Category: Basketry

Art Assembled: Featured in April


April has been a busy month for us at bwongrotta arts. We’ve been celebrating our 30th Anniversary for the past 10 days so one of our new this week items was a short video about our 30th Anniversary exhibition, Still Crazy After All These Years…30 years in art.

outdoor bronze sculpture featured new this week April

21dm Timeless Figure, Dawn MacNutt, bronze, 51″, x 21″, 2004. Photo by Tom Grotta

We added outdoor sculpture for this exhibition and highlighted Dawn MacNutt’s bronze work, Timeless Figure, which began as a willow sculpture before it was cast in bronze.

boat wall reliefs featured new this week April

34b Small Reliefs, Jane Balsgaard, willow, cotton rope, fishing line, handmade plant paper, plastic wire ties, 36” x 80”, 2015-16. Photo by Tom Grotta

Jane Balsgaard’s small reliefs of willow, cotton rope, fishing line, handmade plant paper and plastic wire ties also featured this month. Balsgaard’s airy “boats” of plant paper will be featured in Plunge: Explorations Above and Below at the New Bedford Art Museum, Massachusetts, that opens Memorial Day weekend, official opening June 2nd: http://newbedfordart.org/upcoming-exhibitions/. We’ve partnered with NBAM to mount Plunge; 13 of browngrotta arts’ artists will be included. We’ll be preparing a catalog for the exhibition which is open through October 8, 2017. This month we also drew attention to

horsehair wall relief featured new this week April

25mb Untitled, Marian Bijlenga, horsehair, cotton, viscose, 15” x 15”, 2012. photo by Tom Grotta

Marian Bijlenga’s untitled work of horsehair, cotton and viscose. Bijlenga is one of the artists in Still Crazy as is Gyöngy Laky. Her is her work, Lefty Loosey, Righty Tighty a digital print combined with bullets for building.


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.


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.


browngrotta arts gets good press: Venü Magazine’s Spring Issue

Venü Magazine CoverThe 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.

Venu cover article


Art Assembled, Featured in February

Large architectural tapestry

Architecture in motion by Gudrun Pagter

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.”

Large colorful tapestry

Mille Fleur by Ane Henriksen

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

wood wall sculptures

Night Storm by Debra Sachs

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.”

thread basket

Creel iv by Gizelle Warburton

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.


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.


Greenery On My Mind; Pantone Color of the Year

Pantone Color of the Year Greenery

Pantone Color of the Year Greenery

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.

Gyöngy Laky

Gyöngy Laky, Proceeding
Photo: M. Lee Fatherree

Rachel Max

Rachel Max, After Haeckel II
Photo by Tom Grotta

Lawrence LaBianca

Lawrence LaBianca, My Fathers Dream
Photo by Tom Grotta

Ed Rossbach

Ed Rossbach, Green with Four Ears
Photo by Tom Grotta

Scott Rothstein

Scott Rothstein, #62
Photo by Tom Grotta

Nancy Koenigsberg

Nancy Koenigsberg, Aurora
Photo by Tom Grotta

Adela Akers

Adela Akers, Five Windows
Photo by Tom Grotta

Debra Sachs

Debra Sachs, Green Armadillo Basket
Photo by Debra Sachs

Deborah Valoma

Deborah Valoma, The Surge
Photo by Tom Grotta

Jeannine Anderson

Jeannine Anderson, Untitled
Photo by tom Grotta

Axel Russmeyer

Axel Russmeyer, Untitled
Photo by Tom Grotta

Noriko Takamiya

Noriko Takamiya, #36 Revolving
Photo by Tom Grotta


Contemporary Art Influenced by Korea and Japan: An Unexpected Approach

Opens September 16th in Greenwich, Connecticut

Mary Yagi Outdoor Sculptor Art from Japan

Mariyo Yagi preparing her outdoor sculpture “A cycle- Infinity” for the upcoming exhibit in the US. Photo by Yuna Yagi

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.

Textiles and Ceramic Art from Korea and Japan

Weaving by Chiyoko Tanaka, Ceramic by Yasuhisa Kohyama. Photo by Tom Grotta

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.

Kiyomi Iwata Gold Mesh Sculpture

Auric Grid Fold, Kiyomi Iwata, aluminum mesh, french embroidery knots, gold leaf, silk organza, 19″ x 18″ x 10″, 2013. Photo by Tom Grotta

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; info@greenwicharts.org.


Art Update: April Openings and Closings Here and Abroad

Beyond the Trees: Dona Look and Dorothy Gill Barnes. Photo courtesy of the Wood Turning Center

Beyond the Trees: Dona Look and Dorothy Gill Barnes. Photo courtesy of the Wood Turning Center

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
artinwood.org/
exhibition/dorothy-
gill-barnes-dona-
look-beyond-the-
trees/ at the Center for Wood Art in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Two browngrotta artist are featured in this exhibition, which closes April 23rd.

photo by Tom Grotta, Green From the Get Go, Morris Museum

Photo by Tom Grotta, Green From the Get Go, Morris Museum

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.

12 of 32 Lia Cook Su Series Tapestries

12 of 32 Lia Cook Su Series Tapestries

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
.org/art/exhibitions/
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.

Detail of Nordic Gold by Birgit Birkkjaer. Photo by Tom Grotta

Detail of Nordic Gold by Birgit Birkkjaer. Photo by Tom Grotta

Artboom: Celebrating Artists Mide-Century, Mid-Career is open at browngrotta arts for just 10 days, from April 30th-May 8th http://arttextstyle.com/
2016/04/19/art-barn-
2016-artboom-
celebrating-artists-
mid-century-mid-
career-wilton-ct-
april-30th-may-8th/
.

MER LUMINEUSE and J'AI MA LA MER S'ILLUMINER by Mariette Rousseau-Vermette. Photo by Tom Grotta

Mer Lumineuse and J’ai Ma La Mer S’illuminer
by Mariette Rousseau-Vermette. Photo by Tom Grotta

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,
http://www.musees.vd.ch/en/museem-beaux-arts/exhibition/past-exhibitions/tapisseries-nomades-fondation-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 HladikRitzi 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.