Category: Collage

SOFA Chicago Sneak Peek; Judy Mulford’s Empty Chairs Series

Judy Mulford 80 Empty Chairs Photo by Tom Grotta

Judy Mulford 80 Empty Chairs Photo by Tom Grotta

At SOFA Chicago this week, artist Judy Mulford will present her remarkable room-sized mixed media installation Empty Chairs. The installation features a central sculpture entitled “What now?” she said. “What now?…What now?…What now?…” surrounded by 80 individually rendered chairs in frames. The intimate and emotional sculpture chronicles domestic life. The dollhouse chairs, dolls, buttons and embellishments used in the work were collected by the artist from family members, flea markets, antique stores and friends. Mulford spent a year on the work, which marks her upcoming 80th birthday. She has also produced a limited-edition book, 80 Empty Chairs, as a part of this project.

Mulford’s sculptures have been exhibited at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, the Mint Museum of Craft + Design, Charlotte, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Renwick Gallery and The Textile Museum, Washington, D.C. and the 12th International Biennial of Tapestry in Hungary. Mulford’s work is informed by her studies of the basket-making culture of Micronesia, particularly on the islands of Truk and Ulithi. She was a member of the studio team for Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party in the 1970s.

Judy Mulford Portrait in her studio. Photo by Tom Grotta

Judy Mulford Portrait in her studio. Photo by Tom Grotta

Mulford will speak at her Special Exhibition booth, SE221, and sign copies of her book at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, November 4th. Mulford will also be at browngrotta arts, Booth 921 at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday the 6th and will be available for questions and conversation throughout SOFA.


art on paper preview: Helena Hernmarck collages

Helena Hernmarck Collages, from her stamp and Documents Series

Helena Hernmarck Collages, from her Stamp and Documents Series. photo by Tom Grotta

The art on paper fair opens next Wednesday at Pier 36 in New York City.  At browngrotta arts,  Booth 123, we’ll be featuring collages by Helena Hernmarck that meld ink watercolor wash, photocopy and rubber-stamp. Hernmarck creates the collages as studies for potential tapestries, for which she is known in the US and abroad, but like the tapestries, the delicately color-washed collages succeed on their own terms. Stamp

7hh Stamp Series 1, Helena Hernmarck, collage: photocopy; watercolor and rubber stamps on paper; white lacquered wood, 15.75" x 13.25”, 1984

7hh Stamp Series 1, Helena Hernmarck, collage: photocopy; watercolor and rubber stamps on paper; white lacquered wood, 15.75″ x 13.25”, 1984 Photo by Tom Grotta

Series 1, for example, was completed in 1985 as a tapestry  and is in the collection of the Connecticut Commission on the Arts. Certified Mail, was also woven in 1985. This work is in the permanent collection the Röhss Museum of Design and Decorative Arts, Gothenburg, Sweden. The hours of the exhibition are Friday, March 4th and  Saturday, March 5th, 11 – 7 p.m.; Sunday, March 6th, 12 – 6 p.m. There is a Preview, benefiting the Brooklyn Museum, Thursday, March 3rd, from 6 – 10 p.m. For ticket and other information visit: http://thepaperfair.com/ny/for-visitors/fair-dates-hours-location/.

13hh STAMP SERIES 3, Helena Hernmarck, collage: photocopy, watercolor and rubber stamps on paper, 15.75" x 13.25" x 1.5", white lacquered wood frame with den glass, 1984. Photo by Tom Grotta

13hh STAMP SERIES 3, Helena Hernmarck, collage: photocopy, watercolor and rubber stamps on paper, 15.75″ x 13.25″ x 1.5″, white lacquered wood frame with den glass, 1984. Photo by Tom Grotta


art on paper preview: Norma Minkowitz

60,61nm Patterns of Flight I, Norma Minkowitz, stitched, drawn, collage, pen and ink on paper, 20 x 14.75", each, 2015. Photo by Tom Grotta

60,61nm Patterns of Flight I, Norma Minkowitz, stitched, drawn, collage, pen and ink on paper, 20 x 14.75″, each, 2015. Photo by Tom Grotta

For the second year in a row, browngrotta arts will participate in the art on paper art fair at Pier 36 in New York City http://thepaperfair.com/ny will run from March 2nd through the 6th. Among the works we will have in our booth are Norma Minkowitz’s detailed, stitched drawings on paper,

Patterns of Flight 3, Norma Minkowitz, stich drawing, collage, 17”x 47”, 2016. Photo by Tom Grotta

Patterns of Flight 3, Norma Minkowitz, stitch drawing, collage, 17”x 47”, 2016. Photo by Tom Grotta

Patterns of Flight 1 and 2. Minkowitz was inspired by images of the velocimetry of bird flight from the University of Montana’s Flight Laboratory http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/04/science/04birds.html — an area of scientific and artistic study since at least Leonardo DaVinci. Minkowitz has re-envisioned the air velocity marks a flurry of stitches, with striking results.

Patterns of Flight 1, Norma Minkowitz, stitch drawing, collage, 25” x 30”, 2016. Photo by Tom Grotta

Patterns of Flight 1, Norma Minkowitz, stitch drawing, collage, 25” x 30”, 2016. Photo by Tom Grotta


Influence and Evolution Introduction: Gizella K Warburton

Gizella K Warburton Basket

Gizella K Warburton, Corpus Vessel IV, textile, mixed media, stitch, 5” x 14” x 14”, 2015. Photo by Tom Grotta

Gizella K Warburton is another of the artists whose work will be included in Influence and Evolution: Fiber Scuplture…Then and Now at browngrotta arts in Wilton, Connecticut from April 24th – May 3rd. Warburton creates unique objects — framed, hanging and sculptural artworks and installations, including works on slate and weathered wood grounds, printed and woven elements, and sculptural forms and vessels. She has a BA Hons (First Class), Printed, Woven & Constructed Textiles from Manchester School of Art and a Postgraduate Certificate in Arts Practice with the University of Derby. In addition to making exhibition work, Warburton has been commissioned to deliver numerous creative learning projects in partnership with Galleries and Museums and Heritage organizations. This includes roles as both practicing artist and Creative Agent with government- led initiatives such as Creative Partnerships. She has undertaken the “Artists Professional Development Programme: Developing Arts for Health” at Staffordshire University, which she credits with enriching her insight and understanding of the creative process, and its connections and impacts on human health and wellbeing.

Gizella Warburton Basket Detail

Gizella Warburton,
Corpus Vessel VI, textile, mixed media, stitch, 6” x 13.5” x 13.5”, 2015. Photo by Tom Grotta

Mark making is an intrinsic part of Gizella K Warburton’s practice: shadowed, scratched, stained, scarred, pierced, wrapped and stitched. The materiality of cloth, paper, thread, wood and paint connects her work to an innate human urge to make marks, to decipher the meaning of our physical and emotional landscapes, and the transient nature of the warp and weft of our lives. She describes the slow tactile intimacy of stitching as “a mantra.” Warburton has always found ancient and humble textiles and primitive vessel forms particularly compelling; the raw and worn simplicity of the weaving, stitching, binding and repairing bearing the patina of our human histories. She is drawn to materials that suggest a fragile balance; strength and legacy, yet with susceptibility to wear and tear, which she permeates with their own intrinsic tactile qualities. A

Gizella K Warburton Installation

Gizella K Warburton, Notes on Pale Board I-VI, textile, mixed media, stitch, weathered board, 19.5” x 81.5” x 2.25”, 2013
Ritual Form III, textile, mixed media, stitch, weathered slate, 9.25” x 11.5” x 11.5”, 2013. Photo by Tom Grotta

series of Warburton’s fabric vessels and mixed media textiles on weathered board will be featured in Influence and Evolution, which opens at 1pm on April 24th. The Artists Reception and Opening is on Saturday April 25th, 1pm to 6pm. The hours for Sunday April 27th through May 3rd are 10am to 5pm. To make an appointment earlier or later, call: 203-834-0623.


Art Event: browngrotta arts at art on paper in New York City, March 5 – 8, 2015

Karyl Sisson, Straw Skyline vintage paper drinking straws and polymer, 14.375” x 32.5” x 3”; 2013, Tom Grotta

Karyl Sisson, Straw Skyline
vintage paper drinking straws and polymer,
14.375” x 32.5” x 3”; 2013, Tom Grotta

For three days this March, browngrotta arts will present inventive works made of handmade, recycled and commercial paper by artists from North America, Europe and Asia at art on paper, Pier 36, 299 South Street, in New York City. Many artists cut, fold or print on paper. The international contemporary artists whose work browngrotta arts will exhibit at art on paper take a more immersive approach to the medium, treating it as material – stacking, molding, carving and weaving it, as others would wood, linen, clay or marble.

Mary Merkel-Hess Basket

Llano (Deep orange )
23″H x 25 x 15
Reed and paper, 2012, photo by Tom Grotta

Toshio Seikiji of Japan and Chris Drury of the UK, for example, use paper like fabric — weaving, stitching and etching on newspapers, maps and other paper to create arresting assemblages. Others of the artists featured by browngrotta arts recycle to create their works, including Kazue Honma who creates object of Japanese telephone books, Dona Anderson who creates vessels of dress pattern paper and Korean artist, Jin-Sook So who creates collages using old Korean texts. Karyl Sisson’s striking New York skyline is composed of re-purposed paper straws. Hisako Sekijima of Japan and Sylvia Seventy from the US, mold paper pulp – in Seventy’s case, to create paper bowls populated with found and other objects. Scandinavians, Jane Balsgaard of Denmark and Merja Winquist of Finland, create three-dimensional sculptures. In Balsgaard’s case, she makes the paper she uses from materials gathered near her summer home in Sweden. American Mary Merkel-Hess uses gampi paper, papier-maiche and reed to create sculptural baskets forms and bas relief wall works.

Old Paperwork Untitled, Jin-Sook So Korean schoolbook pages burnt, handmade wooden platter, gold leaf, silver leaf, painted acrylic color, 35.5” x 43.25” x .75”, 2014, Photo by tom grotta

Old Paperwork Untitled, Jin-Sook So
Korean schoolbook pages burnt, handmade wooden platter, gold leaf, silver leaf, painted acrylic color, 35.5” x 43.25” x .75”, 2014, Photo by tom grotta

Working alongside its Beneficiary Partner, The Brooklyn Museum, and its Presenting Partner, The Wall Street Journal, art on paper will focus on “the notion of what a work on paper can be”, says its director, Max Fishko. The fair, art on paper, is at Pier 36, 299 South Street, New York, New York. There is a preview on Thursday, March 5th from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and a VIP party that night from 8 to 10:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday the Fair opens at 11; Friday and Saturday it closes at 7 p.m.; Sunday at 6 p.m. For more information and to purchase tickets to the preview and party, visit: http://thepaperfair.com/about/art-on-paper/. For more information on browngrotta arts’ exhibition, call Tom Grotta at browngrotta arts: 203-834-0623 or visit browngrotta.com: http://browngrotta.com/Pages/calendar.php.

Sylvia Seventy Basket

18ss PUZZLES, Syllvia Seventy
molded recycled paper, wax, jigsaw puzzle pieces, waxed shaped paper pieces, wire, beads, thread, 3.25″ x 11″ x 9.75″, 2011, photo by tom grotta


Art/Text Events: Helena Hernmarck and Norma Minkowitz at Connecticut Libraries

Helena Hernmarck Portrait, photo by Tom Grotta

Helena Hernmarck Portrait, photo by Tom Grotta

This Sunday, January 25, 2015, award-winning artist Helena Hernmarck will speak at the Ridgefield Library, 472 Main Street, Ridgefield, CT 06877 from 2-3:30 p.m. A longtime resident of Ridgefield, Hernmarck was born in Sweden and educated at the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm. Hernmarck is known for her monumental tapestries, found in numerous corporate and museum collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Arts and Design, the Detroit Art Institute, Time-Warner, Kellogg, Pitney Bowes and Newsday, which are based on photographs, rephotographed collages and her own watercolors. “It is easy to affix the label photo-realism or trompe l’oeil to her work, but the medium itself, full of surprising surface effects, rejects such classifications,” according to Sigrid Wortmann Weltge, professor emeritus, history of art and design, Philadelphia University. “Hernmarck is thoroughly modern and asserts her rights as an artist by defying all rules. Ignoring that a weaving should be flat, for example, she superbly manipulates not only the textile but the viewer as well. Through the use of perspective and shading, her iconography appears dimensional while it is in effect flat. Yet the surface, as a result of deftly combined yarns of varying density, is dimensional. Hernmarck draws on various sources for her subject matter, nature as well as mundane objects. Though unideological, her imagery is, nevertheless, entirely in tune with contemporary life, immediately understood yet unexpected and mysterious.” (“Helena Hernmarck,” American Craft magazine, Sigrid Wortmann Weltge, Dec 1999/Jan 2000). SNOW DATE: Sunday, February 8, 2015 at 2p.m. The Library encourages registration as the talk is likely to fill up quickly. For more information: tel: 203.438.2282; http://www.eventkeeper.com/code/events.cfm?curOrg=RDGFLD#3838996.

Norma Minkowitz artist talk at Drawn to the Edge reception at the Westport Library. Photo by Tom Grotta

Norma Minkowitz artist talk at Drawn to the Edge reception at the Westport Library. Photo by Tom Grotta

Beginning this month, visitors to the library in Westport, Connecticut can view Drawn to the Edge, an exhibit of small sculptures and textured pen-and-ink drawings combined with collage and fiber by Westport resident, Norma Minkowitz, whose work is held in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) and Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Minkowitz has long used stiffened crochet to create airy, three-dimensional objects. In these, “[e]ach of the smallest elements — a crossing of threads, an individual knot, is essential to her realization of the final form, in a manner not unlike the complex assembling of individual cells to form a complete organism,” wrote David McFadden, former Chief Curator at the Museum of Arts & Design, New York of Minkowitz’s work. “This transformation is made possible only by cells held in genetically predetermined arrangements. By paying homage to the basic construction principles of the natural world, the artist achieves forms that appear to have been given the breath of life.” Minkowitz has been creating her intensely detailed pen-and-ink drawings for many years, but only recently begun to exhibit them. Like her sculptures, they are complex assemblages that include collage elements that the artist says, “interest, intrigue or scare me.” The artist spoke last week at the opening of Drawn to the Edge after being introduced by Chris Timmons, the Library exhibits coordinator, as a “treasure.” The cross-hatching in her drawings Minkowitz described as a link to stitching. She explains that she works spontaneously without a preplanned ending, letting the final work enfold on its own.

The Seekers collage/drawing by Norma Minkowitz. Photo by Tom Grotta

The Seekers collage/drawing by Norma Minkowitz. Photo by Tom Grotta

In The Seekers, for example, she had included cutouts of birds, but it was not until she came across an image of Picasso’s eyes, “so dark and piercing,” that “I knew how to finish the piece.” Minkowitz spoke some about the inspiration for her imagery, but added that she doesn’t wish to over explain her works. “I want them to be open to interpretation,” she says, “I like it when people see something else entirely.” Drawn to the Edge runs through March 25th in The Great Hall of the Westport Library, 20 Jesup Road, Westport, CT 06880 | 203.291.4800 | Hours: Mon-Thurs 9-9 , Fri 9-6 , Sat 9-5 , Sun 1-5; http://westportlibrary.org/services/art-exhibits.


Dispatch: American International Fine Art Fair, Palm Beach, February 3rd-8th

Tawney-Colles-at-AIFAF.jpg

Lenore Tawney collages, In Chaco and The Loftiest Word and sculpture, Boy with Duck, at AIFAF

From February 3rd to the 8th. browngrotta arts will join more than 80 international galleries exhibiting at the American International Fine Art Fair (AIFAF) in Palm Beach, Florida. AIFAF is recognized as the “crown jewel” of American art fairs and is the only American art and antiques fair rated 5 stars by The Art Newspaper. AIFAF is a fully vetted fair, featuring prestigious international dealers presenting a mix of paintings, sculpture, jewelry, antiques, contemporary design and decorative arts. In cooperation with the Baruch Foundation and the Lenore G. Tawney Foundation, browngrotta arts will feature the work of Magdalena Abakanowicz and Lenore Tawney at AIFAF, artists whose work redefined weaving and sculpture in the 20th Century.

Abakanowicz is the best-known Polish artist in the world. She initially gained acclaim for her “Abakans,” monumental woven works of sisal, ropes and other fibers that hung free in space. Next were headless human forms of burlap and later bronze. Large groupings of her sculptures are installed around the world, from Chicago’s Millennium Park to Olympic Park in Seoul to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. In presenting her a Visionaries! award in 2000, the Museum of Arts and Design cited her for “her powerful explorations, dealing with the impact of social and political reality on individual identity, that have demonstrated the potential of fiber as an effective and expressive sculptural material.”

Abakans-at-AIFAF.jpg

Weavings by Magdalena Abakanowicz at AIFAF. The weavings on the far right and far left were woven in the 1980s; the piece in the center is from the 1960s.

At AIFAF, browngrotta arts will exhibit three weavings by Abakanowicz, one from the 1960s and two, from the Anne and Jacques Baruch Collection, Ltd., created in the 1980s. The Baruchs opened a gallery in Chicago in the late 1960s, bringing work to the U. S. from Central Europe in order to give exposure to the Slavic art that Jacques, who died in 1986, once described as “the finest work of tomorrow…not what is known…the new blood.” Jacques was unable to travel after 1970, but Anne continued to travel to Central Europe to search for art. As the political situation in the area tightened, Anne, began smuggling art into the US, often at great risk. Government agents would seal her packages of approved art before she left; with the help of artists, she would often unseal the packages and reseal them in order to add unsanctioned works. She would travel with a bright red Hartman suitcase with a false bottom, filled with art supplies that the artists could not buy. On her return trip, artworks would be hidden inside. In this manner, Anne amassed a singular collection of contemporary textiles and historical and contemporary Czech photography. The Baruch Foundation was established in 2008, subsequent to Anne’s death in 2006 and is comprised of her personal art collection and the artwork inventory of The Anne and Jacques Baruch Collection, Ltd. The missions of the Foundation are to preserve and foster the growth of the visual arts of Eastern and Central Europe through donations of artwork to museums and schools, and to fund educational programs and scholarships by the sale of artwork.

Tawney Weavings.jpg

Works by Lenore Tawney on display in the browngrotta arts booth at AIFAF.

At AIFAF, browngrotta arts will also show weavings, drawings, collages and mixed media assemblages by Lenore Tawney, who died in 2007 at the age of 100. “Luminous is an apt word to describe the entire career of the American artist Lenore Tawney,” wrote Holland Cotter in the New York Times in 2004. In the 1950’s, he noted, “she created a series of monumental open-weave sculptures that were like nothing seen before or since. Astonishing.” About her collages Cotter has written, “Whether she sets cut-up bits of handwriting spinning around a reproduction of a Michelangelo sibyl or turns strips of antique German books into suspended grids, she touches on the roots of the collage medium in language and personal history with a reticent orginality.” The Lenore G Tawney Foundation was established in 1989 by Tawney for charitable and educational purposes. Its aim is to support other artists in their own artistic efforts and to support special projects at art museums and non-profit educational arts organizations; its highest priority is to nurture emerging artists and to provide them with learning opportunities through established educational programs.


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