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In Praise of Older Women Artists

Simone Pheulpin at The Design Museum of London. Photo: Maison Parisienne

Last year, Artsy took a look at why old women had replaced young men as the “new darlings” of the art word. Its twofold explanation: as institutions attempt to revise the art-historical canon, passionate dealers and curators have seen years of promotion come to fruition and these artists have gained attention as blue-chip galleries search for new artists to represent among those initially overlooked.

Artsy points at Carmen Herrara, Carol Rama, Irma Blank, and Geta Brătescu and others to make its point. Mary Sabbatino, vice president at Galerie Lelong, is quoted as saying,  “They’re fully formed artists, they’re mature artists, they’re serious artists. They’re not going to burn out as sometimes happens with younger artists…and normally the prices are far below the other artists of their generation, so you’re offering a value to someone.” Barbara Haskell, a curator at the Whitney Museum in New York, says museums everywhere are realizing that “there’s been a lopsided focus on the white male experience” in art history, and are working to correct that.”

Primitive Figures Bird and Insects, Luba Krejci,
knotted linen, 40.5″ x 44.5″ x 2″, circa 1970s. Photo: Tom Grotta

Among the women artists working in fiber who belong on a list of those achieving belated recognition include Ruth Asawa, Sheila Hicks (mentioned in the Artsy article) Kay Sekimachi, Lenore Tawney, Ethel Stein, Simone Pheulpin, Sonia Delauney, Luba Krejci, Ritzi Jacobi and Helena Hernmarck. The international contemporary fiber movement was initiated by women who took reinvented tapestry, took it off the wall and drew global attention to an art form that had been synonymous with tradition to that point. Luba Krecji adapted needle and bobbin lace techniques to create, “nitak,” her own technique, which enabled her to “draw” with thread. In her use of line as “sculptural form,” Ruth Asawa,” provided a crucial link between the mobile modernism of Alexander Calder and the gossamer Minimalism of Fred Sandback, whose yarn pieces similarly render distinctions between interior and exterior moot,” wrote Andrea K. Scott last year in The New Yorker.

 

Damask 5, Ethel Stein, 1980-89. Photo by Tom Grotta

These artists continue their explorations though their seventies, eighties and nineties. An example, Kay Sekimachi, who created complex, elegant monofilament weavings in the 70s and 80s, bowls and towers of paper after that, and continues, at age 90, to create elegant weavings of lines and grids that are reminiscent of the paintings of Agnes Martin. After having received the Special Mention Loewe Craft Prize and exhibited at the  Design Museum of London, this year, Simone Pheulpin continues to create innovative work in her 70s, work that is part of the 10th contemporary art season at Domaine de Chaumont sur Loire and part of the exhibition “Tissage Tressage” at the Fondation Villa Datris.

Art Out and About: Abroad

From the 11th International Shibori Symposium in Japan to Metamorfizm Magdalena Abakanowicz in Poland, these international summer exhibitions are not to be missed:

11th International Shibori Symposium Nagoya, Japan

The 11th International Shibori Symposium will take place throughout June and July in three separate, yet connected regions of Japan: Tokyo, Nagoya, Yonezawa and Yamagata. The symposium will explore the regions shared legacies of craft and local industry revolving around Safflower, Indigo and Shibori. In addition to workshops and demonstrations, the symposium specially organized ten exhibitions chronicling the history and future of shibori. browngrotta arts artist Carolina Yrarrázaval’s work has been selected to be a part of International Contemporary Art of Shibori at the Tama Art University Museum in Tokyo (July 1 – August 19). This year’s topics of discussion include local industry, technology and tradition, global trade and material transformation. “Local industries create foundations for the community and environment which we build textile practices,” explains the World Shibori Network by “emphasizing sustainability, regional history and people and their skills, we showcase the enduring legacy of artisans and craftspeople who support traditions and inspire future generations.” For more information on the 11th International Shibori Symposium click HERE.

One of Jane Balsgaard's sculptures in SKIBET OG BØLGEN. Photo: Jane Balsgaard

One of Jane Balsgaard’s sculptures in SKIBET OG BØLGEN. Photo: Jane Balsgaard

Jane Balsgaard: SKIBET OG BØLGEN at Kunsthuset Palæfløjen.

In Denmark, Jane Balsgaard has a new solo exhibition at Kunsthuset Palæfløjen. The exhibition’s theme revolves around the ship as an artifact with free interpretation of ships, the sea and waves. SKIBET OG BØLGEN highlights Balsgaard’s unique technique and impeccable craftsmanship. Balsgaard’s use of natural materials, such as handmade paper and found objects has made her a pioneer in the Danish Art Scene. In addition to displaying many of Balsgaard’s pieces, there is also a documentary by Torben Glarbo, in which you can see the production Silent Flight, Balsgaards installation in the Manchester Airport.SKIBET OG BØLGEN will run through June 24th, for more information on this exhibition click HERE.

Tim Johnson's Lines and Fragments

Tim Johnson’s Lines and Fragments. Photo: Tim Johnson

 

Jun Tomita at Johanniterkirche in Feldkirch, Austria (September 14th, 2018 – Sometime in December depending on temperature)

Feldkirch, Austria will be the site of a one-person exhibition of ikat works by Jun Tomita in Japan. For more information of Johanniterkirche and Feldkirch click HERE.

Tim Johnson’s Lines and Fragments at Korbmacher-Museum Dalhausen

In Germany, the Korbacher-Museum Dalhausen will be hosting Tim Johnson’s solo exhibition Lines and Fragments. Johnson, who uses a variety of plant materials from his adopted home of Catalonia, combines the specific characteristics of the plant materials with different weaving techniques, both traditional and experimental, in order create endless possibilities for creativity and expression. Line and Fragments will display Johnson’s recent work, while also exploring his 20 years of braiding research. “As a basketmaker working today I look towards combining tradition and experimentation to lead me into new areas. Looking at traditional woven objects in museums and collections we find only part of the story of the making and are left to imagine the life of the object ourselves,” explains Johnson. “The rightness of design and signs of usage in old traditional baskets fascinate me and I hope to capture some of their magic in my own makings. While I’m neither a fisherman nor a farmer and my baskets are not functional, perhaps my work celebrates our woven cultural inheritance whilst creating something that has not existed before.” In the past, the museum has hosted strong exhibitions of traditional basketry work from Spain, Uganda and France. Johnson’s exhibition will be the first contemporary show the museum has ever done. Lines and Fragments will be on display at the Korbacher-Museum Dalhausen from July 15th until September 9th, after which it will travel to Lichtenfels in southern Germany. For more information on Lines and Fragments click HERE.

Metamorfizm Magdalena Abakanowicz at The Central Museum of Textiles in Łódź, Poland. Photo: The Central Museum of Textiles

Metamorfizm. Magdalena Abakanowicz (1930 – 2017) in Łódź, Poland

In Łódź, Poland, The Central Museum of Textiles and the Swiss Toms Pauli Foundation opened a collaborative exhibition to pay tribute to Magdalena Abakanowicz. Metamorfizm Magdalena Abakanowicz, which is set to run from May 17th through September 9th, seeks to shed a light on how Abakanowicz revolutionized the field of textile art. Abakanowicz’s international career started in Lausanne at the city’s first Tapestry Biennial in 1962. The exhibition has about thirty pieces of Abakanowicz’s work, ranging from mural creations, sculptures in relief and unusual collages. All of which celebrate the diversity and modernity of Abakanowicz’s artistic experimentation from 1965 to 1985. In addition to Abakanowicz’s work, there will be a screening of Kazimierz Mucha’s movie, accompanied by music composed by Bogusław Schäffer. Mucha’s movie footage examines Abakanowicz’s 1968 open-air art installation in Łeb. The installation’s organic material ’Abakans’ “surrender to the gusts of wind, move and integrate into the surrounding landscape of the wild dunes, accentuating their biological provenance.” Metamorfizm not only spotlights Abakanowicz’s work but also calls attention to the intellectual sources of Abakanowicz’s work. For more information on Metamorfizm click HERE.


Art Assembled: New This Week May

Ulla-Maija Vikman. Reflect, painted viscose and linen, 62.5” x 54”, 2017. Photo by Tom Grotta

Reflect, Ulla-Maija Vikman, painted viscose and linen, 62.5” x 54”, 2017. Photo by Tom Grotta

May was quite a busy and exciting month here at browngrotta arts. We ended April and kicked off May with our annual Art in the Barn Exhibition, Blue/Green: color/code/context. The exhibition attracted a record-breaking crowd that swarmed from all areas near and far. In addition to the opening itself, we hosted “Art-Ocean-Energy” a fundraiser for Ports of Cause as well as an IDCEC accredited presentation “Material Matters: Integrating Art Textiles and Fiber Sculpture in Architecture and Interior.” We also published our new catalog Blue/Green: color/code/context. The catalog–our 48th volume–features work by 57 artists from over 15 countries. Blue/Green: color/code/context is available for purchase on our online store and Amazon.

To kick off May’s New This Week we shared Ulla-Maija Vikman’s Reflect. Made by hand-painting viscose yarn and linen, Vikman’s Reflect falls freely into space and forms varying color surfaces as air flow causing the uniquely painted fibers to move. Vikman found combining the color blue with textiles very interesting because of the way in which they juxtapose each other. “Textile is material and tactile. Blue is immaterial, airy and spacious,” explains Vikman.  

Changing Tides, Wendy Wahl, Encyclopedia Britannica pages, 27” x 42” x 1.75”, 2018. Photo by Tom Grotta

Next up we had Changing Tides by Wendy Wahl.  Made of 275 pages of 1988 Encyclopedia Britannica Annual of World Data, Changing Tides continues a series Wahl developed from her interest in expressing our station in time through the use of materials that have been a part of a particular collective consciousness. Wahl cut the encyclopedia pages into seven sections, for each of the continents, and thoughtfully scrolled and compressed into 1,925 whirls to symbolize the reality of rising water around the globe.

Blue Wave, Ferne Jacobs, coiled and twined waxed linen thread, 19” x 17.5” x 6”, 1994. Photo by Tom Grotta.

Blue Wave, Ferne Jacobs, coiled and twined waxed linen thread, 19” x 17.5” x 6”, 1994. Photo by Tom Grotta.

Lastly, Ferne Jacobs Blue Wave. Jacobs, who began making sculptural baskets in 1970, uses waxed linen to create intricate, coiled designs that evoke organic forms. Jacobs’ commitment to fiber sculptures grows out of a fascination that thread can be made solid, that by using only her hands and thread, she can create a form that can physically stand on its own.

 


Blue/Green: color/code/context Catalog

Blue/Green: color/code/context

Blue/Green: color/code/context

The companion catalog for Blue/Green: color/code/context is now available for purchase in the browngrotta arts online store and on Amazon. The catalog— our 48th volume—contains 148 pages, 158 color photographs of work by 57 artists from over 15 countries.

The pieces featured in the exhibition and catalog were made using traditional materials such as cotton, linen and wool as well as a wide array of untraditional materials. For example, Tamiko Kawata uses small black safety pins and cardboard in Green Blue Screen One. Gyöngy Laky’s Our Egg, which references our precious, life-giving and life-sustaining blue/green orb, is made of telephone wire, wine bottle wire, and a light green chicken egg. In making Real, John Mcqueen used cut up plastic bottles and sticks.

The catalog’s essay, “Analogous Artistry: Blue/Blue Green/Green,” is written by Leatrice Eiseman, a color specialist whose expertise is recognized worldwide. In addition to heading the Pantone®® Color Institute, Eiseman is the director of the Eiseman Center for Color Information and Training. She is the author of 10 books on color, including Color: Messages and Meanings a Pantone®® Color Resource and most recently, The Complete Color Harmony, Pantone®® Edition. In her essay, Eiseman delves into the cultural, historical and emotional references to blue and green. The catalog features two-page spreads of each work in the exhibition. The essay and back pages are illustrated with more-than 20 photographs of additional works of blue and green.

In summary, Blue/Green: color/code/context is a wide-ranging survey of ways that artists interpret these colors and the influence they exert.


Countdown: Art-Ocean-Energy Fundraiser for Ports of Cause in Two Days at browngrotta arts

Karyl Sisson, Reaching Out, vintage zipper tape and thread, 8 x 56 x 45 in,
2013. Photo by Tom Grotta

Excitement is building for our fundraiser, Art•Ocean•Energy, 6-9 p.m. on May 4th where we will raise funds for Ports of Cause, a 501(C)(3) not-for-profit driven to promote, inspire and accelerate sustainable solutions and practices that reduce the impact luxury living and everyday lifestyles have on our oceans. At the event, you can enjoy curated cocktails, canapés, conversation and a viewing of our current exhibition, Blue/Green” color/code/context, in our contemporized barn in Wilton, Connecticut. (Tickets $50.) The exhibition will immerse you in the varied and exciting works of 50 international artists who use recycled, sustainable materials and innovative techniques, including weavings with LED fibers. The event will also feature Arthur Bavelas, Founder, Bavelas Group Family Office & Family Office Insights NYC, discussing Sustainable Luxury® and the Blue Economy –“How sustainable innovation is driving the blue economy while benefiting our oceans & natural resources.” The event’s proceeds, including ticket prices and 10% of the sales price of any artwork or catalog, will benefit Ports of Cause.

 

Can’t come, but want to contribute? Make a donation at portsofcause.com or send a check to Ports of Cause, 43 Ravenwood Drive, Weston, CT 06883.

 

Dress Code:
Blue or green cocktail casual
Ladies: Stilettos not advisable due to barn floor
FAQs:
What are my transportation/parking options for getting to and from the event?
If you are coming from NYC by train via Grand Central Station, you can disembark at South Norwalk and take an Uber to the Gallery. It is about a 15-20 minute drive.
Parking is available at the Gallery.
How can I contact the organizer with any questions?
Tom Grotta +1 203.834.0623 • art@browngrotta.com
Joyce Clear +1 203.858.3432 • joyce@portsofcause.net

Make a Day of It: Area Events to Visit on Your Way to Blue/Green at browngrotta arts

In planning your trip to browngrotta arts in Wilton, Connecticut for Blue/Green: color, code, context between April 28th and May 6th take some time out of your schedule to visit a few other exhibitions going on in the area.

A short 15-minute drive from browngrotta arts, the Westport Arts Center’s current exhibition HandMade: Women Reshaping Contemporary Art features a diverse array of work from 15 leading female fiber and textile artists, including Ghada Amer, Anna Betbeze, Ligia Bouton, Orly Cogan, Lesley Dill, Terri Friedman, Sermin Kardestuncer, Sophia Narrett, Faith Ringgold, Miriam Schapiro, Judith Scott, Beverly Semmes,  Rosemarie Trockel and Margo Wolowiec. The exhibition also features work by three browngrotta arts artists, Chiyoko Tanaka, Carolina Yrarrázaval and Norma Minkowitz. Curated by Elizabeth Gorayeb, the Executive Director of the Wildenstein Plattner Institute, Inc—a New York-based non-profit committed to art historical research—the exhibition examines the role of women in reshaping what has historically been considered “fine art.” Additionally, the exhibition demonstrates how fiber and textile materials allow artists such as Faith Ringgold and Sophia Narre to examine topics such as race, gender and sexuality. HandMade: Women Reshaping Contemporary Art will be on view at the Westport Arts Center through June 2nd. For more information visit the Westport Arts Center website HERE.
Ala Ebtekar, Zenith V, 2014, acrylic over cyanotype on canvas, four panels 60 1/4 x 30 1/4 in. each. © Ala Ebtekar. Courtesy of the artist and The Third Line, Dubai.

Ala Ebtekar’s Zenith V at Long, Winding Journeys: Contemporary Art and the Islamic Tradition. Photo: Katonah Museum of Art

Next stop, the Katonah Museum of Art’s exhibition Long, Winding Journeys: Contemporary Art and Islamic Tradition. The exhibition looks at a group of artists of Middle Eastern and South Asian descent whose work engages the diverse forms of Islamic visual tradition to explore religion, culture and socio-political issues today. The title of the exhibition “Long, Winding Journeys: Contemporary Art and the Islamic Tradition” was inspired by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Ayad Akhtar’s essay The Breath of Miraj. Akhtar’s The Breath of Miraj conveys the manner in which Islam and its history can inspire creative life to become a “long, winding journey.” While making the pieces included in the exhibition, artists utilized some of the century-old forms that define Islamic art, such as calligraphy, miniature painting, geometric patterning, textiles and architecture. Long, Winding Journeys: Contemporary Art and Islamic Tradition will be available for viewing until June 17th, for more information on the exhibition visit the Katonah Museum of Art’s website HERE.
Boris Mikhailov (Ukrainian, b. 1938), Untitled from the series Sots Art, 1975-1990, Gelatin silver print hand-colored with aniline dyes on paper at Hot Art in a Cold War: Intersections of Art and Science in the Soviet Era

Boris Mikhailov (Ukrainian, b. 1938), Untitled from the series Sots Art, 1975-1990, Gelatin silver print hand-colored with aniline dyes on paper at Hot Art in a Cold War: Intersections of Art and Science in the Soviet Era

Hot Art in a Cold War: Intersections of Art and Science in the Soviet Era will be on view until May 20th at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Connecticut. The provocative exhibition probes into the consequences of innovation in science, technology, mathematics, communications and design during the Cold War. The exhibition juxtaposes the art made during the Cold War in opposition to state-sanctioned Socialist Realism with artifacts from the nuclear and space programs to explore the triumphs and tragedies unleashed by humankind as it gained the power to both leave the Earth and to destroy it. Produced from the 1960s to the 1980s, the items on view in Hot Art in a Cold War address themes of international supremacy and hegemonic power during a turbulent period marked by the ever-escalating competition for nuclear supremacy and the space race. “The Bruce Museum prides itself in being a museum of both art and science and in finding the interconnections between the two,” states Dr. Daniel Ksepka,  Bruce Museum Curator of Science and co-curator of Hot Art in a Cold War. The exhibition allows visitors to  “see how the triumphs of the space program and anxieties about nuclear arms were captured by period artists. Likewise, many of the scientific objects are works of art in their own right. The elegance of Sputnik, for example, is as striking and undeniable as its impact on the space race.” For more information on Hot Art in a Cold War: Intersections of Art and Science in the Soviet Era visit the Bruce Museums website HERE.
Last but not least, the Wilton Historical Society’s new permanent exhibition Connecticut History, Wilton’s Story is now available for viewing. Through artifacts and objects, the Wilton Historical Society aims to shine a light on Wilton’s roots and connections, as well as the evolution of the town since the colonial period. For more information on  Connecticut History, Wilton’s Story visit their website HERE or call the Wilton Historical Society at 203-762-7257.

 

 

 

 

 


Art Assembled: New This Week January

Untitled, Kay Sekimachi, Japanese paper and fiber flex, 4” x 11” x 11”, 1985 95k Silver Metallic, Kay Sekimachi, flax, 4” x 11” x 11”, 2008. Photo by Tom Grotta

Untitled, Kay Sekimachi, Japanese paper and fiber flex, 4” x 11” x 11”, 1985
Silver Metallic, Kay Sekimachi, flax, 4” x 11” x 11”, 2008. Photo by Tom Grotta

We kicked off the new year with pieces by Kay Sekimachi. Sekimachi avoids color in many of her pieces in order to direct more attention to the sculptural qualities of her work as well as the natural properties of her chosen materials. Through her career, Sekimachi has been enamored with antique Japanese paper, using it in a variety of ways to create small pots, large sculptures and bowls, such as she did in Untitled. 

In Forest Floor Lewis Knauss uses linen (waxed and natural), reed, twigs and acrylic paint to convey the natural layers and complexity of our landscape. “Landscape serves as witness to the passage of time and the cycle of life, its disturbing beauty often the result of natural or manmade events–drought, fire, flood.” The meticulous process Knauss goes through while constructing a piece cements his life and presence as a maker. For Knauss, the repetitive acts of knotting and long periods of working silence become a mediation through which he can release his gratitude for the environment.

Forest Floor, Lewis Knauss linen, acrylic paint, reed; twigs, waxed linen, 16” x 16” x 2.5” 2016/2017";

Forest Floor, Lewis Knauss
linen, acrylic paint, reed; twigs, waxed linen, 16” x 16”x 2.5” 2016/201. Photo by Tom Grotta

<em>Ceramic 49</em>, Yasuhisa Kohyama, wood-kiln ceramic, 11.25" x 11" x 6"<br /> <em>Ceramic 50,</em> Yasuhisa Kohyama, wood-kiln ceramic, 18.25" x 10" x 5" Photo by Tom Grotta

Ceramic 49, Yasuhisa Kohyama, wood-kiln ceramic, 11.25″ x 11″ x 6″ 
Ceramic 50, Yasuhisa Kohyama, wood-kiln ceramic, 18.25″ x 10″ x 5″ Photos by Tom Grotta

 

Next up we had two sculptures by Yasuhisa Kohyama. Kohyama pioneered the revival ancient ceramic traditions of Shigaraki by bringing back the use of the anagama, a single chambered tunnel kiln that had not been used since medieval times to create traditional Japanese suemono vessels. Kohyama derives much of his inspiration from nature. “Every time I fire, I’ve come to recognize that I am in Nature; I am a small part of Nature,” explains Kohyama “Intently I watch Nature over and over again; working with clay, inspired by Nature, I am free to allow creation to happen, approaching the experience as the ancients did.”

Capricious Plaiting, Kazue Honma, plaited paper, mulberry bark, 10.5" x 18" x 12.5", 2016

Capricious Plaiting, Kazue Honma, plaited paper, mulberry bark, 10.5″ x 18″ x 12.5″, 2016. Photo by Tom Grotta

This month we also featured Kazue Honma’s Capricious Plaiting, a labyrinth-like woven plaited paper mulberry bark basket. Led by Hisako Sekijima, Honma is one of a group of Japanese basket-makers who has radically experimented with traditional Japanese weaving techniques. Plaiting allows Honma to follow strict rules of geometry while also offering her the freedom to create new shapes. When weaving Capricious Plaiting Honma started at the dark square, then plaited in two different directions, continuously shifting directions at the moments she felt she should.

Golden Red, Adela Akers, Linen, horsehair and metal foil 30" x 21”, 2017

Golden Red,
Adela Akers, Linen, horsehair and metal foil, 30″ x 21”, 2017. Photo by Tom Grotta

In our last New This Week of January, we featured Golden Red by Adela Akers. The reflectiveness of the metal foil coupled with the contrast of the red and blue linen creates a window-like effect.The dimensionality of Akers’ works can be attributed the reflection of light off of both the metal and horsehair. Akers’ background in science strongly influences the materials and process of her work. The mathematical discipline Akers exercises when working contrasts “the organic process (handweaving) and materials (linen & horsehair) that bring work to fruition.”


Art Assembled: New This Week December

2017 was a busy year for browngrotta arts! We featured more than 80 artists from Europe, Asia, North and South America and the UK in our celebratory 30th Anniversary exhibition Still Crazy After All These Years…30 Years in Art. Plunge: Explorations from Above and Below made quite the splash this summer at the New Bedford Art Museum. In addition to both exhibitions we also published our 42nd and 43rd catalogs: Still Crazy After All These Years…30 Years in Art and Plunge: Explorations from Above and Belowcompanion catalogs to both of our exhibitions.

Worn Susie Gillespie, homegrown, handspun flax, linen, 16.5" x 16.5" x 2.25", 2016.

Worn Susie Gillespie, homegrown, handspun flax, linen, 16.5″ x 16.5″ x 2.25″, 2016.

We started off December’s New this Week  with Susie Gillespie’s Worn. Gillespie’s work stems from her interest in archaeology and early textiles. Through her work, Gillespie strives to achieve a sense of earth, stone, vegetation and decomposition. In Worn, Gillespie uses handspun flax and linen to add a clothiness that creates texture and life not possible with machine spun yarn.  “If all creativity stems from dissatisfaction, maybe for me it is a dissatisfaction with the ugliness of that is modern, and the ruin of what I imagine once to have been beautiful,” explains Gillespie “…I  look forward to a future where we do not discard things because they are worn out or outmoded. Out of decay and disintegration I wish to express a sense of renewal.”

 

Fuhkyoh Tsuruko Tanikawa, linked copper, 17" x 16" x 6.5", 2002, stainless steel wire

Fuhkyoh
Tsuruko Tanikawa, linked copper, 17″ x 16″ x 6.5″, 2002, stainless steel wire

Next up we had Tsuruko Tanikawa’s Fuhkyoh. Made with linked copper and stainless steel wire, Tanikawa’s Fuhkyoh. Tanikawa is a member of the Japanese contemporary basket group started by Hisako Sekijima in the 1980s. (30 years of Japanese Baskets, Hisako Sekijima and Friends.) In November 2017, Tanikawa’s work,  Flexible-6, won the Main Prize for Artistic Exclusivity at Ethno: The 10th International Biennial of Textile Miniatures in Lithuania.
Matrix III-201612, Chang Yeonsoon, polyester mesh, machine sewn, 14” x 14” x 4.75”, 2017

Matrix III-201612, Chang Yeonsoon, polyester mesh, machine sewn, 14” x 14” x 4.75”, 2017

Machine sewn with polyester mesh,  Chang Yeonsoon’s multilayered Matrix III is eye catching and thought provoking. Matrix III, like other pieces from Yeonsoon’s Matrix series, “derives from the oriental perspective that observes the human mind and body as unified,” explains Yeonsoon. “These fiber artworks represent my own Korean formative language. In them, I minimize my body while my mind fills with abstract ideas.”

Pressed Variation Series, Lia Cook, rayon, painted and pressed, 68" x 122", 1981

Pressed Variation Series, Lia Cook, rayon, painted and pressed, 68″ x 122″, 1981

We ended 2017 with Lia Cook’s Pressed Variation Series. Bridging textiles and technology, Cook weaves digital images of cherubic faces or dolls using a jacquard loom, while also incorporating patterns taken from EEG and MRI brain scans over er subjects. While the scans themselves evoke textile-like patterns, Cook’s ability to wind a thread between technology and craft has led to world recognization of her innovations in fiber and textile arts.

 


Anniversary Alert: Jack Larsen at 90

We’ve been celebrating our 30th Anniversary by posting blogs commemorating other milestones in the art world (Frank Lloyd Wright after 150 years; 30 Years of Contemporary Japanese Basketmaking; 10 Years of Feminist Art in Brooklyn), next up we have Jack Larsen at 90. An international textile designer, author and collector, Larsen has long played an influential role in textile arts and has been an important mentor and supporter of browngrotta arts.

Jack Lenor Larsen by Shonna Valeska

Born and raised in Seattle, Larsen spent much of his childhood surrounded by nature of the Pacific North-West. In 1945, Larsen began studying at the School of Architecture at the  University of Washington, where he developed an interest in weaving. Larsen then focused his full attention on weaving, enveloping himself in the Los Angeles art and design scene. Larsen’s desire to work in textiles grew and he enrolled himself in the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. In order to break into the design scene, Larsen and fellow Cranbrook students traveled to New York hoping to make some connections. “It was sort of a game—how many people would interview me,” he has written about this trip,”—but the only job I would have taken at the time, happily, was with Knoll. But “Shu” [Florence] Knoll said I was too much of an individual to fit into their mold, which was partly true. My colors were very different; my colors were earthy.” Instead of working for another company, Larsen started his own in 1951. “By the late 1950s, architects were buying my fabric for Knoll furniture in order to get something that wasn’t red, yellow, or electric blue.”

Jack Lenor Larsen at 90: Transformations by a Textile Innovator at The Goldstein Museum of Design. Photo: Taylor Barker

Jack Lenor Larsen at 90: Transformations by a Textile Innovator at The Goldstein Museum of Design. Photo: Taylor Barker

For over 60 years Larsen and his company Jack Lenor Larsen Inc. have designed fabrics for public buildings, corporate offices, Pan American and Braniff Airlines, the Phoenix Performing Arts Center, and Air Force One and collaborate with Frank Lloyd Wright, just to name a few. The “Larsen Look” characterized by Larsen’s award-winning hand-woven fabrics of natural yarn is synonymous with 20th-century design at its pinnacle. Larsen has spent much of his life traveling the world to unearth new patterns and techniques. His travels and passion for global design made him familiar with ikat and batik, two techniques which he introduced them to the American public. Larsen has won many awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Crafts Museum in 200and the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art Medal in 2009. Furthermore, Larsen is one of only four Americans to ever be honored with an exhibition in the Palais du Louvre in Paris.

You can see highlights of his remarkable career in Minneapolis through January 7th. The Goldstein Museum of Design opened Jack Lenor Larsen at 90: Transformations by a Textile Innovator,  an exhibition celebrating Larsen’s 90th Birthday through his many innovations. The 70 textiles in the exhibition exemplify Larsen’s mastery of craft techniques, technological innovation and inspiration drawn from global design. The exhibition also includes correspondence, drawing and production samples to give viewers a better understanding of Larsen’s creative processes. Jack Lenor Larsen at 90 can be viewed in Gallery 241 at The Goldstein Museum of Design for free. For more information about the exhibition click HERE.

Damask Waterfall, Ed Rossbach, cotton welting cord, commercial fabric, plastic, satin damask, wrapped, 36" x 36", 1977

Play It By Trust, Yoko Ono, 1999

In 1992, Larsen completed his East Hampton, NY estate “Longhouse Reserve.” Spanning 16 acres, the estate boasts an expansive sculpture garden with work by Yoko Ono, William de Kooning and Sol LeWitt, among others. While Larsen’s home on Longhouse Reserve remains private, his sculpture garden is open to the public throughout the summer months. “I built the LongHouse gardens to share. I think seeing in three dimensions is so contagious,” explains Larsen. This past summer, Larsen used his 90th birthday to acquire works for the Longhouse collection. The benefit attracted artists, architects, designers and politicians. Guests were treated to performances by multi-instrumentalist Gian Carlo Feleppa on sitar, Mohsen Namjoo, an Iranian singer and sitar player and the synchronized swimmers The Brooklyn Peaches.  

Damask Waterfall, Ed Rossbach, cotton welting cord, commercial fabric, plastic, satin damask, wrapped, 36" x 36", 1977

Damask Waterfall, Ed Rossbach, cotton welting cord, commercial fabric, plastic, satin damask, wrapped, 36″ x 36″, 1977

In addition to his design success, Larsen has authored an array of landmark publications including Elements of Weaving (1967), The Dyer’s Art: Ikat, Batik, Plangi (1971), Beyond Craft: The Art Fabric (1972), Fabric for Interiors (1975), The Art Fabric: Mainstream (1981), Interlacing: The Elemental Fabric (1986), Material Wealth: Living with Luxurious Fabrics (1989), The Tactile Vessel: New Basket Forms (1989), A Weaver’s Memoir (1998), Jack Lenor Larsen: Creator & Collector (2004) exhibition catalog and Learning from Longhouse (2010). 

Larsen has been a generous friend to browngrotta arts, selecting browngrotta as the Best Booth at SOFA, NY one year and Sue Lawty as Best Artist. Browngrotta arts also worked with Longhouse Reserve in collaboration with an Ed Rossbach Special Exhibition at SOFA Chicago years ago.Larsen wrote the introduction to our monograph: Ethel Stein: Weaver and contributed to 25 for the 25th.

 


Art Assembled: New This Week October

 

Yellow, Blue and Black, Gudrun Pagter, sisal, linen/flax, 42.5” x 95”, 2017

We started off October with Yellow, Blue and Black, a tapestry made by Danish artist Gudrun Pagter. When making tapestries, Pagter draws inspiration from architecture, using lines and shapes to achieve spatial tension. “I am engaged in a constant process of exploring the picture through a highly disciplined structuring of geometrical form elements and lines through a restricted color spectrum,” states Pagter. The expansive gray line in Yellow, Black and Blue not only creates a sense of movement but also “transforms a two-dimensional plane into a three-dimensional space.” Despite the name, there are actually many colors in Yellow, Black and Blue; Pagter mixed in light pink and yellow linen threads with the yellow sisal, deep green flax with the blue sisal and blue and black flax with the black sisal. Incorporating other colors into Yellow, Black and Blue helped Pagter to bring the tapestry to life.

 

Black 15 Boxes Steel mesh, electroplated gold, gold leaf, painted acrylic and patinated thread, 43" × 65" × 3", 2016

Black 15 Boxes Steel mesh, Jin-Sook So, electroplated gold, gold leaf, painted acrylic and patinated thread, 43″ × 65″ × 3″, 2016

Jin-Sook So’s Black 15 Boxes immediately grabs the viewers eye with its grid-like structure. In Black 15 Boxes So creates a grid pushing each of the 15 electroplated gold boxes off the wall, giving them a two-dimensional quality which flattens the boxes without completely altering the perspective. While the ability to peek inside So’s boxes and bowls captivates the viewer, the material’s ability to look like paper, silk and steel bend the viewer’s perception.

 

 

, Biagga (Sea Wind), Ulla-Maija Vikman, painted viscose and linen, 67 x 71 in, 2010

Biagga (Sea Wind), Ulla-Maija Vikman, painted viscose and linen, 67 x 71 in, 2010

When making Biagga (Sea Wind) Ulla-Maija Vikman was inspired by his material, linen. The vertical threads create their own natural rhythm complemented by their horizontal patterns. Vikman paints and repaints the threads two or three times in order to get the tones he desires. Vikman always hangs his work off the wall to give the impression of a free fall. The slightest breeze or draft moves will move the threads, altering the light and form of the piece, having a kinetic effect that brings the work to life.

 

 Left: White Shell Tongue n. 1, Federica Luzzi ,two fine art prints on “baritata” paper, 66.875” x 24.75” x 1.25”, 2006 Right: White Shell Tongue n. 2, Federica Luzzi, 78.625” x 32.75” x 1.25”, 2006

Left: White Shell Tongue n. 1, Federica Luzzi ,two fine art prints on “baritata” paper, 66.875” x 24.75” x 1.25”, 2006 Right: White Shell Tongue n. 2, Federica Luzzi, 78.625” x 32.75” x 1.25”, 2006

Federica Luzzi’s work focuses on nature, specifically leaves, bark and plant seeds. Above all, Luzzi is fascinated with plant seed, it is for that reason all of her work features the title Shell. “I am interested in their small and sinuous shapes, which assure their mobility from trees, and in their vital capacity of shutting themselves until the moment they mysteriously wake up, the seeds like ‘sleeper beauties,’ ” states Luzzi. The White Shell Tongue prints were born after a variety of conversations with researchers at the National Institutes of Physics in Frascati about the concepts of dark matter, antimatter, nuclear, subnuclear physics and the particle accelerator. The prints “suggest a primordial voice, speaking in a language now unknown to us but original, a pure, reductive writing externality, with wrappings and empties shells,” Luzzi explains. The vertical loom and tapestry art tools allow Luzzi to work with vegetal fibers from their frame to three-dimensionality.  Luzzi’s works are presented like a dimensional installation as if they are fragments of a galaxy: macrocosm and microcosm together.

 Federica Luzzi’s work focuses on nature, specifically leaves, bark and plant seeds. Above all, Luzzi is fascinated with plant seed, it is for that reason all of her work features the title Shell. “I am interested in their small and sinuous shapes, which assure their mobility from trees, and in their vital capacity of shutting themselves until the moment they mysteriously wake up, the seeds like ‘sleeper beauties,’ ” states Luzzi. The White Shell Tongue prints were born after a variety of conversations with researchers at the National Institute of Physics in Frascati about the concepts of dark matter, antimatter, nuclear, subnuclear physics and the particle accelerator. The prints “suggest a primordial voice, speaking in a language now unknown to us but original, a pure, reductive writing externality, with wrappings and empties shells,” Luzzi explains. The vertical loom and tapestry art tools allow Luzzi to work with vegetal fibers from their frame to three-dimensionality.  Luzzi’s works are presented like a dimensional installation as if they are fragments of a galaxy: macrocosm and microcosm together.