Category: Uncategorized

Marian Bijlenga Takes Grand Prize at the 5th Triennial of Textile Art

Marian Bijlenga being interviewed in front of her work, Large Sampler Dots, Photo by Simon Oud.

Marian Bijlenga being interviewed in front of her work, Large Sampler Dots, Photo by Simon Oud.

Marian Bijlenga‘s significantly sized work, Large Sampler Dots, was awarded the Grand Prix of Božena Augustínová at the 5th Triennial Textile Art of Today exhibition at the Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum in Bratislava, Slovakia. Four hundred artists from 49 countries across 5 continents participated in the competition. Irina Kolesnikova, now of Germany and Joanna Zemanek of Poland were among the artists selected to participate. Zemanek was awarded the Visegrad Award. You can learn more about the work and Bijlenga’s process on the Textile Art of Today site HERE.

This year’s exhibition, continues through November 11, 2018 before touring to other venues in Europe throughout 2019, including:Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum (Slovak republic)
8.9.2018 – 11.11.2018
Tatra Gallery in Poprad (Slovak republic)
25.1.2019 – 16.3.2019The Moravian Museum in Uherské Hradiště (Czech republic)
18.4.2019 – 23.6.2019

On the Flip Side: What the Back of an Art Work May Reveal

More of a mystery — the back of Lenore Tawney’s Untitled Collage, 9.125” x 9”,10/23/64. Photo: Tom Grotta

More of a mystery — the back of Lenore Tawney’s Untitled Collage, 9.125” x 9”,10/23/64. Photo: Tom Grotta

Though artists generally create artwork with the intent for just the front to be viewed, the backs of canvases and tapestries can provide collectors, curators, historians and viewers with an interesting narrative. Since the late 18th century, conservators have been paying attention to the backs of artworks. “Why?” you may ask. The answer is this: the face of a painting communicates its art, but it’s back carries the history of the artwork itself.

The front of Lenore Tawney’s Untitled Collage (1964). Photo: Tom Grotta

The front of Lenore Tawney’s Untitled Collage (1964). Photo: Tom Grotta

“On the backs of canvases, stretcher bars (the wooden framework holding the canvas in place), and the undersides of frames, careful examiners can often find inscriptions left by artists, last-ditch attempts to advocate for works once they’ve left the studio,” explains  Karen Chernick of Artsy in a lengthy piece,“The Secrets Hidden on the Backs of Famous Artworks, (https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-secrets-hidden-backs-famous-artworks?utm_medium=email&utm_source=13995943-newsletter-editorial-daily-07-27-18&utm_campaign=editorial&utm_content=st-S Artists’ inscriptions serve as an important means of ensuring that the important details of a piece, such as its title, date and authorship, are preserved as the piece changes hands through time. In fact, “Versos are also frequently marked by dealers, collectors, and museums, with notations ranging from greased pencil notes to wax seals, exhibition labels, and inventory numbers,” writes Chernick. “Taken together, these markings are akin to a painting’s passport, representing its identity, travels, and even changes of address.”

However, it’s important to note that this practice is individual. There are artists who choose to provide meticulous details—notes, sewn labels, stitched informatio—and artists who leave the back of canvases or tapestries blank. For some artists, discovering provenance requires determined detective work, others offer an open book.

Details from Mariette Rousseau-Vermette’s notes on Joie 2. Photo: Kaitlyn Capps

Details from Mariette Rousseau-Vermette’s notes on Joie 2. Photo: Kaitlyn Capps

Mariette Rousseau-Vermette, for example, used a numbering system on that back of tapestries, which matched the meticulous files that she kept for the 640 signed works she created in her lifetime. Her files offer very detailed information about the nature of her working methods and the means by which she created and executed such commissions. Her commission for the curtain for the main hall of the National Arts Centre in Ottawa include the negotiations leading up to the contract awarded to her for the commission; original sketches documenting her various conceptions for the curtain, blueprints and plans, fabric and textile samples, diagrams relating to the means by which the design would be implemented, correspondence with craftsmen, manufacturers, and other individuals with whom she collaborated to complete the commission, and installation instructions. 

The label for Mariette Rousseau-Vermette’s Joie 2 — the number links to her meticulously maintained files. Photo: Tom Grotta.

The label for Mariette Rousseau-Vermette’s Joie 2 — the number links to her meticulously maintained files.
Photo: Tom Grotta.

In some instances, the backs of art works can give you a peek into an artist’s artistic process. While creating their work, artists who have continually reworked canvases “may cross out bygone titles previously inscribed on stretchers, leaving hints about images cloaked beneath layers of superimposed brushstrokes.”  For 20th-century artists, such as as Josef Albers, writes Chernick, the backs of canvases were the perfect place to leave explanatory appendices. Albers used the back of canvases to record detailed notes on the themes of his series. Chernick quotes Jeanette Redensek, a scholar who has reviewed hundreds of pieces of Albers’ work, used his extensive appendices to differentiate between the varying pigments used in each piece. In his series Homage to the Square, Albers methodically experimented with pigments, creating more than 2,000 variations over the course of 26 years. “When I see the backs of those paintings, I can see that he’s changed out pigments to get a yellow ochre that’s a little darker, a yellow ochre that’s a little lighter, a cadmium yellow, a cadmium yellow light. He’s playing with very fine distinctions in the colors, and so those color notes are essential,” explains Redensek. The backs of Norma Minkowitz’s works provide another example. Replete with thoughts, images, references, they provide an eye into her process.

The label for Mariette Rousseau-Vermette’s Joie 2 — the number links to her meticulously maintained files. Photo: Tom Grotta.

The back for Norma Minkowitz’s Goodbye My Friend
Photo: Tom Grotta.

The information on the back of a canvas can also impact the value of a piece of art. After a piece is consigned to auction, house specialist scan the piece for indicators of authenticity and condition. In some cases, conservators use ultra-light and raking light to unveil hidden details. The extra information uncovered through this research aids collectors and conservators in proving the authenticity of a piece, therefore increasing the value.

The elements — lining, framing, notations — that restorers consider and what auction houses review once a work is consigned is described in detail in, “What the Back of a Painting Reveals About Its History,” from In Good Taste, https://www.invaluable.com/blog/painting-back/?utm_source=brand&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=weeklyblog&utm_content=blog082318. 

The backs of canvases, drawings and tapestries not only provide collectors and conservators with the information needed to prove the authenticity of a work, but presents them with an opportunity to explore an uncharted area of art history.

 

 

 

 

 


Art Assembled: New This Week September

When Green is Gold: Cube connection 14, Noriko Takamiya, paper, 8.5” x 8.5” x 4.5”, 2018. Photo by Tom Grotta

When Green is Gold: Cube connection 14, Noriko Takamiya, paper, 8.5” x 8.5” x 4.5”, 2018. Photo by Tom Grotta

The summer months are coming to an end and the leaves are beginning to fall around us here at browngrotta arts. From Noriko Takamiya ’s When Green is Gold: Cube connection 14 to Nancy Koenigsberg’s Solitary Path, the pieces we shared throughout the summer months presented a deeper look at the diversity of fiber art.

We kicked off September with Noriko Takamiya’s When Green is Gold: Cube connection 14. Takamiya puts a modern twist on traditional Japanese basketmaking methods through her experimentation with weaving techniques. When working on a basket, Takamiya winds hundreds of layers of thin strips of paper around and in between one another until she reaches her desired form. The end result, a three-dimensional puzzle-like basket.

Stitch by Stitch, Heidrun Schimmel, cotton, silk, 83” x 33.5”, 2014. Photo by Tom Grotta.

Stitch by Stitch, Heidrun Schimmel, cotton, silk, 83” x 33.5”, 2014. Photo by Tom Grotta.

Second in September’s queue was Heidrun Schimmel’s Stitch by Stitch. Schimmel, who has been working with textiles since 1958, hand stitches all her work. Through this process she is able to explore the connection between thread and human: “Mythologically, thread is connected to human existence,” says Schimmel. “Its length and quality are metaphors for the duration and character of our lives.” Schimmel’s creative process is quite simple, she begins her pieces by stitching white cotton thread onto transparent black silk. As she continues to stitch, the tensions between the varying layers of thread create deformations, so “the work itself finds its final form through the combination of control and chance.”

Primary Windows at 22 with Blue Spill on the Sill, Sylvia Seventy, molded recycled paper, wax, button drawings, buttons, beads, feathers, cotton thread, staples, 4.5” x 13.5” x 13.5,”. Photo by Tom Grotta

Primary Windows at 22 with Blue Spill on the Sill, Sylvia Seventy, molded recycled paper, wax, button drawings, buttons, beads, feathers, cotton thread, staples, 4.5” x 13.5” x 13.5,”. Photo by Tom Grotta

Next up we featured Californi-based artist Sylvia Seventy’s Primary Windows at 22 with Blue Spill on the Sill. In making her bowls, Seventy carefully molds fibrous recycled paper pulp into her desired form. Through her work, Seventy transforms ordinary materials gathered from her surroundings into extraordinary “mysterious allusions of antiquity.”  The walls of Seventy’s vessels contain a record number of processes, that not only mark change, but tracings of times. For Seventy, “Each work documents a layer of my life. Like a patch in a quilt, a photograph in an album, an object in a box of treasures.”

Solitary Path, Nancy Koenigsberg, coated copper wire, 28” x 28” x 5”, 2018

Solitary Path, Nancy Koenigsberg, coated copper wire, 28” x 28” x 5”, 2018

Last, but certainly not least, we shared Nancy Koenigsberg’s Solitary Path. Koenigsberg, who has lived the majority of her life in an urban environment, finds inspiration in the grid-like pattern of New York City’s streets. Made using lace-like layers of coated copper wire, Koenigsberg’s Solitary Path explores the relationship between shadows and space. The contrast between light and shadow transforms her works into a paradoxical study of “delicacy and fragility juxtaposed with the strength of steel and copper employed in their making.”


Fiber Art Up and Comers

Paniers-liens III, Séphanie Jacques
carved wood (ash), white willow, hemp rope, red, wool, 21.25” to 43.25” x 15.5” x 17.75”,2011.
Paniers-liens II, Stéphanie Jacques
carved wood (ash), white willow, hemp, rope, red wool, 22” x 17.25” x 17.25”, 2011

Earlier this year, we compared Artsy‘s list of fiber art pioneers and ours (see also Craft in America’s Pioneering Women in Craft). In the years since contemporary fiber first gained international attention, a group of younger artists have continued to experiment. Numerous artists from a decade or two or three later are identified as continuing innovations in this field, including Rosemary Troeckel, Lesley Dill, and Ernesto Neto and more recently, Sophie Narrett and Orly Cogan.

Of the artists that work with browngrotta arts, we’d point to five who continue to redefine the practice. Stéphanie Jacques of Belgium, combines clay, wood, photography, knitting and basketmaking to create works that reveal what is unseen.

Macramé Black Shell n.1, Federica Luzzi, cotton cord, wax, graphite, 13” x 12” x 6.5”, 2008

Federica Luzzi of Italy, uses fiber to illustrate natural phenomena. Her current series of elegant macramés were born of conversations with researchers at the National Institute of Nuclear Physics in Frascati, Italy about concepts of dark matter, antimatter, nuclear, subnuclear physics and the particle accelerator.

Transición, Eduardo Portillo & Mariá Eugenia Dávila, alpaca; metallic yarns and silver leaf; moriche palm fiber, silk, 56" x 24.25”, 2018

Transición, Eduardo Portillo & Mariá Eugenia Dávila, alpaca; metallic yarns and silver leaf; moriche palm fiber, silk, 56″ x 24.25”, 2018

Eduardo Portillo and Maria Dávila from Venezuela take an experimental approach to all aspects of their work — sourcing, technique and materials. The artists spent several years in China and India studying sericulture, or silk farming, and since then their research has taken them worldwide. In Venezuela they established the entire process of silk manufacture: growing mulberry trees on the slopes of the Andes, rearing silkworms, obtaining threads from other locally sourced fibers, coloring them all with natural dyes and designing and weaving innovative textiles. This works include woven “mosaics” from their Indigo series. More recently, the couple has been incorporating copper and bronze into their work, using textiles as inspiration for works that are cast in bronze. The couple was awarded with a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship in 2017. Sue Lawty from the UK, has used her prodigious weaving skills to weave lead, and for the last few years, has created assemblages comprised of literally thousands of tiny stones, a pixilated ‘cloth’ of sorts.


Behind the Scenes: Drop Off at Helena Hernmarck’s

We recently took a trip up to Helena Hernmarck’s studio to loan back a few pieces for her upcoming solo exhibition Helena Hernmarck: Weaving In Progress at the Aldrich Museum. Located in Ridgefield, Connecticut, Helena’s studio is only a few miles from browngrotta arts.

A perfectly organized wall of color expands the entire length of the south side of Hernmarck’s studio. The wall acts as a storage for skeins of wool Hernmarck uses in her tapestries. The different skeins are precisely organized by their unique colors and tones, making it easier for Hernmarck to find a specific color when needed. Hernmarck is very particular about the quality of the materials she uses in her work. All the wool she uses is
rya wool, sourced from a specific breed of heirloom sheep in Sweden. The wool is also custom-dyed and spun to her specifications at a family-run spinning mill in Sweden, the place Hernmarck called home before emigrating to Canada, the UK and then settling in the US. Hernmarck has worked with browngrotta arts for more than 20 years, her work is included in 11 of browngrotta arts’ catalogs, including Helena Hernmarck and Markku Kosonen from 1994. Her commissions are found in dozens of corporations, museums and private collections.

Watching Hernmarck work leaves one in awe. Using a technique of her own invention, she is able to conjure details from our visual world, such as sunlight on waters and sails swelling in the wind. Every one of Hernmarck’s tapestries begin with an image, which is then blown up into her desired weaving size. From there, Hermarck plots her working plan on graph paper and produces a certain number of linear inches or feet per day so her commissions are completed on time. This technique allows Hermarck to capture even the smallest details in her weavings. Hernmarck’s attention to detail and her ability to portray subtle color variations, reflections and shadows are extraordinary. From a distance, Hermarck’s weavings look as if they are a single printed blown up photograph. On closer inspection, however, the thousands of strings of wool dissolve into interlaced pieces of warp and weft.


While visiting her studio, we also discussed her upcoming solo exhibition at the Aldrich Museum. Hernmarck never expected the Aldrich Museum’s invitation. “I did not expect to hear from them, after 38 years in town,” explains Hernmarck. “It was so positive that they were interested to show a textile artist in action. Things are changing…”Textiles have gained tremendous notoriety in the art world in recent years. Collectors, museums and art-lovers are becoming more aware of their allure.

Weaving In Progress will be the first solo exhibition of Hernmarck’s work in the United States since 2012. Given that the Aldrich is in Hernmarck’s hometown makes the exhibition all the more special. To be recognized for her accomplishments there is significant for Hernmarck. “It has been said that you can never be a prophet in your own land,” she explains.

In addition to presenting a variety of her work, Hernmarck herself will also be a part of the exhibition. During the exhibition, Hernmarck and her assistant Mae Colburn will create a work in situ, weaving three days a week in the exhibition space. The final work will be 55 inches wide and 40 inches tall, created on a five-foot-wide loom.“My assistant will be weaving with me as she is still in the learning curve,” Hernmarck says. Hernmarck’s aim for the exhibition is simple and direct. She hopes that “visitors will be inspired to do things with their hands and to get away from their computers” in this increasingly technology-focused world.


Art Assembled: New This Week July

Stellae Pavonis, Federica Luzzi, waxed cotton cord, silk, cotton, rayon, polyester thread, copper wire, 25.25” x 21.25” x 3.25, 2018

Stellae Pavonis, Federica Luzzi, waxed cotton cord, silk, cotton, rayon, polyester thread, copper wire, 25.25” x 21.25” x 3.25, 2018. Photo by Tom Grotta

July was quite the month for us here at browngrotta arts. Not only did we share some spectacular new pieces on our social media, but we also shared behind the scenes shots of our pick-up at Norma Minkowitz’s studio, photos of pieces that have been acquired by major museums as well as photos of a few of our favorite artist collaborations. Here is a breakdown of the new art we shared on our social media throughout July:

To kick off July we shared Federica Luzzi’s Stellae Pavonis. In Latin, Stellae Pavonis translates to “the stars of the peacock.” “In the eye of the peacock’s feather and in its tail, which shows and closes the cosmic unfolding and all the manifestations that also appear and disappear quickly, there is a space left free, without boundaries,” explains Luzzi. “This space is in the closed eyes when we dream and in the open eyes when our attention is active.” You can view Stellae Pavonis in space HERE.

Rough Sea of Sado, polyester, aramid fiber, 48.25” x 47.5”, 2016

Rough Sea of Sado, polyester, aramid fiber, 48.25” x 47.5”, 2016. Photo by Tom Grotta

Next up, we shared Keiji Nio’s Rough Sea of Sado. Rough Sea of Sado is an imagined haiku from Japanese haiku master Matsuo Basho. In his haiku Rough Sea of Sado, Basho “describes the deep blue waves of the of the Sea of Japan as they are reflected in the night sky and the light blue waves as they hit the beach.”

 

Amazonas, Carolina Yrarrázaval, yute, jute, raffia and silk, 35.5” x 39.25”, 2017

Amazonas, Carolina Yrarrázaval, yute, jute, raffia and silk, 35.5” x 39.25”, 2017. Photo by Tom Grotta

 

Carolina Yrarrázaval combines jute, raffia and silk to create Amazonas. The bold wall-hanging came about as a result of Yrarrázaval’s strong fascination with resilient people of the Amazon who live in harmony with nature. “Remarkable primitive communities, they are preservers of ancient traditions,” writes Yrarrázaval. “Their exuberant green, full of life, moves me to an infinite emotion.”

Dutch Blue (Oval), Marian Bijlenga, camelhair, fabric, stitched, 34” x 34”, 2006. Photo by Tom Grotta

 

In making Dutch Blue Marian Bijlenga drew inspiration from blue-and-white pottery (Delftware and Delft Pottery) made in and around Delft in the Netherlands. Delftware is part of the of the worldwide family of blue-and-white pottery, using variations of the plant-based decoration first developed in 14th-century Chinese porcelain. Marian Bijlenga’s Dutch Blue is inspired by the patterns of Chinese porcelain and the Japanese philosophy of the Kintsugi. Kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery, treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object. To this day,  Broken shards of pottery remain in the Dutch canals. See Dutch Blue in detail HERE.

Doorway, Rebecca Medel, knotted linen and cotton 5 planes, 51.5” x 32.25” x 8”, 1996

Doorway, Rebecca Medel, knotted linen and cotton 5 planes, 51.5” x 32.25” x 8”, 1996. Photo by Tom Grotta

 

We wrapped up July with Doorway by Rebecca Medel. “During the decades that I used knotted netted grids to create open planes, I constructed several pieces with the door as a structure to symbolize the transition and passageway from one place to another,” says Medel. “The open grid suggests a possibility that the door could be an entry or exit from one dimension to another dimension, and form finite space to infinite space.”


Collaborations: Creativity x 2

Artist collaborations account for some of the greatest pieces ever made. For example, the 1874 collaborative exhibition between Monet, Renoir, Morisot, Cézanne in which the called themselves the “Société Anonyme des Artes” helped establish the artists in the art world. In fact, it was a snide remark by art critic Louise Leroy of the show, which he called ‘The Exhibition of Impressionists” that established the impressionist style and movement (Financial Times).

Dail Behennah’s Studio Work-board. Photo: Dail Behennah via In.Dialogue

“History has proved time and again that two creative minds can sometimes be better than one,” explains Nadja Bozovic of Agora Gallery. “Even today, artists are increasing collaborating with each other and with creative professions from other fields.” Laura Ellen Bacon and Chris Drury have both collaborated with or inspired creators in different fields, Bacon with composer Helen Grime and Drury with poet Kay Syrad. Historically, many renowned artists have collaborated with their significant others. Artists and couple Debra Sachs and Marilyn Keating were the focus of a collaborative exhibition at the Stockton University Art Gallery in 2016. Collaborations between couples, which require much trust and respect, fuse the differing talents, ideas and creative energies of the individuals. In the end, artists don’t see collaborations as a way to create masterpieces, instead, artists see it as a way to force themselves into uncomfortable territory and break old habits while also breaking new ground. Several of browngrotta arts’artists have been part of these fruitful arrangements, including:

 

Dail Behennah and Jessica Turrell

Dail Behennah and Jessica Turrell started a joint adventure with their collaborative blog, In.dialogue. Through the years Behennah and Turrell have had numerous conversations about their work. They originally thought that they would create a body of work on a common them, but the more they explored the idea the more they realized it was the conversation around their work they valued the most. “Trust is an important aspect of a project,” Turrell explains “we need to be able to challenge and support each other in the sometimes difficult  process of thinking and talking about our work, and of pushing ourselves to do something new.”

Laura Ellen Bacon's Woven Space at the Chatsworth House. Photo: The Chatsworth House Trust

Laura Ellen Bacon’s Woven Space at the Chatsworth House. Photo: The Chatsworth House Trust

Laura Ellen Bacon & Helen Grime

Composer Helen Grime’s piece Woven Space was inspired by the work of Laura Ellen Bacon. Grime was inspired by the way in which Bacon’s sculptures embrace, surround and engulf architecture and natural landscape. Grime’s Woven Space comes from Bacon’s 2009 willow sculpture in the Chatsworth House gardens. Grime did not set out to create a literal musical representation of Bacon’s work sculptural work, instead, she worked to parallel the intertwining limbs of Bacon’s sculptural work with her score.

Debra Sachs and Marilyn Keating:

Debra Sachs and her partner Marilyn Keating held a collaborative exhibition at the Stockton University Art Gallery in 2016. The exhibition, titled Going Solo and Tandem, featured individual and joint work the couple produced over the course of 30 years. Sachs and Keating, who met in the early 1970s during their time as students at the Moore College of Art in Philadelphia, are both influenced by their surroundings. Keating, who primarily works with wood, creates depictions of kites, birds, bugs and dogs. Sachs, who mainly works in the form of abstract paintings and three-dimensional pieces, takes a more design-oriented approach to her work. “It’s more about colors and shapes of landscapes,” explains Sachs. “For Marilyn, it’s more about fish and whatever kinds of things you can find. More Narrative stuff. She can make a bird on a band saw. Those are skills I don’t even have.” Though their influences and methods are quite different, the two are able to meld their style when working together. Typically, Keating builds the structures and Sachs designs and paints the structures’ surface.

Sounding, Donald Fortesque and Lawrence LaBianca, 2008. Photo by Lawrence LaBianca

Sounding, Donald Fortesque and Lawrence LaBianca, 2008. Photo by Lawrence LaBianca.

Chris Drury & Kay Syrad

In May, Chris Drury collaborated with Kay Syrad to host a five-day art.earth intensive. Throughout the intensive, titled “Context and Form: Art and Writing,” Drury shared how he works with form, including whirlpool, vortex, fractal and wave patterns.  In order to work with such patterns, Drury explores and investigates how the earth unfolds these specific aesthetic forms. Syrad, a novelist and poet, had collaborated with Drury on a number of art-text projects. Participants immersed themselves in the landscape by walking, collecting and working on pieces during short lectures, shared conversation and studio time.

Lawrence LaBianca and Donald Fortescue

In 2011, Lawrence LaBianca collaborated with Donald Fortescue to create Sounding for the Milwaukee Art Museum’s exhibition The New Materiality: Digital Dialogues at the Boundaries of Contemporary Craft. The artists selected for the exhibition were established American crafts artists who blended traditional craft materials (i.e. fabric, glass, wood, metal and clay) with digital technologies, therefore, blurring the boundaries between the traditionally established categories of craft, art and design. Sounding, which happened to be one of the largest pieces in the exhibition, explored the relationship between technology and nature. In making Sounding, Fortescue and LaBiance were inspired by Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. The artists’ fascination with Moby Dick came in part from “its detailed evocation of the bygone crafts of sailing and whaling and the struggles of men at sea.” The two lowered a cabriole-legged table into the ocean near Pillar Point in Half Moon Bay with a hydrophone and left in in the ocean for two months to record the ambient sound. “Sounding provides a direct link to the living oceans surrounding the Bay Area through sight, sound, smell, and touch. In both form and concept it also links to the historical, literary, and metaphorical oceans of Moby-Dick,” explains LaBianca


Art Acquisitions: Part 1

Over the course of the last year many browngrotta arts artists have had pieces acquired by institutions all across the globe.

Untitled, monofilament, Kay Sekimachi, monofilament, 57” x 14” x 14”, circa mid-70’s

Untitled, monofilament, Kay Sekimachi, monofilament, 57” x 14” x 14”, circa mid-70’s

Kay Sekimachi – Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

A hanging sculpture of monofilament, Untitled, was acquired, through browngrotta arts, by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Sekimachi made only 20 monofilaments during the span of her entire career. Untitled is the Museum’s fourth piece by Sekimachi. The Museum’s other pieces include Haleakala, Leaf Vessel #203 and Hornet’s Nest Bowl #103.

Kyoko Kumai –  Oita City Museum of Art

The Oita City Museum of Art, Prefecture, Japan acquired Kyoko Kumai’s  Way of Water・Grass. Additionally,  Kumai’s piece, Air, has been acquired by the Manggha Museum of Japanese Art. Technology. Air is currently featured in the Manggha’s exhibition Kyoko Kumai. Air, which is part of The Buddhism Project – a series of events, exhibitions and lectures that seek to

Examine historical and cultural role that Buddhism has played in the countries of the Far East, as well as its influence on the culture of the West. Kyoko Kumai. Air. Will be on display through August 26th.

Matrix II-201011, Chang Yeonsoon, indigo dyed abaca fiber, 26.75” x 26.5 “x 10”, 2010. Photo by Tom Grotta

Matrix II-201011, Chang Yeonsoon, indigo dyed abaca fiber, 26.75” x 26.5 “x 10”, 2010. Photo by Tom Grotta

 

Ane Henriksen – Danish Arts Foundation

The Danish Arts Foundation, Copenhagen, Denmark acquired two works By Ane Henriksen. The pieces acquired, Business Sky and National Tartan – DK were both part of Henriksen’s solo exhibition Jens Søndergaard with the touch of Ane Henriksen at the Heltborg Museum, Thy, Denmark.

Chang Yeon-Soon – Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois recently acquired Chang Yeon-Soon’s Matrix II-201011 through browngrotta arts. Matrix II-201011 was featured in browngrotta arts’ exhibition Stimulus: art and its inception. Yeon-Soon’s Matrix 132570 was also acquired by the Racine Art Museum, Racine, Wisconsin.

Red Horizontal Line, Gudrun Pagter, 280 cm x 240 cm x 0.5 cm, sisal and flax, 2016. Photo: Danish Arts Foundation

Keiji Nio – The Musées d’ Angers

The Musées d’ Angers, Angers, France has acquired both Keiji Nio’s Red Area and Code d’accés. The Museum, which is located in the historic centre of Angers on an ancient medieval site, consists of several buildings from various epochs.

Gudrun Pagter – Danish Arts Foundation

The Danish Arts Foundation, Copenhagen, Denmark has acquired a piece from artist Gudrun Pagter. The piece, Red Horizontal Line, is now on display at the Aalborg University, Institute for Architecture and Media Technology.

Dona Look – Museum of Wisconsin Art

The Museum of Wisconsin Art acquired one of Dona Look’s baskets. The basket, which is made from white birch bark and waxed silk thread was a gift of Dennis Rocheleau and the GE Foundation. This is the Museum of Wisconsin Art’s third acquisition of Look’s work.

 


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.