September was quite the busy month for browngrotta arts. Summer officially ended and fall is here and as beautiful as ever. Owners and Curators Tom Grotta and Rhonda Brown went on an art-filled adventure to South Africa (to read about click here). In addition to our “New this Week” posts, we have also started posting “Art Live!” videos every Monday. There is a wealth of video contents available online that allows you to see artworks up close and learn about the artist. Some Art Live! videos feature interviews with artists, while others allow you to visit exhibitions or view the details of a particular piece. Still, others feature a close-up, 360-degree view of a single work.
We started off September with Nancy Koenigsberg’s Currents, a square coated copper wire piece. The wire Koenigsberg uses for her work allows her to explore space. The delicate nature of the wire allows Koenigsberg to create lace-like layers. “The layers allow for transparency, the passage of light, and the formation of shadows,” notes Rhonda Brown in Still Crazy After All These Years…30 years in Art. The intertwining of the wires creates a complex fabric and variety of light and shadow.
Next up we had Michael Radyk’s tapestry Green Sow Sow. In his recent series, Corduroys, Migrations and Featherworks, Radyk drew inspiration from featherworks in Peru and Africa, cut corduroy structures from Peter Collingwood’s The Technique of Rug Weaving and the concept of migration. However, for Green Sow Sow Radyk drew inspiration from a conversation he had with Lousie Mackie, former Curator of Textiles and Islamic Art at the Cleveland Museum of art, about fakes and forgeries. The conversation inspired him to create a “forgery” of his own work by re-imagining two dimensions of work he had previously done.
Tonal Fifths by Rachel Max was also featured this month. Max’s artwork challenges the relationship between containment and concealment, lines and shadow, and movement and space. Max constructs her forms with a combination of lace and basketry techniques. These techniques help her to creates an intricate, open weave fabric of interlinked lines. Max’s current work (such as Tonal Fifths) investigates the similarities between weaving and music. The musical composition of Max’s works are based on two or more themes which she works to weave together through her art.
A Line Can Go Anywhere, currently on display at the James Cohan Gallery in New York, studies the use of fiber as the main material used by seven Bay Area artists. The show examines artists ability to use linear pliable elements such as yarn, thread, monofilament, and rope.
A Line Can Go Anywhere works to show viewers all the ways in which fiber is utilized in art. The term “fiber” encompasses both the use of pliable material and technique needed to manipulate the materials to construct art works. “Crisscrossing generations, nationalities, processes, and approaches, the works speak to the cultural forces and art discourses that have contributed to a rich, and often overlooked, legacy of art making,” explains Jeffrey Waldon “from the initial efflorescence of the international fiber revolution of the 1960s to fiber’s recent reclamation by contemporary artists who, in an expanded field of art, create fiber-based work with a kind of ‘post-fiber’ awareness.”
The show features works from Trude Guermonprez and browngrotta arts’ artist Ed Rossbach, two influential artists whose works served as primers for the making of art in Northern California. The pair “contributed to the categorical transformation of art and craft,” notes the Gallery. In addition to Rossbach and Guermonprez, A Line Can Go Anywhere will feature work by Josh Faught, Terri Friedman, Alexandra Jacopetti Hart, Ruth Laskey, and browngrotta arts’ artist Kay Sekimachi.
With a sincere devotion to textile traditions and worldwide culture, Ed Rossbach’s work referenced everything from ancient textile fragments to pop-culture icons such as Mickey Mouse. Rossbach experimented with atypical materials to create an anti-form intimate body of work. Despite being a prolific maker, write and professor at the University of California between 1950 and 1979, Rossbach, by his own choice, rarely exhibited or sold his work. Shortly before his death in 2002 he provided a large number of his remaining works of fiber, paintings, and drawings to Tom Grotta to photograph and exhibit. Most of Rossbach’s remaining works continue to be available through browngrotta arts. Kay Sekimachi began working in fiber in 1960s, just as the international fiber movement began. For a number of years, according to the Gallery, Sekimachi’s work was “charged by Guermonprez’s pedagogical emphasis on both free experimentation and the rational logic of weaving.” Sekimachi’s early double weavings showcased her ability to harmonize the opposite relationships of density and translucency, complexity and simplicity, technique and free expression.
A Line Can Go Anywhere was curated by Jenelle Porter, an independent curator in Los Angeles. From 2011 to 2015 she was the Mannion Family Senior Curator at the Insitute of Contemporary Art/Boston where she organized the acclaimed Fiber Sculpture 1960-present. A Line Can Go Anywhere is on show at the James Cohan Gallery in New York until October 14th. For more information about the show click HERE.
We’ve all heard of the common stomping grounds of an affluent New England traveler. Many New Yorkers head to the Hamptons, but for those who are farther north (or willing to take a longer trek), Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket make up the holy trinity.
But for anyone who’s ready to switch things up, enjoy the opportunity to take a break from driving this summer by stopping in New Bedford, MA on your way to whichever classic summer vacation spot lies ahead. Whether you’ve visited before or it’s your first time stopping through, New Bedford will capture your heart with its rich history, quaint cobblestone streets and incredible art offerings.
New Bedford’s historic downtown boasts a working waterfront brings the nostalgia of old whaling days. Filled with a variety of restaurants, shops, and museums, the downtown district of New Bedford offers something for everyone while bringing the past to life. If you are looking for a lively experience, check out the North End of New Bedford; teeming with an array of cafes and bakeries, the North End illuminates New Bedford’s multicultural heritage.
What to Do in New Bedford and environs:
New Bedford Whaling Museum
The New Bedford Whaling Museum chronicles the history and impact of the “Old Dartmouth” whaling industry. Whale oil harvested by crews from New Bedford once lit the entire East Coast. The museum houses everything from whale skeletons and a model of the world’s largest whaling ship to work by internationally known maritime artists. The museum also gives you an opportunity to explore the importance of whale science and conservation, as well as informing you about what you can do to advance the cause.
New Bedford Art Museum/Artworks!
The New Bedford Art Museum is a must-see for visitors of all ages. The museum offers a diverse array of engaging artwork, as well as a dynamic and interactive experience for kids and an extensive collection for parents and art lovers. This summer, the New Bedford Art Museum collaborated with browngrotta arts to create Plunge: Explorations from Above and Below, a unique exhibit that combines 16 artists working in numerous media to create a body of work that pays tribute to the nautical and natural processes around us. Artist featured in Plunge used fish scales, Danish sail cloth, and even an old Moby Dick book as material for their work. Plunge can be viewed at the New Bedford Art Museum until October 8th.
The Seamen’s Bethel
Life at sea was exhausting and monotonous, after returning to landwhalers would spend the majority of their time and money at gambling dens, brothels and saloons. However, Quaker whalers in New Bedford saw this as a threat to the dignity and good order of their community. Therefore, the citizens of the town created the New Bedford Port Society for the Moral Improvement of Seamen, which offered church services to whalers before and after their whaling ventures. Due to the varying religions of the whalers, the church was declared non-denominational and is still that way today. Moby Dick’s author Herman Melville was one of the many whalers who found solace in the church before venturing out to sea.
New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center
Where to Stay:
In addition to the larger chains, like the Fairfield Inn, Seaport Inn and Conference Center in Fairhaven, the area is home to charming Bed and Breakfasts like the Cranberry Gardens Inn; in nearby Wareham, Massachusetts (Contact: 508-295-9475 www.bbonline.com) or the Delano Homestead & Gardens in Fairhaven (Contact: 508-992-5552; http://www.delanohomestead.com).
Dedee Shattuck Gallery (Just 25 minutes West of New Bedford)
A contemporary art gallery situated among acres of meadows and forests in neighboring Westport, Massachusetts, the Dedee Shattuck Gallery exhibits an ever-broadening selection of noted international, national, regional and emerging artists, and select artistic gifts — jewelry, scarves, tableware — establishing a cultural destination in the heart of Westport, Massachusetts (Contact: 508-636-4177; Dedeeshattuckgallery@gmail.com).
Partners Village Store and Kitchen (also 25 minutes West of New Bedford)
Earlier this summer we published a blog post outlining current and upcoming exhibitions featuring browngrotta arts artists in North America. In addition to all of the exhibitions in North America, we have a ton of artists being featured in exhibitions abroad. Whether working in Denmark or vacationing in Greece take some time to relax and visit one of these spectacular exhibitions.
Jens Søndergaard with the touch of Ane Henriksen
Heltborg Museum (Thy, Denmark)
June 18-September 3
Ane Henriksen currently has a solo exhibition on view at the Heltborg Museum on the West Coast of Denmark. In Jens Søndergaard with the touch of Ane Henriksen, Henriksen uses weavings to interpret paintings by Jens Søndergaard. The weavings and paintings are on view at the Helborg Museum until September 3rd.
A Darker Thread
Oriel Myrddin Gallery (Carmarthen, UK)
July 15-October 21
Across the pond, there is A Darker Thread, at Oriel Myrddin Gallery in Carmarthen. Wales has been long celebrated for its’ distinctive textile design in both power-loomed blankets and hand stitched quilts. While all work in A Darker Thread references Welsh Culture or sense of place, artists were selected for their focus on the curious, the provocative, the humorous or the unpredictable. The exhibition features artists such as Alana Tyson, Laura Thomas and Ruth Harries. To compliment the exhibition there is a rich program of events over the summer for children and families. A Darker Thread is on show at the Oriel Myrddin until October 21st.
Mountados, Tinos, Greece
July 22-August 22
For Labyrinth, 10 artists were challenged to create a piece of art for a box that would hang above the streets of the village Mountados on the island of Tinos. The network created by the alleyways of cycladic villages is reminiscent of a labyrinth, therefore why the theme was chosen for Mountados. Though labyrinths are often seen as a place to get lost, they are instead the places to find oneself. “In these troubled and uncertain times, we are once again seeking a path. Here we are in this labyrinth, confronted with the idea of the inner journey that each of us pursues, in the face of our hesitation, our halts, our choices,” explains Mireille Liénard “It is the discovery of this labyrinth, but also this journey to the depths of ourselves, that this new edition of the Biennale of Mountados offers us.”
Tapestry: Here and Now
The Holbourne Museum (Bath, UK)
June 23-October 1
Tapestry: Here & Now surveys contemporary tapestry while also showcasing some of the most innovative approaches to tapestry by a variety of international talent. This exhibit includes Sara Brennan and is curated by Dr. Lesley Millar, who wrote an essay in Retro/Prospective: 25+ Years of Art Textiles and Sculpture. Each piece exhibits a development in the artist’s career, textile making or society as a whole. The exhibition also exemplifies how artists use their medium to engage with political, aesthetic and personal issues of contemporary relevance. Edward McKnight Kauffer’s “The ‘Arts’ Tapestry” will be on public display for the first time. The tapestry depicts a muse-like figure holding an open book, while beside a globe and fluted ionic column, expressing the importance of understanding classical art and architecture. Tapestry: Here & Now will be on view at The Holbourne Museum, in Bath until October 1st.
Everyday matter, The Value of Textile Art
September 16 – January 28
Everyday matter, an exhibition presented by Nordic Textile Art (NTA) in collaboration with the Textile Museum of Sweden, chronicles the slow processes of textile art. The exhibition not only shows methods to eliminate time in the textile making process but also shows artists how to communicate through materiality. Every two years the European Textile Network holds a conference in a European country. This year, Borås and the Textile Museum of Sweden are co-hosting the conference. Four browngrotta arts artist have been selected to present work in Everyday matter, including Løvaas & Wagle,Ulla-Maija Wikman, Grethe Wittrock and Ane Henriksen.
If you are vacationing in the East, South, Midwest, or West this summer, there is a wide variety of textile artists on display across the United States and Canada online, including exhibitions featuring artists whose work you’ll find at browngrotta arts. Emphasizing baskets in one case, abstraction in another and tapestry in two others, whether you’ve planned a family vacation, a weekend getaway or staycation there are exhibitions for art-lovers of all kinds.
The Nordic Tapestry Group: Weaving Knowledge into Personal Expression
Washington Art Association and Gallery (Washington Depot, CT)
August 12-Sept 9
Gallery Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, Sunday, 10am-2pm
Weavers from Sweden, Iceland, and the United States formed the Nordic Tapestry group a decade ago after tapestry artist Helena Hernmarck traveled to Sweden to teach workshops on her weaving technique. Combining traditional Swedish weaving techniques with her own method, Hernmarck is able to achieve powerful photorealistic effects by bundling a variety of hued yarns that combine and create an illusion of depth. With a common passion for textiles, members of the Nordic Tapestry group have a desire to learn more about how Hernmarck’s tapestries are made, how to use light, and how to use the different qualities of yarn to create images. Hernmarck’s Anemones will be on display along with smaller weavings by 21 of her students.
Opening in August, Rooted, Revived, Reinvented: Basketry in America
Lauren Rogers Museum of Art (Laurel, MS)
August 22-November 12
Gallery Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10:00 am – 4:45 pm, Sunday 1:00 pm- 4:00 pm | Closed Monday
This traveling exhibition curated by Josephine Stealey and Kristen Schwain, chronicles a history of American basketry from its origins in Native American, immigrant, and slave communities to its presence within the contemporary fine art world. Through the selection of materials, colors, designs, patterns, and textures, artists featured in this exhibition tell different stories and cultural histories. Rooted in local landscapes, basketry has been shaped by cultural tradition but is now thriving in our contemporary world. Browngrotta arts’ artists Polly Adams Sutton, Mary Giles, Nancy Moore Bess, Christine Joy, Nancy Koenigsberg, Dorothy Gill Barnes, Ferne Jacobs, Gyöngy Laky, Kari Lønning, John McQueen, Norma Minkowitz, Leon Niehues, Ed Rossbach, Karyl Sisson and Kay Sekimachi all have work featured in the exhibition. Rooted, Revived, Reinvented: Basketry in America is on show at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art from August 22 to November 12.
The Box Project
Racine Art Museum (Racine, WI)
May 21-August 27
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, Sunday 12:00 – 5:00 pm | Closed Monday, Federal Holidays and Easter |The Museum Store closes at 4:45 pm each day.
The Box Project challenges artists to work within the parameters of an archival box. Artists interpret the challenge their own way, resulting in a diverse array of one-of-a-kind art highlighting the artists’ creativity and skills. The limited edition book The Box Project book can be purchased here at browngrotta arts’ online store. The Box Project features work from 37 artists, 10 of whom are represented by browngrotta arts: Helena Hernmarck, Agenta Hobin, Kiyomi Iwata, Lewis Knauss, Naomi Kobayashi, Nancy Koenigsberg, Gyöngy Laky, Heidrun Schimmel, Hisako Sekijima and Sherri Smith.
Between Land and Sea
The Menil Collection (Houston, TX)
April 14-August 27
Gallery Hours: Wednesday–Sunday 11:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m.
In Houston, Texas, Lenore Tawney is one of six artists featured in The Menil Collection’s exhibition Between Land and Sea: Artists of the Coenties Slip. The exhibition is a combination of work from a group of artists, intellectuals, filmmakers and poets who lived and worked in the old seaport at the lower tip of Manhattan throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s. The works in the aesthetically diverse exhibition is united by artists’ desire to explore new ways of abstraction. Between Land and Sea: Artists of the Coenties Slip is on show at The Menil Collection until August 27th.
Crossing Generations: Past, Present & Future
Oregon College of Art and Craft (Portland, OR)
July 10-August 6
Gallery Hours: Monday-Sunday, 10:00am-5:00pm
The Surface Design Association’s Exhibition Crossing Generations: Past, Present & Future includes two bga artists: Lia Cook, Glen Kaufman. Curated by well-known gallerist Jane Sauer, the goal of this exhibition was to “highlight the work of the great mentors that laid the ground work for what is happening today, mid-career artists, and a look into what the future hold by showing the work of a few emerging artists.” The exhibition will be on show at the Hoffman Gallery at the Oregon College of Art and Design until August 6th.
And online — you can still see Dawn MacNutt’s May exhibition A Fortunate Adversity, at Sunbury Shores. Nova Scotia, online at http://sunburyshores.org/fortunate-adversity-dawn-macnutt/ .Using willow to make figurative basketry, Dawn MacNutt is inspired by the “beauty of human frailty.” In MacNutt’s words, A Fortunate Adversity “expresses a full life enriched by caring and seeing loved ones overcome disasters and small misfortunes.”
These are exciting days at the Tate Modern in London for fans of art textiles. You’ll find fiber works by important artists in several different galleries.
Beyond Craft, in the Boiler House, curated by Ann Coxon features three pioneers, Lenore Tawney, Olga de Amaral and Sheila Hicks, who experimented with different weaving techniques, often looking to historical or indigenous textiles for inspiration. De Amaral and Hicks were particularly inspired by the technical brilliance of Peruvian weavings made before European colonization. The Museum notes that many artists in the 1960s were using weaving and knotting to create innovative hangings and sculptures, integrating traditional craft techniques into fine art practice. “The 1960s saw several high-profile exhibitions of ‘fiber art’: textile techniques used to create unique art objects without a practical function. These three artists were among those who attempted to collapse the hierarchy that sets fine art above craft. While this distinction has not entirely disappeared, in recent years fiber art has become a source of inspiration for a new generation of artists and curators and the artists displayed here are receiving fresh consideration.”
In Magdalena Abakanowicz, also in the Boilerhouse, viewers can explore Abakanowicz’s stitched cloth sculptures inspired by biological systems, organic matter, and regeneration. “Made at a time of political tension between the Soviet Union and Poland, Abakanowicz has said the work ‘could be understood as a cry from behind the Iron Curtain’,” says the Museum notes. (That was the time frame in which Anne and Jacques Baruch brought Abakanowicz’ work to the US, the subject of browngrotta arts’ catalog, Advocates for Art: Polish and Czech Fiber Artists from the Anne and Jacques Baruch Collection.)
Elsewhere in the Boilerhouse is a work by El Anatsui, who completely transforms the most pedestrian materials into art. By flattening bottle tops and stitching them together into a shimmering metal cloth, he turns familiar disposable objects into something that appears precious and alters them in the viewers’ eyes. Taking a similar approach to the mundane, Sheela Gowda from India has created a room-sized installation made of car bumpers and handwoven human hair, an observation on “the coexistence of ritual and superstition alongside modern urban and economic transformation.”
Want to know more? Visit the Museum’s website to see images and to read New Yarn, Tate, etc. Essay: Textiles and Art by Kirsty Bell: http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/articles/new-yarns
Over the next few months, we’ll be featuring Guest Posts by artist, educator, collector and friend, Carol Westfall. Westfall’s work has been exhibited extensively in Japan, Europe, South America and the US. She has taught at both Columbia University’s Teacher’s College in New York City and in the Fine Arts Department at Montclair State University in New Jersey and is one of the artists included in the upcoming exhibition, Distinguished Educators, at the Crane Arts Building in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania next March. We worked with Westfall when she was at Montclair state University to produce the Art of Substance exhibition in the gallery there.
In her first post, up Monday, November 28th, she takes a comprehensive look at the Fiber Futures: Japan’s Textile Pioneers exhibition, open through December 18th, which is still being talked up in New York City (including in a segment on Sunday Arts NY on PBS, Channel 13). In December, she’ll review Crafting Modernism: Midcentury American Art and Design, at the Museum of Arts and Design, in New York through January 15th. Kazuyo Onoyama, Orikata (Folded Form), 2006. Kyôko Ibe, Screen from the Hogosho series, 2009. Fuminori Ono, Feel the Wind, 2010. Hisako Sekijima, Kôzô o motsu ryô II (Volume That Has Structure II), #546, 2009. Hisako Sekijima, Renzoku suru sen (Continuous Lines), #559, 2010. Hisako Sekijima, Jûsan’yô no satsu (A Book with Thirteen Leaves), #553, 2009. Installation photo by Richard Goodbody.
Traveling outside the US this summer? If so, there are lots of places to see the work of the artists browngrotta arts represents. In France, 13 Scottish weavers all trained in the tapestry department of the College of Fine Arts in Edinburgh, including Sara Brennan and Linda Green are part of the Vive La Tapisserie exhibition from July 16th to August 18th at Galerie la Tour Montsalés, in Montsalès http://www.galerielatourmontsales.com. In Paris, you still have nine days to see Carte Blanche á Philip Hughes: Works by Chris Drury, Philip Hughes and Nicholas de Staël at Galerie Gimpel & Müller, 12 Rue Guénégaud,
expositions.php, through July 26th. In Belgium, Marian Bijlenga’s work is included on the 7th International Triennial of Contemporary Textiles in Tournai, through September 25th,
In Denmark, Ane Henricksen’s solo exhibition, Lady Sings the Blues, continues at the Design Museum in Copenhagen through August 7th,
udstillinger/aktuelle-saerudstillinger/lady-sings-the-blues. Connecting: Contemporary Arts and Crafts from Germany, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden is a travelling exhibition organized by the art and craft associations of Schleswig-Holstein (Germany) and its partner regions in Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway http://www.connecting-artsandcrafts.com. Forty artists, including Grethe Sorenson of Denmark, have presented 90 new works. The exhibition is at the Akershus Art Center in Lillestrom, Norway through July 31st and at the Pohjanmann Musuem in Vaasa, Finland from September 9th through November 27th. In Lladudno, Wales, Laura Thomas‘ resonate sculptures and works by 10 other artists are on display through September 1st at the retail space at Oriel Mostyn, in an exhibit entitled, Similar Threads: A Celebration of the Beauty of Thread.
We love Penguin Classics. The collection includes more than 1,000 classic titles from The Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes to Gulliver’s Travels to A Christmas Carol to Middlemarch and Dracula. This October, new versions, Penguins Threads Deluxe Classics, will be released with gloriously embroidered covers by Jillian Tamaki. You can pre-order the three titles commissioned to date, Emma, The Secret Garden and Black Beauty on Amazon now. You can also order a set of
100 Penguin Book Cover Cards from Amazon. And Penguin has released two versions of Book Cover Wrapping Paper. One, a collage of Penguin covers, is available from Bas Bleu, the other, an image of Penguin spines, can be found at Shiny Shack in the UK. Still not enough Penguin? You can obtain the entire line of Penguin Classics in one complete paperback collection, from Renaissance philosophy to the poetry of revolutionary Russia, from the spiritual writings of India to the travel narratives of the early American colonists, from The Complete Pelican Shakespeare to The Portable Sixties Reader, for $13,000+.
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