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Process Notes: Stéphanie Jacques

Studio Installation, Brussels, Belgium, photo Tom Grotta, courtesy of browngrotta arts
Stéphanie Jacques Studio Visit

Stéphanie Jacques wrote about identity for browngrotta arts’ latest exhibition, art + identity: an international view. Here are Jacques’ thoughts on the topic:

Detail, Ce qu'il en reste
Detail, Ce qu’il en reste, photo Tom Grotta, courtesy of browngrotta arts

“At the present time, the notion of identity seems to me to be a dimension in constant movement. I can distinguish, however, one coherent element, a sort of red thread : the desire to assemble all that is scattered. 

“Winter 2015, in my studio notebook, I draw a human face.  A woman’s face.  Tears in the form of feet and hands stream from her eyes. That winter, I continued working on a series of sculptures which will become the work Ce qu’il en reste.  A small human figure stands upright. She is in balance.  Hanging from her pelvis is an assemblage of cubes and parallelepipeds which tumble to the floor. 

Detail, Ce qu'il en reste, photo Tom Grotta, courtesy of browngrotta arts
Detail, Ce qu’il en reste, photo Tom Grotta, courtesy of browngrotta arts

“Summer 2016, after 15 years of living in the country, I move to a new studio, in town. There, the first thing I make is a series of monotypes. Inspired by the drawing of the previous winter, this time, I engrave an image of the woman’s face on a sheet of linoleum. With each new print, another face appears. Little by little, an open mouth takes the place of the tears.  Blue…. Red…., on this white paper, like an unconscious trace, areminder of the violence which is spreading throughout Europe at that time.  Violence moreover, which still continues today. This face has something to tell.  

Detail, Ce qu'il en reste, photo Tom Grotta, courtesy of browngrotta arts
Detail, Ce qu’il en reste, photo Tom Grotta, courtesy of browngrotta arts

“Applying the coiling technique, I stitch bundles of white thread.  First comes an eye, two eyes, then the mouth, the whole face.  Between my hands, a soft and damaged material takes form. One senses anger. It is the first time I create a human face, a mask. ‘Without a doubt one of the most ancient forms of expression of human culture’ so a book on the subject informs me. On a table, are two looped legs covered in plaster. They will find their place, on top of this head. 

“That summer, I spend hour upon hour sewing, cubes and parallelepipeds made of willow and stitching with waxed linen thread.  Small, medium, large.  Assembled and tinted with India ink, they form a structure into which I may enter.  

Detail, Ce qu'il en reste, photo Tom Grotta, courtesy of browngrotta arts
Detail, Ce qu’il en reste, photo Tom Grotta, courtesy of browngrotta arts

“Oh Joy ! I dance in my studio, searching somehow through my movement, a relationship with this form. I set up the camera and take photos. My face is veiled. The frame is fixed. As the shooting advances, a story appears. I decide on four images.  Four attempts at materializing this constant transformation, at bringing life to this form.  A series of portraits follows. This time, sitting on a chair, my appearance is modified by wearing an object, a sculpture. Each image incarnates a new state, another state. 

The process here described is necessary for these images to exist. They are not an end in itself but a document of what has passed.Certain emotions, intuitions, propel me to make certain objects. More and more, I feel the need to record their creative impact and this physical sensation which passes through my body as it is positioned in space and time. It is my way of questioning the identity of these forms.  Using image is a means to make them fall from their pedestal.”

Detail, Ce qu'il en reste, photo Tom Grotta, courtesy of browngrotta arts
Detail, Ce qu’il en reste, photo Tom Grotta, courtesy of browngrotta arts

Stéphanie Jacques
April 2019


Process Notes: Federica Luzzi on the White Shell Series

Federica Luzzi
11fl White Shell Tongue n. 2
fine art print on baryta paper 
78.75” x 32.75” x 1.25,” 2006

9fl White Paper Shell
paper cord
10.5” x 10.5” x 9.5,” 2015
photo by Tom Grotta

Below, we share thoughts from Federica Luzzi about her works, White Shell Tongue, n.2, White Paper Shell and White Shell. The works were featured in browngrotta arts’ recent exhibition, art + identity: an international view.

“From a simple daily gesture, observing the white, knotted shapes just finished and resting on my black, low and Japanese-style lacquered table, White Shell Tongue was born. My mother bought the table many years ago and it has always been a reason of great attraction for me, every object projected far away on it; you have to sit down on the ground to use it. Also, a turquoise silk kimono brought for me by parents from SoHo, New York, when I was 6-7 years old. My father, Mario Luzzi, was an expert and journalist in jazz music, and in the 70s and 80s, my parents’ house in Rome was a continuous coming and going of American and European musicians who also stayed with us — Ornette Coleman, Don Pullen, Muhal Richard Abrams, Max Roach, Noah Howard, Paul Bley e Byard Lancaster.

“Everyone’s dream: to know a foreign (strange) language and yet not to understand it: to grasp the difference in it …” writes Roland Barthes in the beginning of “The language unknown” in The Empire of Signs. Mine is a eulogy to the slowness of the gesture. A pure gesture that leads to the conscious cancellation of the subject, the beginning of that “visual vacillation” of which Barthes speaks when “the text does not comment on the images. The images do not illustrate the text”. A calligraphy whose author disappears taking “in some part of the world (down there) a certain number of ‘traits’ (graphic and linguistic terms) and with these traits deliberately forming a system,”writes Barthes. It is necessary to find a voice and a language that are foreign to themselves; a musical score, whose interpreter will read and imagine in a different way, moving away.

Detail of White Paper Shell
photo by Tom Grotta


From Frascati’s DAPHE particle accelerator, which I had left to create this series of works, I have come to confirm my old intuition: in approaching each other, we do not recognize ourselves in an alien matter. 

Nostalgia is a feeling that I have felt since I was very young for Japan: a country that until a few years ago I had never seen but where I felt I had already been. In 2017, I presented my works for the first time in a solo exhibition, Shell, in Osaka, at the LADS Gallery, which mainly deals with Gutai artists and is directed by Toyoko Hyono San. Everything that I have always imagined of Japan began to take shape deeply, in particular when two of my works, usually exhibited separately, were put together there. The LADS Gallery, with its partially modifiable and openable space with sliding walls, has the possibility of creating a sort of niche that I immediately identified by visualizing the White Shell Tongue fine art print which, due to its vertical disposition, recalled to my mind the paintings or calligraphy on paper or silk, kakemono, displayed in the tokonoma, an intimate space of traditional Japanese houses. A sacred space where I put together my sculptural work made by knotting paper cord resting on a raised wooden structure.

Federica Luzzi
13fl White Shell
knotting technique, cotton cord
15” x 15” x 7.25”, 2018
photo by Tom Grotta

As a woman, I never appear physically in the works, but it is through my body that I touch and look at things, entrusting my story to long and narrow strips of paper as ever-changing languages. But if writing is an act of “dispossession” as Marc Augé makes clear, in my idea of dissemination that void of speech is vibration; small invocations dispersed in the cosmos.


Solo Flights: Hicks, Sisson, Bijlenga on view this summer

COLORFUL MOSAIC:
Installation by Hideho Tanaka. Photo by Hideho Tanaka.

If you are in Miami, Los Angeles or Honolulu this summer be sure to visit these three not-to-be-missed exhibitions (and enjoy images from Hideho Tanaka’s recent solo show in Japan).

Sheila Hicks: Campo Abierto (Open Field)
April 13, 2019 -September 29, 2019
The Bass Museum of Art
2100 Collins Avenue 
Miami Beach, FL 33139
305. 673.7530

Grouping works of art from various periods, Campo Abierto (Open Field) explores the formal, social and environmental aspects of landscape that have been present, yet rarely examined, throughout Sheila Hicks’ expansive career.

STRAWS:
Fissures III, 2019
Karyl Sisson
vintage paper drinking straws, thread and polymer
framed 16.5″ x 16.5″ x 1.75″
Photo by Susan Einstein

Karyl Sisson: Fissures & Connections
May 11, 2019 –July 6, 2019
Craft in America Gallery
8415 W. Third Street
Los Angeles, CA, 90048M
323.951.0610

Los Angeles-based artist Karyl Sisson has a solo exhibition at the Craft in America gallery. The materials of everyday life, both past and present, are the fibers that Sisson weaves together to form sculptural and textured forms. Sisson draws inspiration from sources as diverse as Los Angeles’ landscape, microbiology, and fashion manufacturing. Glimpsing back at her work over three decades, pattern, repetition, and structure are unifying and focal themes that she explores dimensionally from her foundation in basketry and needlework. In her choice of reinventing undervalued materials, Sisson manages to confront domesticity and traditional gender roles. Her recent work with paper straws draws inspiration from cells and organisms, which inform the objects as she composes them and they grow seemingly naturally.

After studying painting and drawing at NYU, Sisson moved to Los Angeles and entered graduate school in 1983 at UCLA where she studied with Bernard Kester, one of the pioneering voices in the establishment of fiber as an art medium in the 1960s and 1970s. Ed Rossbach, Judy Chicago, Miriam Shapiro, Esther Parkhurst, and Neda al Hilali are among the artists who inspired her work and exploration of fiber early on.

(left) Sampler II- 1990-1995 Marian Bijlenga (Dutch, 1954) Horsehair, fabric, stitched
(right) Sampler VII- 1997-1998 Marian Bijlenga (Dutch, 1954) Horsehair, fabric, stitched

Constellation—drawing in space by Marian Bijlenga
May 18, 2019 – August 04, 2019 
Honolulu Museum of Art
900 South Beretania Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96814
808-532-8700

Marian Bijlenga, a Dutch contemporary artist, approaches mark-making with an innovative use of materials as a drawn “line.” Her unique constructions respond to the environment, echoing her interpretations of interconnected webs of fiber. Drawing on a non-traditional use of the sewing machine, these sculptures are mere whispers of dark and light, playing on positive and negative spaces, sometimes barely visible gestures as a shadowy effect.

Hideho Tanaka Sole Exhibition 2019, Emerging
May 25, 2019-May 3

Hideho Tanaka also had a one-person exhibition last month in Japan, Hideho Tanaka Sole Exhibition 2019, Emerging While he was engaged in education and research at Musashino Art University, in the Craft and Industrial Design Department for many years he usedfiber to pursue three-dimensional modeling expressionA novelist of a writer who was also a fiber artist, wrote monyaart: http://monyaart.jugem.jp/?eid=3778. The small works on the wall were organized in a grid. “I am overwhelmed by a large amount of ‘brooches,'” Monyaart quoted the artist. These are designs of two or three rectangles on which a hand-drawn image is superimposed. The exhibition also featured larger works were also displayed.


Acquisition News

Diagonal, Kyoko Kumai, stainless steel, 2016.

We have learned about a host of acquisitions for artists who work with browngrotta arts’ since our acquisition reports last July and August 2018.  A large number of our artists’ work are now included in the collection of The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum thanks to the remarkable gift of the late Lloyd Cotsen, former chief executive officer and chairman of the board of Neutrogena Corporation, which included 4,000 textiles, an endowment and equipment to support the textile collections he assembled.

Attitude, Lia Cook, Handwoven cotton and rayon, 1999.Photo by: Bruce M. White@ Lloyd E. Cotsen, 2016.

The gift includes the Cotsen Textile Traces Study Collection, one of the world’s most significant textile study collections ever assembled by an individual and The Box Project: Uncommon Threads, organized by Cotsen Foundation for Academic Research, which includes work by John Garrett, Helena Hernmarck, Agneta Hobin, Kiyomi Iwata, Lewis Knauss, Naomi Kobayashi, Nancy Koenigsberg, Gyöngy Laky, Heidrun Schimmel and Hisako Sekijima. Cotsen’s gift also included Lia Cook’s 1999 work, Attitude.

Other acquisitions of note:

Ed Rossbach: Bobbin Lace, 1970, was acquired by the Minneapolis Institute of Art, through browngrotta arts.

Eduardo Portillo and Mariá Eugenia DávilaNew Nebula, 2017, was acquired by the Toledo Art Museum in Ohio, through browngrotta arts.

Norma Minkowitz: The Minneapolis Institute of Art purchased a crocheted and stitched wall hanging called Journeys End, 2017, and a stitched drawing with collage and crochet, Lunar Landing, 2017.

Shin Young-ok: Rhymes from 2000 was acquired by the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea

Moot, Helena Hernmarck, wool, linen, cotton, 1971. Photo by Helena Hernmarck.

Chang Yeonsoon:  In addition to being a finalist for the Loewe Craft Prize in 2018, the Loewe Foundation in London collected three works of Chang Yeonsoon’s works in August, 2018.

Polly Barton: Fertile Ground, was chosen by the Art in Embassies program to be in the US Embassy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

Nancy Koenigsberg: Teal Concentric Boxes was a gift from Camille and Alex Cook to the Racine Art Museum, Wisconsin.

Ampersand by Gyöngy Laky

Ethel Stein: Butah, 2011, went to the Art Institute of Chicago in Illinois through browngrotta arts.

Kyoko Kumai: Kumai’s tapestry, Diagonal, which was acquired by teh Victoria & Albert Museum in London in 2016, is on display at the Museum until the end of July 2020. The National  Museum of Art in Riga, Latvia collected Kumai’s work in 2018.

Åse Ljones: Three pieces from Ljones’ series, It is Still Quiet, were acquired by KODE Museum, Bergen, Norway in 2017.

Adela Akers: In 2018 Akers’ work, Traced Memories, was acquired by The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco/De Young Museum.

Gyöngy Laky: In addition to This Way and That, which is part of The Box Collection, which went to the The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum, Seek, from 2016, was acquired by the United States State Department for the new Kosovo Embassy in Pristina. 

Helen Hernmarck: Moot, 1971 was acquired by the Minneapolis Institute of Art. 


Art Assembled: New This Week April

Transition, Neha Puri Dhir, resist dye, silk, 23” x 34”, 2015. Photo by Tom Grotta.

What a month! April was quite the month for us here at browngrotta arts as we hosted our once-a-year Art in the Barn exhibition art + identity: an international view. The exhibition was a great success and we are so thankful for all the support near and far. At the beginning of April, we shared pieces by Neha Puri Dhir and Paul Furneaux, both of whom are new to browngrotta arts. Dhir’s piece Zazen caught the eye of many on social media, becoming our most liked “New This Week” post to date. In recent years, Dhir has experimented with the meticulous and labor-intensive techniques of shibori (bandhini  India and adire in Nigeria. In doing so, Dhir sources all of her fabric from places all across India. As visible in Transition Dhir’s design influenced by the Japanese wabi-sabi aesthetic, which is centered on the acceptance of impermanence and imperfection. 

City Trees II and City Lights II, Paul Furneaux
Japanese woodcuts on wood , 19.5” x 40” x 4”, 2015. Photo by Tom Grotta.

      Like Dhir, Scottish artist Paul Furneaux also draws inspiration from a Japanese aesthetic. Furneaux’s works, City Trees II and City Lights II, which grace the cover of our art + identity: an international view catalog, were made using the traditional Japanese woodblock printing technique known as mokuhanga. In making his City Trees and City Lights series, Furneaux wanted to try out chunkier forms with wider surfaces. “I was aware that the interaction between the two forms was important,” explains Furneaux “once I had established this relationship with the wooden form, I became very interested in how the clothing of the form made the forms spatial interaction more complex.” 

Coques, Brigitte Bouquin-Sellès, felt, 76.75” x 51”, 2019. Photo by Tom Grotta.

Premiering in April were also works by Nnenna Okore and Brigitte Bouquin Sellés. In works like Coulée les de fils, Brigitte Bouquin Sellès uses selvedge ends, produced during the manufacture of the well-known Cholet handkerchief on looms in France. These strips are cut automatically by the machine from the outer edges of the weave. The artist reinterprets this manufactured material, made up of falls destined for destruction. The mutation is profound, these falling fabrics become works that are born by gravity. Using this material, the creation mode of Brigitte Bouquin Sellès is original: it creates not by adding material but not subtraction either, in this case, small pieces of weft still attached to the warp, snatched one by one to achieve the artist’s ends.

The Path, Norma Minkowitz, mixed media, 14” x 52” x 52,” 2013. Photo by Tom Grotta.

      To wrap up April, we shared Norma MinkowitzThe Path. The piece is very personal for Minkowitz, in creating it she explored her thoughts, identity and how she feels about the path her life is taking. Minkowitz even used a casting of her own head for the center of the piece, painting it with a camouflage pattern to camouflage her feelings and fears, a process you can see in this video.

      If you weren’t able to make it to the exhibition, have no fear, you can still see the pieces featured in our coveted exhibition catalog art + identity: an international view, which is available for purchase in our online store HERE.


art & identity: Four More Days to See the Exhibition

We’ve been steadily busy since our Artists reception and opening on April 27th.

Participants in art + identity at browngrotta arts through May 5th. Clockwise from upper left: Lewis Knauss (US); Dawn MacNutt (CN); Ulla-Maija Vikman (FI); Agneta Hobin (FI); Judy Mulford (US); Pat Campbell (US); Tamiko Kawata (JP); Nancy Koenigsberg (US); Wendy Wahl (US); Norma Minkowitz (US). Photo by Carter Grotta.

Yesterday we hosted 38 students from the Fine Arts program at Bishop’s University outside Quebec. Groups from the Westport Art Center and the Surface Design Association have visited and the Textile Study Group of New York and members of the Aldrich Museum of Art will join us later in the week. \

Students from the Fine Arts program at Bishop’s University outside Quebec. Photo by Carter Grotta

It’s hard to say what work has been most appreciated — with over 150 works by 62 artists, there is a lot to experience. People have commented on Neha Puri Dhir’s shibori. We’ll be open until 5 pm on Sunday May 5th — so you still have time to see it for yourself. Our hours are 10 am to 5 pm every day — call if you want to come earlier or later in the day. 203.834.0623. Learn more about browngrotta arts at: http://www.browngrotta.com.


art + identity: Who’s New? Neha Puri Dhir and Nnenna Okore

Zazen, Neha Puri Dhir, resist dye, silk,, 41” x 41”, 2015. Photo by Tom Grotta.

We are excited to be including four artists new to browngrotta arts in art + identity: an international view. They include Neha Puri Dhir of India and Nnenna Okore who grew up and studied in Nigeria and now lives in the US.


Neha Puri Dhir‘s textile study has also been broad-based, including time at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India, studies in Italy, Latvia, the UK and a workshop with Americans Yoshiko Wada and Jack Larsen. Dhir has intentionally explored a variety of textile techniques, developing a particular appreciation for shibori and stitch resist. “More than the means,” she told Hand/Eye magazine, “It is the story that fascinates me. It is enchanting to know the origin of these age-old Japanese techniques. Unconsciously, and interestingly, similar resist-dyeing techniques were taking birth in various corners of the world — bandhini in India and adire from Nigeria. These traditional crafts were changing hands from one generation to another and unknowingly developing a pedagogy.”

A closer look at Dhir’s Zazen

Dhir has experimented with this meticulous and labor-intensive technique, sourcing her fabrics from various parts of India and using machine stitch instead of hand to achieve something not otherwise possible. Dhir’s design philosophy has been influenced by the Japanese aesthetic wabi-sari, centred on the acceptance of impermanence and imperfection. 

Ashioke, Nnenna Okore, burlap, ceramic, 28” x 35” x 4”, 2007


Born in Australia and raised in Nigeria, Nnenna Okore has received international acclaim for her richly textured abstract sculptures and installations. Her breathtaking works explore the fragility and ephemerality of terrestrial existence. Her highly tactile sculptures respond to the rhythms and contours of everyday life, combining reductive methods of shredding, fraying, twisting and teasing with constructive processes of tying, weaving, stitching and dyeing. Also, informing her aesthetics are familiar sounds of sweeping, chopping, talking and washing, processes that reflect the transience of human labor and its inevitable mark on the material world.

“…My processes of fraying, tearing, teasing, weaving, dyeing, waxing, accumulating and sewing allow me to interweave and synthesize the distinct properties of materials,…[M]uch like impermanent earthly attributes, my organic and twisted structures mimic the dazzling intricacies of fabric, trees, barks, topography and architecture. All my processes are adapted or inspired by traditional women’s practice, the African environment, third-world economies and recycled waste.”

Details in Okore’s Ashioke


Okore is a Professor of Art at Chicago’s North Park University, where she chairs the Art department and teaches courses in Art Theory and Sculptural Practices. She earned her B.A degree in Painting from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (First Class Honors) in 1999, and subsequently received her MA and MFA at the University of Iowa, in 2004 and 2005 respectively. Okore spent a year as an apprentice in El Anatsui’s studio in Nigeria.

The opening of art + identity: an international view is at browngrotta arts, 276 Ridgefield Road, Wilton, CT 06897, Saturday, April 27th from 1 pm to 6 pm. Sunday the 28th through Sunday May 5th, the exhibition hours are 10 am to 5 pm. For the complete list of the more than 50 artists who are participating, visit our calendar page HERE.


Opening Next Week: Make a Day of It When You Visit art & identity at browngrotta arts

Installation of art + identity: an international view at browngrotta arts.
Installation of works by Lia Cook and Marianne Kemp at browngrotta arts

This year’s Art in The Barn exhibition at browngrotta arts, art+ identity: an international view, is right around the corner. While planning your trip to see art+ identity we suggest you take advantage of a few of the area’s other cultural offerings.

Valeri-Larko-Abandoned-Bronx-Golf-Center from exhibition Spaces of Uncertainty

In Greenwich, the Flinn Gallery’s exhibition Spaces of Uncertainty provides viewers with an opportunity to take a deeper look at beauty of marginalized areas. The exhibition, whichfeatures work by painter Valeri Lark and photographer Linda Kuehne, explores how obsolete structures, whether abandoned parking lots or dilapidated builds, fit into an narrative in which every site in our highly programmed built environment must fulfill a designatedrole. Larko’s detailed oil paintings of decaying infrastructure, graffiti-masked neighborhoods and vacant lots show how marginalized sizes are never truly abandoned. Kuehne’s is more focused on the suburbs, and the deterioration of buildings that were partof the commercial sprawl in the 50s and 60s. Find more information on the exhibition, which is set to run through April 30th, HERE.

http://www.wiltonlibrary.org

Looking for a good book to curl up with on the beach or beside the pool thissummer? Have no fear, Wilton Library’s gigantic book sale is set to take place during art + identity. Theannual sale will run from April 27th to April 30th at Wilton Library. This year, the sale will have more than 80,000 items in more than 50 categories, ranging from mysteries and histories to books for babies. There Library will also have a large collectionof its’ rare and collectible books on sale from the Collectors Corner. All sales from the Library’s annual book sale help the library to stay afloat and provide the Wilton community with the learning resources for all ages. More information on the book salecan be found HERE.

Harmony Hammond: Material Witness, Five Decades of Art – Installation Photos
Harmony Hammond: Material Witness, Five Decades of Art – Installation Photo


Just a short fifteen-minute drive from browngrotta arts, the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art also has a variety of art-offerings. The Museum’s current exhibitions include Harmony Hammond: Material Witness, Five Decades of Art, How Art Changed the Prison as well as a variety of pieces by artists N. Dash and Danh Vo.Visit the Aldrich’s website HERE for details on all the exhibitions, hours of operation and a list of all of their art-offerings.

Last, but certainly not least, the Wilton Historical Society’s Bullets, Bonds, and Butter: Wilton Responds to War 1776-2006 commemorates the contributions of community members, both soldiers and townsfolk, who have answered the call to war from the Wilton area. While troops fought on the front lines, Wilton community members supported the war effort in all sorts of ways. Whether rationing, writing letters to the troops, knittings socks and making bandages or buying war bonds,the home-front consistently put all their effort into supporting their friends and family members overseas. Check out Wilton Historical Society’s website HERE for hours of operation and more information on the exhibition. Details for attending art + identity: The exhibition opens on April 27th with an Artists Reception and Opening from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at 276 Ridgefield Road, Wilton, CT. http://www.browngrotta.com/Pages/calendar.php. From April 28th through May 5th, you can visit the exhibition from 10 am to 5 pm. A full-color catalog will be available at browngrotta.com after April 27th. The exhibition features more than 60 artists and 100 works of art.

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Art & Identity: Who’s New? Brigitte Bouquin-Sellès and Paul Furneaux

We are excited to include four artists new to browngrotta arts in art + identity: an international view. They include Brigitte Bouquin-Sellès of France and Paul Furneaux from Scotland.

felt tapestry
1bbs Coques, Brigitte Bouquin-Sellès, felt, 76.75” x 51”, 2019


Brigitte Bouquin-Sellès‘ work is a mix of disparate influences. Greatly influenced by being born and raised in the province of Anjou and by her first visit to the museum located in the former Saint-Jean hospital in Angèrs (today the Jean-Lurçat Museum of Contemporary Tapestry), with its large medieval tapestry collection, Sellés studied with Nouvelle Tapestry pioneer Pierre Daquin at L’Ecole des Beaux Arts. In 1997, after years of creating tapestries with traditional techniques, she felt compelled to depart from tradition. “The great world of textile art of the 70s certainly influenced me and conveyed the idea of absolute freedom in art,” she says. The result of this freedom are works made of selvedge waste with offcuts of threads and deeply textured and manipulated works made of industrial felt. Her tapestries pit design against difference, order against disorder. The irony is not lost on Sellés that it was a departure from tapestry convention that has led her to now work primarily with unwoven material. Sellés has exhibited at the International Triennial of Textiles, in Lodz, Poland, the Museum of Contemporary Tapestry in Angers, France and the Museum and Study Center of the History of Fabrics and Costumes in Venice, Italy. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution, US.

Wood block art
2pf City Trees II and City Lights II, Paul Furneaux, Japanese woodcuts on wood 19.5” x 40” x 4”, 2015

For the last decade and more, Scottish artist, Paul Furneaux, been exploring traditional Japanese woodblock printing techniques. “This inherently beautiful and simple process has allowed my work to develop in a contemplative and semi-abstract way,” he explains. Furneaux began watercolor woodblock printing, mokuhanga, on a scholarship to Tama Art University in Tokyo. He was motivated by a group of Japanese printmakers whom he had met at Peacock Visual Arts in Aberdeen, Scotland where he made large woodblocks in the early 1990s. Furneaux did not make it to Tama until 1996. Events took him first to Mexico where he painted angels, demons and masks in rich colors. “It was an exhilarating if freaky time,” he says, “ending in 46 of my paintings disappearing with an American art dealer. I then spent four years in Japan, studying Japanese and traditional woodblock techniques, finding a new way of expressing myself. A residency in Norway followed where I was surrounded by huge fjords, full of magic, with colors that were intensified by rich sunlight. The culmination was a conceptual shift — I moved from traditional flat, printed works to creating prints as “skins” to clothe three-dimensional works.” Among the themes in Mr. Furneaux’s work is a concern for the ever-changing landscape and global warming. “Rain started to appear in my work as an environmental response and continues to inhabit my thoughts,” he says. Some of his forms speak to the architecture of buildings Furneaux saw in Japan, but also imbue the soft sensual beauty of the trees, the park, the blossom, the soft evening light touching the sides of the harsh glass and concrete blocks.  
You can see the work of both artist’s at art + identity: an international view, this year’s annual Art in the Barn exhibition at browngrotta arts. The exhibition opens on April 27th with an Artists Reception and Opening from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at 276 Ridgefield Road, Wilton, CT. http://www.browngrotta.com/Pages/calendar.php. From April 28th through May 5th, you can visit the exhibition from 10 am to 5 pm. A full-color catalog will be available at browngrotta.com April 27th and we are now taking pre-orders.


Art Assembled: New This Week March

Shades of Green, Dawn MacNutt, twined willow, paint 63.75”x 23” x 20”, 2008

We started off the month of March with a beautiful willow sculpture by Dawn MacNutt. Like many of Macnutt’s pieces, Shades of Green is an interpretation of universal human form. In creating her work, MacNutt draws inspiration from ancient human forms that were present in ancient times, as well as humans and emotions in the present.

Harmony of Yin Yang I, Shin Young-Ok , mosigut (fine threads made of the skin of ramie plant) linen & ramie threads. Korean ramie fabric, 24.875″ x 24.625″ x 1.5″, 2014.

For the second week of March, we broke the status quo and shared a walkthrough of our online Artsy exhibition An Unexpected Approach: Exploring Contemporary Asian Art. The video, which can be viewed on our Instagram, Facebook or YouTube channel, presents viewers from all over the world an opportunity to see an assortment of astonishing Asian-inspired art. If you are curious about a piece in the video walkthrough make sure to check out the exhibition Artsy page HERE, or give us a call.

Water Is Eternity, Keiji Nio, woven and braided nylon, 4.5″ x 4.5″ x 3.74″, 2009. 9th triennale internationale des mini-textiles – Angers 2009.

Next up on the queue was Shin Young-Ok’s Harmony of Yin Yang I. Made using mosigut (fine threads made of skin of ramie plant), linen and ramie threads, Harmony of Yin Yang I explores the origins of harmony in Asian philosophy. The ying yang sign, which is considered complementary rather than oppositional, embodies dualism, the idea that all energy has an equally powerful, opposing energy.

To finish off March we shared Water is Eternity, a woven and braided nylon sculpture by artist Keiji Nio. Nio creates sculptures with the traditional technique of kumihimo. In the past, Nio has used the technique to create works that have been featured in the International Biennial of Tapestry in Lausanne as well as the International Miniature Textile Triennial in Angers, France.