris DruryHelena HernmarckLawrence LaBiancaSue LawtyJudy MulfordKaryl SissonUlla-Maija VikmanGrethe Wittrock. Their work, and that of the three other artists in the exhibition, Heather Hobler, Anne Leone and Christopher Volpe, will be included in the catalog for the exhibition, designed and photographed by Tom Grotta. It will be available beginning June 5th at www.browngrotta.com.

Plunge’s opening is tonight Friday, June 2nd at the New Bedford Museum of Art from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Jane Balsgaard, one of the artists in Plunge, will attend from Denmark.

The New Bedford Art Museum is great cultural destination for those on the way to the Vineyard, Nantucket or the Cape. You have plenty of time to see it, as the exhibition continues through October 7, 2017. The New Bedford Art Museum/ArtWorks! is located at: 608 Pleasant Street/ New Bedford, MA/02740/508.961.3072/info@newbedfordart.org.


Art Televised: Mary Merkel-Hess on PBS’s Craft in America

Craft in America

Mary Merkel-Hess on PBS series Nature, Craft in America

This month, the PBS series, Craft in America, will premiere its episode titled “Nature,” which features profiles on internationally acclaimed artists who use dimensional art to explore nature’s marvels. Among these visionaries is fiber artist Mary Merkel-Hess, a participant in browngrotta arts’ upcoming exhibition, Still Crazy After All These Years…30 years in art, slated to run from April 22nd through April 30th at the browngrotta arts’ barn/gallery in Wilton, Connecticut.

A native of the Midwest, Mary Merkel-Hess’ home state of Iowa represents the creative force behind many of the art pieces she fashions. By drawing inspiration from the area’s prairie elements, including its vast fields of grass, corn, shrubs and herbs, she creates dimensional art pieces that translate her experiences and familiarity with the Midwest and its unique aesthetics. In fact, many of her abstract pieces are inspired by the images she captures and masterfully replicates from the prairie garden surrounding her home and workshop.

In Chephren's Temple

In Chephren’s Temple, Mary Merkel-Hess

Working with fiber and other materials, such as paper, wood, reed, and acrylic paint, Merkel-Hess creates what she refers to as “Landscape Reports,” fiber vessels that provide a sense of place and containment for the viewer to experience and enjoy. Her process involves building upon layers of paper with careful insertion of reed or cord, creating a mold that is then shaped and painted. Her fiber sculptures illustrate Iowa’s abundance of tall grass, fields and open green space, allowing others to bring a piece of the Midwest, as well as Merkel-Hess’ inspirational prairie garden, to their home.

Airing Friday, April 21, 2017, “Nature” will highlight Mary Merkel-Hess’ creative process, as well as that of other artists, sculptors and woodcarvers whose dimensional artwork challenges audiences to reassess their relationship to the natural world. Check you local PBS listings. You can view more samples of Merkel-Hess’ fiber artwork at http://www.browngrotta.com/Pages/hess.php.


Artist RSVPs—International Artists Travel the World to Attend browngrotta’s Opening April 22nd

From across the globe to the beautiful rural and coastal landscape of Connecticut, artists traveling from four different countries and nine US states will attend browngrotta arts’ artist reception and opening this Saturday, April 22, 2017.

We are delighted to welcome these 16 national and international artists as we celebrate our 30th anniversary exhibition, Still Crazy After All These Years…30 years in art.

Jennifer Falck Linssen

Jennifer Falck Linssen

Wendy Wahl

Wendy Wahl

John McQueen

John McQueen

Blair Tate

Blair Tate

Nancy Koenigsberg

Nancy Koenigsberg

Tamiko Kawata

Tamiko Kawata

Lewis Knauss

Lewis Knauss

Mary Giles

Mary Giles

Mary Merkel-Hess

Mary Merkel-Hess

Norma Minkowitz

Norma Minkowitz

Ferne Jacobs

Ferne Jacobs

Gizella K Warburton

Gizella K Warburton

Hisako Sekijima

Hisako Sekijima

Kyomi Iwata

Kyomi Iwata

Jin-Sook So

Jin-Sook So

Helena Hernmarck

Helena Hernmarck

As with our world-renowned collection of art textiles, dimensional art pieces and mixed media, many of our visiting artists represent acreative blend of diverse cultures and countries from all over the world, including Helena Hernmarck, originally from Sweden, now Connecticut, who continues to work with weavers in Sweden to create her tapestries; Jin-Sook So, from Korea, who has also lived for more than two decades in Sweden; Hisako Sekijima of Yokohama, Japan; and Gizella K Warburton from the UK.

We’re also pleased to welcome the following artists who are traveling from across the United States, including California, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Wisconsin, and of course our home state of Connecticut:

Each of the 16 artists expected to attend browngrotta arts’ artists reception and opening this Saturday will be available to offer insights into this unique combination of art forms, including textiles, sculptures, stitched work and sculptural baskets among others. Visit our Artists pages to learn more about our visiting artists’ techniques, inspirations and remarkable art forms.
The Artists Reception and Opening for Still Crazy After All These Years…30 Years in art is at browngrotta arts, 276 Ridgefield Road, Wilton, CT 06897, April 22nd, 1 pm to 6 pm.


Art Inside and Out: Sculpture featured at browngrotta arts’ 30th Anniversary

For our 30th anniversary exhibition, Still Crazy After All These Years…30 years in art, browngrotta arts will feature outdoor sculptures by two prominent international artists, Dawn MacNutt and Mariyo Yagi.

Dawn MacNutt Timeless Figure

Dawn MacNutt Timeless Figure. Photo by Tom Grotta

Dawn MacNutt, 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.

Bronze detail

Dawn MacNutt Bronze sculpture detail. Photo by Tom Grotta

Among MacNutt’s masterpieces is, 2000–2005, a series of figures of willow and seagrass, each standing at 5’8” inches high. As with many of her fiber sculptures, MacNutt’s Return to Delos illustrates the humancondition as a source of imperfections and vulnerabilities but also reveals that, through these flaws, humans connect with one another and thereby create a sense of identity. She achieves this sentiment by leaving her columns purposely unfinished so that bare sticks remain untied and left to reach out to the world surrounding them. browngrotta arts’ exhibition features one of MacNutt’s willow figures cast in bronze, a material used by early imperial cultures. The bronze version is nearly indistinguishable from its willow counterpart, but the bronze permits the installation to withstand outdoor weather conditions.

 

Mariyo sculpture

Mariyo Yagi A Cycle – Infinity, 2016. Photo by Tom Grotta

Mariyo Yagi of Kobe, Japan, uses a combination of rope, bamboo, metal, and even glass to fashion a series of spiraling art installationsthat embody her theory of nawalogy—onenessmade of diversity. Through her art installations, she examines how nawa, the modern Japanese word for “rope,” is not made using one strand but, rather, with a series of strands inthe form of a spiral. Similar to how communication and inter-exchange establisha community, her pieces demonstrate how the energy from spiral structuresimitates the links between heaven and earth, as well as DNA and the universe.  

stick sculpture

John McQueen Skew, stick sculpture, Photo by Tom Grotta

jute sculpture

Naoko Serino Existing- 2-D jute sculpture. Photo by Tom Grotta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


There are also many indoor sculptural works featured in Still Crazy After All These Years, including John McQueen’s stitched twig figure, Askew, and Naoko Serino’s ethereal floating square of jute. Learn more about these and other artists in the browngrotta arts’ 30th anniversary exhibition on our Artists page.


Still Crazy After All These Years…30 years in art Preview: Hello Again!

For our 30th anniversary exhibition, we’ve invited six artists that had worked with browngrotta arts in previous years. Three; Leon Niehues, John Garrett and Kari Lonning, work in vessel forms. Laura Foster Nicholson and Eva create weavings and Carol Shaw-Sutton sculptural forms of fiber.

Woven Open Neck by Leon Niehues. Photo by Tom Grotta

Leon Niehues, a studio basket maker, creates his vessel forms from the young white oak trees that grow in his immediate area of the Ozarks. While using traditional splint techniques, he has added new construction methods and simple design elements that dramatically change his oak baskets into exciting contemporary pieces. We’ve captured several samples of his designs in a catalog that features his work and that of Mary Merkel-Hess. View them at: http://www.browngrotta.com/Pages/c15.php.

Emerging from Chaos by Kari Lønning. Photo by Tom Grotta

Best known for her double-walled constructions and a complex-weaving process she refers to as her “hairy technique,” Kari Lønning works extensively with graphic patterns, using both bold and subtle color schemes. Lønning’s work is also featured in a browngrotta arts’ exhibition catalog, Mary Giles/Kari Lønning, which can be viewed at http://www.browngrotta.com/Pages/c11.php.

Age Basket No.4 by John Garrett, recycled metals. Photo by Tom Grotta

A weaver and teacher of experimental basketry, John Garrett’s weaving materials consist of aluminum, steel, brass, or cooper in slat or wire form. Many of his creative pieces are included in the permanent collections of museums nationwide. View samples of his weaving in our catalog, Dorothy Gill Barnes and John Garrett: http://www.browngrotta.com/Pages/c14.php.

Being Here by Laura Foster Nicholson. Photo by Tom Grotta

Laura Foster Nicholson is a textile artist known for her powerful hand-woven tapestries that feature whimsical, engaging imagery. Her artwork is featured in several museum collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago, The Minneapolis Institute of Art, and the Denver Art Museum, among others. Nicholson was included in the 10th Wave II: New Textile and Fiber Wall Art: http://www.browngrotta.com/Pages/c18.php.

Ist All History by Eva Vargo. Photo by Tom Grotta

Eva Vargö fuses paper and linen-thread materials into her weaving techniques to employ paper craft artwork. Many of her pieces are inspired by her own life experiences and also by integrating the various materials she discovers on her travels across the world. Vargö is from Sweden, but has lived in Korea as well as Japan. Vargo was included in the Retro/Prospective: 25+ Years of Art Textiles and Sculpture: http://www.browngrotta.com/Pages/c25.php

White Sound by Carol Shaw-Sutton. Photo by Tom Grotta

A participant in browngrotta arts’ 25 for the 25th: Glancing Back, Gazing Ahead http://www.browngrotta.com/Pages/c25.php, Carol Shaw-Sutton creates sculptural forms of fiber. Her artwork often consists of personal narrative objects and installations that utilize both ancient and modern textile. Her new work focuses on our inter relationship to each other, which is reflected in images of the human form as organic flowing substance.

Still Crazy After All These Years…30 years in art runs from
April 22nd to 30th at browngrotta arts, 276 Ridgefield, Connecticut. For more information, visit: http://www.browngrotta.com/Pages/calendar.php.


Art Assembled: Featured in March

Three sculptures and a assemblage of paper made up the offerings for New The Week at browngrotta arts in March.

89ks Looped vintage zipper tape and thread, approx. 7” x 35.5” x 16”, 2013 Photo by Tom Grotta

Karyl Sisson’s Looped, is a sinuous sculpture made of vintage zippers and tape. Sisson is preoccupied with useful objects from the past — sewing notions, women’s vanity items, paper drinking straws. In her art, they are given a post-functional future as forms and structures that suggest living organisms, indigenous architecture or ceramic vessels. Like Sisson,

20kn Interlacing Blue, Keiji Nio , nylon , 7.5” x 13” x 11”, 2013. Photo by Tom Grotta

for Interlacing Blue, Keiji Nio also used fiber tape, in his case nylon tape, to create a more formal geometric forms.

8rw Collider
Randy Walker
steel, nylon
29.75” x 31.5” x 12”, 2015.Photo by Tom Grotta

Randy Walker incorporates found objects into his work, re-envisoning them and giving them a new life as art, as here in Collider. In Emerging,

27ht Emerging, Hideho Tanaka, japanese carbon ink drawing, inkjet print, collage (cotton cloth which put a japanese tissue paper.), 17.125″ x 22.25″, 2013 Photo by Tom Grotta

Hideho Tanaka’s interest in creative forms peculiar to fiber materials, which emerge in time and space and yet which also metamorphose and disappear, is evident. In this work, he as combined Japanese carbon ink drawing, inkjet print, cotton cloth and Japanese tissue paper. All four of these artists will be among those featured in Still Crazy After All These Years…30 years in art, which opens at browngrotta arts on April 22nd. For a complete artist’s list visit http://www.browngrotta.com/Pages/calendar.php.


Art Assembled: Featured in January

We had four New This Week selections in January, including evocative sculptures of black willow and recycled aluminum plate and two works that offer commentary on current events.

Christine Joy January New this Week

40cj Smoke Ring, Christine Joy
willow with black encaustic, 23″ x 22″ x 12″, 2014

Christine Joy sources, harvests and then transforms willow into dramatic sculpture. Smoke Ring represents a new direction for Joy, she says, “more looseness and movement on the edge, visually, of coming apart, more exploration of added color to give unity and emotional depth.”

Merja Winqvist January New this Week

11mw Water Lily, Merja Winqvist
recycled aluminum plate, 26” x 25.75” x 1.75”, 2016

Merja Winquist of Finland has created a stylized and shimmering Water Lily of recycled aluminum.

Ceca Georgieva January New this Week

14cg The Iron Curtain, Ceca Georgieva
burrdock burrs, 19” x 16” x 5” 2016

In Iron Curtain, a sculpture of burdock burrs, by Ceca Georgieva of Bulgaria, a figure seeks escape from a web of red threads. The work is about Georgieva’s generation, who remained n Eastern Europe after World War II on the Red side―the Communist side―of the Iron Curtain. “As children,” she says, “we proudly wore the red scarf of a Young Pioneer, and we believed whatever we were told to believe. Our future was programmed and seemed to be clear and beautiful. When cracks began to appear in the Iron Curtain and news from the West slowly filtered into the country, we learned about beat poetry, rock ‘n’ roll, blue jeans and Coca-Cola. We started to feel the lack of freedom and the desire to go out and to live without fear of restriction and deprivation. Then the wall fell down. Now, 25 years later, we are still in front of the half-open curtain, making efforts to get rid of the red iron threads.”

Norma Minkowitz January New this Week

66nm Are We The Same?, Norma Minkowitz, mixed media, 12” x 28” x 26.375”, 2016

Are We the Same? by Norma Minkowitz, also addresses societal change, in this case, assimilation. “My thought was about our society and how, as time goes on, we intermingle and intermarry, ” says the artist, “and at the end we are a combination of many different genes and DNA and perhaps are eventually blended in some way.” Enjoy our selections.