Category: Ceramics

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 Out and About: Exhibits Across the US, Western Edition

If you are traveling in the next few months, there are interesting exhibitions on each coast and in states in between for you to attend. Here are offerings in the Western part of the US. We’ll add exhibitions in the East next week. First, at the Denver Art Museum in Colorado, there are three exhibitions of note:

Yasuhisa Kohyama ceramic

Ceramic 42, Yasuhisa Kohyama

From the Fire Contemporary Japanese Ceramics from the Robert and Lisa Kessler Collection (through October 1, 2017);

Tapas Bark Cloth art by Katherine Westphal

Top Dog, a contemporary work on bark, or tapas cloth by Katherine Westphal

Printed and Painted The Art of Bark Cloth (through August 27, 2017); and Shock Wave: Japanese Fashion Design, 1980s–90s (through May 28, 2017). From the Fire includes work by Yasuhisa Kohyama, among other ceramicists. Tianlong Jiao, the Joseph de Heer Curator of Asian Art at the Museum traveled to Japan to visit these artists in advance of the exhibition. You can read about his trip here: http://denverartmuseum.org/article/fire-curator-writes-about-his-trip-shigaraki-japan.

Mary Giles Basket

Men’s Ritual, Mary Giles

Lia Cook exhibit installation

Cerebral Touch: Lia Cook 1980-Now. Photo by Nancy Bavor

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, at 108 Contemporary, you’ll find Living With Art: the Newman Collection (through March 19th). In the exhibition, art objects from Rita and Don Newman’s eclectic collection, including works by Ed Rossbach and Mary Giles, are displayed alongside pieces of furniture owned by the couple. Further West, the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles in California has turned itself over exclusively to weaving for the Spring, with four separate exhibitions. They include: American Tapestry Biennial (through April 16, 2017); Line DuFour: Fate Destiny and Self Determination (through April 16, 2017); Elemental Tapestry: Earth, Air Fire and Water — Tapestry Weavers West (through March 5, 2017); Embedded Patter: Three Approaches, Deborah Corsini, Alex Friedman, Michael Rohde (through April 17, 2017); and Cerebral Touch: Lia Cook 1980-Now (through April 16, 2017). Cerebral Touch traces Cook’s artistic journey from her abstract and dimensional pieces of the 1980s; weaving inspired by Old Masters drapery from her work during the 1990s; exploration of portraiture; and finally, work completed just weeks before this exhibition opened that explore the sensuality of the woven image and the emotional connections to memories of touch and cloth.


Last Chance: TWO WAYS-STUDIOS

Mariette Rousseau-Vermette
and Claude Vermette:
Creators of Modern Québec
through October 12th
Contemporary Museum of Art,
Baie-Saint-Paul, Québec, Canada

Mariette Rousseau-Vermette & Claude Vermette. Portraits by Tom grotta

Mariette Rousseau-Vermette & Claude Vermette. Portraits by Tom Grotta

Two-Way Studios – Mariette Rousseau-Vermette and Claude Vermette: Creators of Modern Québec, at the Contemporary Museum of Art at Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec, invites visitors to wander through more than five decades of artistic creation The art of Mariette Rousseau-Vermette (1926-2006) and Claude Vermette (1930-2006) offers a view of a way of life that emerged in Québec in the late 1950s. Their works were sometimes monumental and could readily be integrated in the architectural context. They express, according to the Museum, a basic tenet of the “Quiet revolution” that aligns cultural production with social progress. Throughout the 60s, these couple merged modernist values and traditional craft, aiming to express a cultural identity that could be both ultra-contemporary and remain respectful of the past. The exhibition displays the production of these two artists in a series of “chapters” themes. Through a chronological approach, viewers are able to make comparisons. The exhibition reveals a common spirit, strong affinities, correspondences, and, of course, emotional and intellectual ties, set within a single historical and sociological context, crossing an important period of recent history.

Virtual Exhibition: You can take a video walkthrough of the exhibition and the artists’ separate, but adjacent studios, in Ste. Adele, Canada at: http://www.hdmedia360.ca/english/visite-virtuelle/hd/cbphgpWJl-mac-baie-saint-paul-rousseau-vermette.html. More images: See a review in Vie des Arts Magazine: http://www.viedesarts.com/article790-Precurseurs.

Vermette spent 30 years creating ceramics for architecture — bringing warmth and color to stark, cold constructions. He created new forms of clay composition, modules for tiles and bricks and new patented enamels. These innovations improved the sustainability of ceramics for the Canadian climate and its gruelling winters. His bricks and tiles earned him a First Prize in 1962 for industrial design. His large-scale ceramic compositions grace more than 100 public buildings, including pavilions and buildings connected to the Montreal World’s Fair in 1967, at Osaka in 1970, at the 1976 Summer Olympics held in Montreal. as well as in many schools, churches, courthouses, universities, more than a dozen Montreal subway stations and other buildings, including General Motors in New York City, MacMillan Bloedel in Vancouver and Bell Canada in Toronto. The last 30 years of his career, Vermette devoted to painting. His paintings have been collected and exhibited in Canada and abroad including a 910-foot wall of paintings at Bell Canada’s Trinity Square office in Toronto.

Born in 1926, in Trois-Pistoles, Québec, Mariette Rousseau married Claude Vermette in 1952. She received her training at both the École des beaux-arts du Québec (1944-1948) and at the Oakland College of Arts and Crafts, in California (1948-1949). She and Vermette travelled extensively to Europe and Asia, allowing Rousseau-Vermette to broaden and deepen her understanding of different tapestry techniques. She was honored several times in Québec and abroad, winning numerous awards throughout her career. She has exhibited in Canada, the United States, in several European countries — including at several Lausanne Biennials of International Tapestry — and in Japan. Her tapestries are held in many major public and private collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York, the Chicago Art Institute, the Museum of Modern Art, in Kyoto, the National Gallery of Canada, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec and the Contemporary Art Museum of Montréal. She was a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and an Officer of the Order of Canada. Her storied career was the subject of an article by Anne Newlands, in the Journal of Canadian Art History,“Mariette Rousseau-Vermette: Journey of a Painter-Weaver from the 1940s through the 1960s” (2011). You can watch a video (in French) about a careful restoration and installation of a large Rousseau-Vermette tapestry at Simon’s department store in Montreal at: SIMONS: Des
The Contemporary Museum of Art at Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec is at 3, rue Ambroise-Fafard, Baie-Saint-Paul, G3Z 2J2. Telephone: (418)435-3681. Fax: (418)435-6269. For more information, visit: http://www.macbsp.com/exhib_tocome.aspx.


In Honor of Asia Week: Nine Japanese Artists

Asia Week New York 2013, March 15th to March 23rd is a nine-day celebration of Asian art throughout metropolitan New York, with exhibitions, auctions and special events presented by 43 leading international Asian art specialists, five major auction houses, and 17 museums and cultural institutions; http://www.asiaweekny.com. Not going to be in New York this month? Not to worry, over the next few days, we’ll bring some striking examples of Asian art, more than two dozen works, in fact, to a desktop, laptop, tablet or phone near you. Here’s the first of four installments, featuring nine artists from Japan.

3D INTERSECTION II by Norie Hatekayama, photo by Tom Grotta

3D INTERSECTION II by Norie Hatekayama, photo by Tom Grotta

Norie Hatekayama (Japan)

Figure-Odd by Kazue Honma, photo by Tom Grotta

Figure-Odd by Kazue Honma, photo by Tom Grotta

Kazue Honma (Japan)

Groundwater by Mutsumi Iwasaki, photo by Tom Grotta

Groundwater by Mutsumi Iwasaki, photo by Tom Grotta

Mutsumi Iwasaki (Japan)

Aric Grid Hanging with Tank Twelve by Kiyomi Iwata, photo by Tom Grotta

Aric Grid Hanging with Tank Twelve by Kiyomi Iwata, photo by Tom Grotta

Kiyomi Iwata (Japan.United States)

Grove by Tamiko Kawata, photo by Tom Grotta

Grove by Tamiko Kawata, photo by Tom Grotta

Tamiko Kawata (Japan/United States)

Space Ship 2000 by Masakazu Kbayashi, photo by Tom Grotta

Space Ship 2000 by Masakazu Kbayashi, photo by Tom Grotta

Masakazu Kobayashi (Japan)

Untitled by Naomi Kobayashi, photo by Tom Grotta

Untitled by Naomi Kobayashi, photo by Tom Grotta

Naomi Kobayashi (Japan)

SAI by Yasuhisa Kohyama, photo by Tom Grotta

SAI by Yasuhisa Kohyama, photo by Tom Grotta

Yasuhisa Kohyama (Japan)

A Begining by Kyoko Kumai, photo by Tom Grotta

A Begining by Kyoko Kumai, photo by Tom Grotta

Kyoko Kumai (Japan)


Good Reads: Textiles, Tapestry and Ceramics

We’ve received three comprehensive and attractive books in the last few months, Textiles: The Whole Story, Uses, Meaning, SignificanceTapestry: A Woven Narrativeand Yasuhisa Kohyama: The Art of Ceramics, and we have enjoyed them all. (We know they are attractive and comprehensive, because they include artists whose work we represent and, in some cases, photographs by Tom.) 

Beverly Gordon, author of Textiles: The Whole Story, Uses, Meaning, Significance from Thames & Hudson, has an ambitious aim. “My intention” she writes, “is to shine new light on the light on the taken-for-granted but fascinating subject of the roles and meanings that textiles hold in cultures throughout the world. I hope to make it undeniably evident that to be human is to be involved with cloth.” To do that, she takes readers on a dizzying trip across centuries and continents and beyond, from the linen strips that cover a mummy in Egypt circa 150-175 CE. to the fluropolymers protecting an astronaut as he walks in space in this century, with stops at Betsy Ross in colonial America, Mohandas Gandhi in colonial India, women glass spinners in Murano, Italy in 1905 and the Renaissance, where women worked on textiles in groups, along the way. In sections covering textiles and human consciousness, human survival, social meaning, money, status and control, meaning and beauty and the spiritual significance of cloth, Gordon provides insights and information for anyone with an interest in textiles and all they entail.
Tapestry: A Woven Narrative also takes the long view, providing a general introduction to the state of artisan tapestry weaving in the 21st century by way of contextual essays outlining developments from the Middle Ages to the modern age. In addition to the essays,  the book also includes illustrated profiles of contemporary weavers, including Jo Barker, Sara Brennan and Sue Lawty — along with studio profiles of Dovecot and others. Tapestry: A Woven Narrative is available from browngrotta arts.

Also available from browngrotta arts is Yasuhisa Kohyama: The Art of Ceramics, which contains lush photos of dozens of Kohyama’s works as well as a foreword by Jack Lenor Larsen and essays by Susan Jefferies and others. What is important about Kohyama’s work, writes Jeffries, “is his embrace of contemporary life, and his bold and poetic use of line, mass  and form; he is fully aware of the sculptural possibilities available to him. A love of nature and a life-long interest in sculpture and architecture have also inspired his work.”