The cover story of the Spring Issue, No. 34 of Venü, the magazine of Contemporary Culture features browngrotta arts and our upcoming exhibition, Still Crazy After All These Years…30 years in art.
Author Cindy Clarke writes in Living Art, Timelessly Reimagined, that “Rhonda and Tom have a practiced eye for discovering museum-quality textural art and its accomplished creators. Over the last 30 years they have turned their finds into a premier art enterprise that’s in a class by itself…. Custom designed by the owners, the gallery itself is a dialog of opposites, blending elements of a historic two-story horse barn – think exposed beams, meticulously restored barndoors, original wide-plank wood flooring, vaulted ceilings – with grand, modernist spaces….
That’s the goal of this living gallery, of course, to show guests how different kinds of dimensional art fits into an environment and to give them permission and the encouragement to think out of the box to accommodate its human occupants.” Visit Still Crazy After All These Years at browngrotta arts. We will only be open for 10 days — April 22nd through April 30th; browngrotta arts, 276 Ridgefield Road, Wilton, CT 06897; http://www.browngrotta.com/Pages/calendar.php.
The cover story of the Spring Issue, No. 34 of Venü, the magazine of Contemporary Culture features browngrotta arts and our upcoming exhibition, Still Crazy After All These Years…30 years in art.
February was a short month, but we still featured a full complement of art in New This Week on our homepage, including two tapestries, a series of small sculptures on the wall and a feathery fabric and wood mixed media work. Gudrun Pagter’s abstract tapestry, Architecture in Motion, is made of flax and sisal. “Through simple graphic effects—continuous white contour lines on a black background,” the artist says, “I try to unfold disciplined geometrical forms with strong references to architectonic space.”
Mille Fleur by Ane Henriksen was influenced by the millefleurs tradition and embroidery samplers. Millefleurs is a category of French and Flemish tapestries created at the edge of the Northern Renaissance. In the late 15th and 16th centuries large workshops were weaving tapestries with a limited number of figures or animals against a background of thousands of flowers. Samplers, were used to each embroidery to young girls from high society, later as part of school handicraft classes. The motifs, often with various kinds of borders, are letters and alphabets, often dated and bearing a girl’s name or initials and those of her ancestors, as well as embroidered patterns and religious and secular symbols copied from printed pattern books. In making Mille Fleur, the artist says, “it was almost as if I was a young girl,.. I used symbols and good omens in hope of a bright future, underlined as a naïve dream by using tints of pastel pink. A large part of the sensibility lies in the material used, a thick weft made of worn out bed linen from which small buttons, ribbons and other reminiscences peep out and are revealed.” There are also numerous elements in
Debra Sachs’ sculpture, Night Storm, which is made of laminated and carved poplar. A few years ago, like Humpty Dumpty, the artist had a serious accident. Slowly, she regained stamina and ability. “I began working in fits and starts,” she said, “flailing to and fro. Finally, there was a breakthrough moment. I had stockpiled fragments from larger works made five years prior. These were small chunks of laminated wood too interesting to toss. They were always there but now were staring at me in my basement shop. I started playing with them like a kid with a box of blocks. I carved and painted them and put them on shelves.”
There are two elements in Gizella Warburton’s Creel IV, a basket of fiber and mixed media accompanied by a piece of stitched wood. ” The materiality of cloth, paper, thread, wood and paint connects me to an innate human urge to make marks,” says Warburton.
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 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 Winquist of Finland has created a stylized and shimmering Water Lily of recycled aluminum.
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.”
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.
Pantone has revealed that “greenery” will be the Color of the Year for 2017. Pantone describes “greenery” as “a refreshing and revitalizing shade” that is “symbolic of new beginnings.”
With new beginnings in mind, here, in honor of January — are some green-themed artworks for you to view. Baskets, tapestries and mixed media sculpture–green can inspire works of all sorts, made of materials from glass beads to copper wire to Japanese paper.
Opens September 16th in Greenwich, Connecticut
From September 16th to November 4, 2016, the Bendheim Gallery of the Greenwich Arts Council in Greenwich, Connecticut will present Contemporary Art Influenced by Korea and Japan: An Unexpected Approach, curated by browngrotta arts. The exhibition includes select works of ceramics, textiles, baskets and sculptures by artists from Japan, Korea and the United States that each reflect an Asian sensibility.
Varied materials and techniques
The 23 artists in this exhibit have a close relationship to a traditional craft aesthetic, manifested in a contemporary manner. They have chosen conventionally Asian materials and/or techniques (dyes, papers, gold leaf, persimmon tannin, kategami) used in both time-honored and unconventional ways. Examples include studies by Hiroyuki Shindo of the vanishing art of natural indigo dyeing and by Jun Tomita on ikat dyeing. Jennifer Linssen’s innovative sculptures of katagami and Keiji Nio’s Interlacing-R, which references complex Japanese sumihimo braiding reimagine conventional techniques. Masakazu and Naomi Kobayashi, Naoko Serino and Kyoko Kumai also create new relationships among disparate material and techniques.
In other works, like Kiyomi Iwata’s Auric Gold Fold, Glen Kaufman’s Shimogamo Scrolls: Studio View II and Jin-Sook So, Pojagi Constructions I and II, gold and silver leaf play a role, their luster and longevity suggesting immortality, power, divinity. The artists share a concern for surface and material interaction, evident in Chiyoko Tanaka’s Grinded Fabric-Three Squares Blue Threads and Blue #689, of linen distressed with earth and stones, Hideho Tanaka’s Vanishing and Emerging series of stainless steel and singed paper and Mariyo Yagi’s twisted rope sculpture, A cycle-Infinity. The artists in Contemporary Art Influenced by Korea and Japan: An Unexpected Approach create work that is formal and contained while visibly involving the hand of the artist. This exhibition is a collaboration between the Greenwich Arts Council and browngrotta Arts.
The complete list of artists participating in this exhibition is:
Nancy Moore Bess (United States); Pat Campbell (United States); Kiyomi Iwata (Japan); Glen Kaufman (United States); Masakazu Kobayashi (Japan); Naomi Kobayashi (Japan); Yasuhisa Kohyama (Japan); Kyoko Kumai (Japan); Jennifer Falck Linssen (United States); Keiji Nio (Japan); Toshio Sekiji (Japan); Hisako Sekijima (Japan); Naoko Serino (Japan); Hiroyuki Shindo (Japan); Jin-Sook So (Korea/Sweden); Norkiko Takamiya (Japan); Chiyoko Tanaka (Japan); Hideho Tanaka (Japan); Takaaki Tanaka (Japan); Jun Tomita (Japan); Mariyo Yagi (Japan); Chang Yeonsoon (Korea); Jiro Yonezawa (Japan); Shin Young-ok (Korea).
The Bendheim Gallery is located at 299 Greenwich Avenue, Greenwich, Connecticut; 203.862.6750; firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s a Spring chock full of interesting exhibitions in the US and abroad. You’ve have just a few days remaining to see Beyond the Trees: Dona Look and Dorothy Gill Barnes http://centerfor
trees/ at the Center for Wood Art in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Two browngrotta artist are featured in this exhibition, which closes April 23rd.
Their work can also be seen through June 26th at the Morris Museum in Morristown, New Jersey in Green From the Get Go: Contemporary International Basketmakers, curated by browngrotta arts. In New York, New York, the Experiments in Art & Digital Technologies includes innovative bga artist Lia Cook, http://www.liacook.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/EADT-Press.pdf who will lecture in New York on May 5th https://creativetechweek2016.sched.org/event/6DN5/weaving-and-digital-innovation.
Work by Lia Cook is also front and center in a San Francisco, California exhibition, Lines that Tie: Carol Beadle and Lia Cook http://sfmcd.org/press-release-lines-that-tie/ the exhibition is curated by bga artist, Deborah Valoma. Cook will lecture there tomorrow, April 21st. Identify Yourself, in Honolulu, Hawaii http://honolulumuseum
15320-identify_yourself/, which closes this week, on April 24th, also features work by Lia Cook. Two events in Wilton, Connecticut to attend. Hickory, Ash and Reed: Traditional Baskets, Contemporary Makersat the Wilton Historical Society, http://www.wiltonhistorical.
org/exhibitions.html, Includes several baskets by the late Marian Hildebrandt, whose work is represented by browngrotta arts and whose work is also currently on exhibit in Green from the Get: International Contemporary Basketmakers at the Morris Museum.
Artboom: Celebrating Artists Mide-Century, Mid-Career is open at browngrotta arts for just 10 days, from April 30th-May 8th http://arttextstyle.com/
In the halls of the Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts in Lausanne, Switzerland, Nomadic tapestries, an exhibition of some of the extensive contemporary collection of the Toms Pauli Foundation, traces in the evolution of textile art from the 1960s to 2000s,
-toms-pauli-collection-xxe-siecle/. browngrotta arts has work available by twelve of the artists included in this very significant international survey of art textiles — Magadalena Abakanowicz, Lia Cook, Sheila Hicks, Jan Hladik, Ritzi Jacobi, Naomi Kobayashi, Maria Laszkiewicz, Jolanta Owidzka, Mariette Rousseau-Vermette, Wojciech Sadley, Sherri Smith and Hideho Tanaka. The exhibition will be on view through May 29th. In Tilburg, the Netherlands the Textile Museum is hosting a major retrospective of American artist and textile pioneer Sheila Hicks, born 1934 http://www.textielmuseum.nl/nl/tentoonstelling/sheila-hicks. Internationally renowned, thanks to her participation in numerous large solo and group exhibitions, this is her first appearance in the Netherlands for many years. The exhibition extends through June 5, 2016.
We are excited to announce that our 44th catalog, Green from the Get Go: International Contemporary Basketmakers, is now available at browngrotta.com. The catalog, photographed by Tom Grotta, contains 132 full-color photos of artwork from browngrotta arts’ current installation, Green from the Get Go: International Contemporary Basketmakers, on exhibit at the Morris Museum, in Morristown, New Jersey through June 26th. Green from the Get Go showcases more than 75 works by 33 artists from Canada, Europe, Japan, Scandinavia and the US — innovators in the genre of 20th-century art basketry as well as emerging talents. These artists take their inspiration from nature and the history of basketry but their inventive works challenge our conceptions of what a “basket” can be. In Naoko Serino’s Generating 12.2, for example, cylinders of spun jute, of varying degrees of transparency, stand in rhythmic, ethereal balance. The artist hopes that “an expression and dialogue will be produced, that the space would be created/generated in which there is a comfortable energy, expressions that will continue to exist in balance with the surroundings.” In Stéphanie Jacques’s Wall / Mur, we get not one basket, but a honeycomb — nearly a dozen basket spheres made of willow. Jane Balsgard’s Barkbaden boat shape is more literal — a willow frame covered in handmade paper — but the result is unexpected.
The artists in Green from the Get Go, “have a strong connection to the land, whether cultivated fields or wild prairies, marches, or forests,” writes Jane Milosch in her essay, The Entanglement of Nature and Man. “Several cultivate, harvest, and prepare the materials from which they construct their work. They have a respectful awareness of the origin of things, and of the interconnected aspects of nature and ecosystems, which are both fragile and resilient.” In 2011, Milosch, Director, Provenance Research Initiative, Smithsonian Institution and former curator, Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian Museum of American Art, approached browngrotta arts about mounting an exhibition featuring artists working in basket forms. Discussions quickly coalesced around designing an exhibition that would highlight these artists’ processes and techniques and shed light on their intimate connection to nature. Green from the Get Go: International Contemporary Basketmakers, the exhibition and catalog, featuring dozens of baskets, vessels and related objects of natural materials — bark, twigs, willow, cedar and bamboo, was the result.
The work in Green from the Get Go reveals a heightened sensitivity to the physicality of materials, one that honors the stewardship of nature by the artists’ choice and use of materials. That practice is under challenge, however. For Dona Look, collecting and preparation of the birch bark for her work is weather dependent and labor intensive. That process has grown more difficult as white birch trees, once prevalent in northern Wisconsin, have become harder to find due to climate change. Christine Joy has begun collecting a great amount of red mountain maple, as her neighbors in Montana remove it to protect their homes from forest fires. Mountain maple in it’s first year of growth is a beautiful burgundy and not too branchy, she says, but she did not use it until it was seen as a fire hazard. “The environmental factor of fire affected my material choices,” says the artist.
“These baskets feel complete, and at the same moment they invite human interaction and interpretation,” writes Milosch. Explore them in the catalog (www.browngrotta.com/Pages/c40.php.) and at the Morris Museum in Morristown, New Jersey from now until June 26th; www.morrismuseum.org/current-exhibitions/.
For the next three months March 19th- June 26th 2016, the Morris Museum, in Morristown, New Jersey, will host Green from the Get Go: Contemporary International Basketmakers, an extensive survey exhibition of works made with natural materials — from apple, bamboo, pine, sea grass and willow to crow feathers, birch bark, bayberry thorns, kibiso and zelikova. Curated by Jane Milosh, Office of the Under Secretary for History, Art and Culture, the Smithsonian and Tom Grotta and Rhonda Brown, co-curators at browngrotta arts in Wilton, Connecticut, the exhibition debuted at the Wayne Art Center in Pennsylvania in December 2011 and was featured at the Eleanor and Edsel Ford House, in Grosse Pointe, Michigan in 2013. The exhibition has grown larger for its Morris Museum launch; 33 artists from eight countries, and 78 varied works are included. Some of these are closely linked to traditional basket forms, while other are monumental or hang on the wall, their forms
breaking away from the traditional vessel or container form in tantalizing ways. “This is the largest exhibition of baskets and sculptural fiber that we have ever been involved with,” says Tom Grotta. Artists well known in the field are featured, including Ed Rossbach, John McQueen, Dorothy Gill Barnes and Gyöngy Laky as well as talented, but lesser-known creators like Laura Ellen Bacon of the UK and Stéphanie Jacques of Belgium. The wide range of shapes, the multitude of techniques and the unexpected materials employed lead viewers to speculate about Nature as an inspiration for art and much more. The baskets Green from the Get Go, writes Milosch in the exhibition catalog, “feel complete and at the same moment they invite human interaction and interpretation. In fact,
paradox is at the root of these compelling works, which are both earthy and spiritual; serene and energetic; systematic and random; simple and complex; supple and rigid; fragile and sturdy; see-through and opaque; textured and smooth; specific and universal; social and standalone; with intricate patterns and simple silhouettes.” The Opening Reception will take place on March 31st from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Tom Grotta will speak about the works in the show at Tea and Treasures on June 15th. The Morris Museum is located at: 6 Normandy Heights Road, Morristown, NJ 07960, accessible from New York City via www.njtransit.com. For more information: (973) 971-3700; email@example.com or browngrotta.com.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:firstname.lastname@example.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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