Art Out and About: Patrick Dougherty at the Ackland Art Museum


Step Right Up at the Ackland Art Museum. Photo by Emily Bowles Raised in North Carolina and an alumnus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, sculptor Patrick Dougherty returned to his roots to create Step Right Up for the Ackland Art Museum last October. Internationally acclaimed for his monumental environmental works, Dougherty has produced over 280 large scale stick sculptures all over the world. You’ll know one of Dougherty’s sculptures when you see one. “Some cling to pylons or walls, or roll across the tops of trees; others emerge from a lake, seeming to balance on the surface of it without making a single ripple,” explains Daniel Wallace of Garden & Gun. “His sculptures do impossible things. They could be homes for giants or trolls, the first shelters built by prehistoric men, Gaudí-esque mazes, giant vines, remnants of alien visitations, windblown towers, jokes. They are fun, joyous, friendly, inviting, and public, very public: art conceived by one, built by many, shared by all.”

Dougherty working on Step Right Up. Photo: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

What separates Step Right Up from Dougherty’s other installations is that it is in his hometown of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Dougherty earned his B.A. in English from the UNC in 1967 and later returned to study art history and sculpture. Before he began using sticks as his medium, Dougherty sculpted with clay. However, while using clay Dougherty was unable to achieve the scale he desired for his sculptures. While studying at UNC, Dougherty developed the idea of using sticks as his medium. Dougherty found that using sticks allowed him to bend and extend long lines, he could create his own monumental three-dimensional drawings. In order to effectively use sticks to create sculptures, Dougherty had to gain a better understanding of how shelter builders, such as birds and beavers, build their homes. “Sticks have an inherent method of joining…and that tangling allows you to hook them together,” Dougherty explains.


Unknown, Iranian, Caspian Region, ca. early 1st millennium B.C., Animal-shaped Pouring Vessel, earthenware, Overall: 8 3/4 x 12 x 6 3/16 in. (22.3 x 30.5 x 15.7 cm) Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Gift of Osborne and Gratia B. Hauge in honor of Dr. and Mrs. Sherman E. Lee, 91.21 © Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Dougherty often does not know what he is going to build until after he arrives at the installation site. Once he arrives, Dougherty has to source both volunteers and materials. For his exhibition Step Right Up at the Ackland Art Museum Dougherty was able to source his materials—maple and gum saplings—from Duke Forest and Triangle Land Conservancy, organizations Dougherty has had long relationships with throughout his career. Dougherty chooses to enlist the help of volunteers on his projects because he finds it interesting how varying types of characters can come together to create one piece. Dougherty’s creative process has three steps: 1) Structural formation—building the basic shape, 2) Appliqué—appliquéing a look onto the surface of the piece and 3) Cosmetic—fixing up and making it habitable for people to enjoy from both the inside and outside. In creating Step Right Up for the Ackland, Dougherty was inspired by the Ackland’s collection of ancient animal pouring vessels. The vessels, which usually have an animal head from which water is poured, typically have traditional tops. Dougherty liked the idea of having a mixed shape and applied it to his sculpture in Step Right Up.

“I think that part of my work’s allure is its impermanence, the life cycle that is built into the growth and decay of saplings,” explains Dougherty. “The line between trash and treasure is thin, and the sculptures, like the sticks they are made from, begin to fade after two years. Often the public imagines that a work of art should be made to last, but I believe that a sculpture, like a good flower bed, has its season.” Bounded to the installations organic material and outdoor setting, Dougherty’s Step Right Up is a temporary installation. The installation is expected to be on view through August 31, 2018 at the Ackland Art Museum in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. For more information, visit:

Art Assembled: New This Week February


Inspired by her lifelong love of human condition, Dawn MacNutt’s work remains centered on the “beauty of human frailty. Witnessing small, yet meaningful human interactions, such as seeing people experience pain, love and joy, has had a lasting impact on MacNutt’s work. To obtain material for her work, MacNutt utilizes the nature around her, using willow harvested from the ditches and lanes around her home in Nova Scotia. 

Praise, Dawn MacNutt, inflorescens and reed, 19”x 4”x 5”, 2007. Photo by Tom Grotta

Praise, Dawn MacNutt, inflorescens and reed, 19”x 4”x 5”, 2007. Photo by Tom Grotta

Made solely from paper, Cube Connection 09 showcase Noriko Takamiya’s non-traditional basketry techniques. Despite choosing differing methods, Takamiya still feels connected to ancient basketmakers. “I find myself in the same situation,” explains Takamiya. “Even if the resulting objects are different, the ancient basketmakers and I do the same thing, which is to seek the techniques and materials to develop into one’s own work.”

Cube Connection 09, Noriko Takamiya paper, 4” x 13” x 7”, 2016. Photo by Tom Grotta

Cube Connection 09, Noriko Takamiya
paper, 4” x 13” x 7”, 2016. Photo by Tom Grotta

In 1975, Kyoko Kumai began using metallic materials such as stainless steel filaments in her sculptures. The malleable nature of the stainless steel allows it to be woven, twisted or bundled to create sensuous forms in order to express aspects of wind, air and light. “Thin pieces of stainless steel wire create a richly expressive fabric that does not stand solidly, cleaving the air,” explains Kumai. “It has its own language fluttering above the floor; breathing and melting into the air.” 

Kyoko Kumai, 32kk Memory stainless steel filaments 41” x 19” x 19”, 2017. Photo by Tom Grotta

Memory, Kyoko Kumai,
stainless steel filaments
41” x 19” x 19”, 2017. Photo by Tom Grotta

Ex Claim! by Gyöngy Laky is sure to grab your attention. Made using G.I. Joes and bullets, the piece serves as Laky’s personal examination of our complex relationships with the world around us. Laky’s works often have underlying themes of opposition to war and militarism. Born in Hungary in 1944, the physical and emotional effects of war impacted Laky from a very young age. In her opinion, “We are smart enough to have moved beyond war as a means of dealing with problems by now.”

Ex Claim! commercial wood"; 2014; G.I. Joes; acrylic paint; "bullets for building (trim screws), 64” x 21” x 7”". Photo by Tom Grotta.

Ex Claim!, Gyöngy Laky,
commercial wood”; 2014; G.I. Joes; acrylic paint; “bullets for building (trim screws),
64” x 21” x 7”. Photo by Tom Grotta.




Text/iles: On Art that Includes Words and Text.

January 21 – May 6, 2018
Written languages are just one of the many ways human beings attempt to communicate with one another. In Text Message: Words and Letters in Contemporary Art, currently on exhibit at the Racine Art Museum in Wisconsin, contemporary artists, recognizing the power and complexity of the written word, utilize text—individual letters or words—to explore theoretical, social, symbolic, and aesthetic concerns.

Sampler (Jacket)

2 Laws, Barbara Brandel, Sampler (Jacket), 1995, dyed cotton, silk, and wool
Photo by Jon Bolton, Racine Art Musuem.

Bird Brain

Bird Brain, John McQueen, woven willow twigs, waxed string, 2002, photo by Tom Grotta. On close inspection, the names of various birds are legible.


OLL KORRECT, Gyöngy Laky, apricot, finished pine, vinyl-caoted steel nails, 1998

The Congressional Record

The Congressional Record, Kate Hunt, nails, twine, encaustic and Congressional Record pages.

paper collage

Torso, Miriam Londoño, paper collage, 2011

The exhibition includes works that use words, letters, and script to convey meaning. Tangible three-dimensional objects made of fiber, clay, polymer, paper, and metal along with two-dimensional works on paper underscore how contemporary artists recognize the power and complexity of the written word. John McQueen and Gyöngy Laky are among the 77 artists whose work is included. The exhibition ends on May 6, 2018. For more information, visit: To pique your interest, here are some images of art by various artists who incorporate or reference text in their work.

Heidrun Schimmel

was du weiß auf schwarz besitzt (text/textile), Heidrun Schimmel, cotton and silk, 2009, photo by Tom Grotta. Not literally text, but stitching that feels like a message to be deciphered.

Toshio Sekiji

Shadow Alphabet, Toshio Sekiji, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Indian newspapers; postcards; thin, Thai paper (backing); brown and black lacquer; acrylic varnish,  2002, photo by Tom Grotta

HeArt-ists: Creative Couples

Power couples in the art world abound: Pablo Picasso and François Gilot, Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner, Georgia O’Keefe and Alfred Steiglitz. Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, Joseph and Anni Albers among them (see the In Good Taste, blog post, “12 Prolific Artist Couples,” for more: At browngrotta arts we’ve worked with several such couples or with one of such a pair. In honor of Valentine’s Day, a toast to them:
Power Couple Kobayashi's at browngrotta arts

Masakazu and Naomi Kobayashi installing Cosmos 98 at browngrotta arts for the opening of Tradition Transformed: Contemporary Japanese textile art & fiber sculpture

Masakazu/Naomi Kobayashi:
Masakazu and Naomi often collaborated on projects in the years before his death. In their collaborations, in the US, Israel, Singapore, France and JapanMasa and Naomi, generally created individual works that were installed together. Masa once explained the impetus behind their cooperative works: “These works express a shared vision and such common themes as the tranquility of nature, the infinity of the universe and the Japanese spirit. Naomi and I work in fiber because natural materials have integrity, are gentle and flexible. In my own work, I search for an equilibrium between my capacity as a creator and the energy of the world around me.”
Power Couple Rossbach/Westphal

Ed Rossbach and Katherine Westphal in their apartment in Berkley California

Ed Rossbach/Katherine Westphal: Ed Rossbach and Katherine Westphal were both innovators — he a maker of nonfunctional art baskets; she in her work with xerography and art quilts. The pair loved to travel and images and influences from those visits appear in their work in various ways. Images from the American West, including bison and feathers, appear in both Rossbach’s baskets and drawings and in Westphal’s wall hangings of tapas bark. Westphal made color photocopies of photos she took on their travels through Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and with a heat transfer process, inserted these images into her quilts and wearable art. Rossbach took photo images and reconstructed them with stitching and pins.

Power Couple Marriage in Form

Marriage in Form Set
Bob Stocksdale/Kay Sekimachi, Pistashio wood and Japanese paper with fibers, 1999

Kay Sekimachi/Bob Stocksdale: Kay Sekimachi and her late husband, woodturner Bob Stocksdale, collaborated to create an entire series of work, exhibited across the US as Marriage in Form. Sekimachi used his turned wood vessels as a form to shape her own ber vessels from hornet’s nest paper. Sekimachi applies a base layer of Kozo paper to a wood form, then laminates the hornet’s nest paper. The resulting objects appears delicate and ethereal but is actually stiff and stable.

Power Couple Claude Vermette and Mariette Rousseau-Vermette

Claude Vermette and Mariette Rousseau-Vermette, painting and tapestry

Claude Vermette/Mariette Rousseau-Vermette: For several decades, this couple worked in separate studios, in different media, in different ways. Yet, as the Museum of Contemporary Art in Baie St. Paul, Quebec noted when mounting a posthumous retrospective of Vermette’s paintings, ceramics and sculpture and Rousseau-Vermette’s tapestries, they shared “a common spirit, strong affinities and correspondences, links of course emotional and intellectual, the same historical and sociological context and the crossing of an important period of time.”

Debra Sachs_ Marilyn Keating

Debra Sach’s/Marilyn Keating’s joint exhibition, Going Solo & Tandem at the Stockton College Art Gallery, NJ 2014

Debra Sachs/Marilyn Keating: Sachs and Keatings met in the early 1970s when they were students at the Moore College of Art in Philadelphia. They were married in 2014. Their works — made spearately and together are showcased at The South Jersey Museum of Curiosities — not a physical location but a website they share ( Their individual works take different directions. Keating’s is more narrative, including depistions of fish, birds, bugs and dogs. Sachs describes herself as more design oriented. When they collaborate as they have in public commissions like Waders and Flockers 2011 at Stockton College, they divide the work — Keating builds the structure; Sachs completes the designs and paints the surface.
John McQueen/Margo Mensing: This couple, he a sculpture and basketmaker, she a poet and artist whose multimedia installations incorporate sculpture, ceramic and textiles, have exhibited together in New York, Massachusetts and New Zealand. In New Zealand, Mensing carved words into tree trunks.  “Marks made here,” she carved, “are no more than scars on these upstart upstanding trees – as brief as grass.”
Leon/Sharon Niehues: Leon and Sharon Niehues have created baskets together, including a basket-in-a-basket woven for the White House Collection of Contemporary Crafts created during the Clinton Administration. The couple moved from Kansas to the Ozarks in the 70s and learned basketmaking from by a book by the Arkansas Extension Service that explained how to make a white-oak basket from a tree. In his individual work over the last several years, Leon has focused on reinterpretingclassical and traditional forms.
To Love…

Art Assembled: New This Week January

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Artsy’s Take on Textile Pioneers and Ours

Bobbin Lace with Openings, Ed Rossbach, plastic tubing, bobbin lace 20.5" x 44.5", 1970

Bobbin Lace with Openings, Ed Rossbach, plastic tubing, bobbin lace 20.5″ x 44.5″, 1970

Last fall, Artsy compiled information and slide shows on 10 artists the author, Sarah Gottesman, viewed as pioneers. Click HERE to read Artsy’s article. We have our own nominees for such a list, including Ed Rossbach who experimented with materials and techniques in the 60s, creating bobbin lace from plastic tubing and vessels of cereal boxes and tubing, and Lia Cook, who has combined weaving, painting, photography and digital technology, focusing on the history and meaning of textiles, shattering restrictive theories about craft, art, science and technology in the process. Gyöngy Laky has experimented in sculpture of twigs and wood, hardware and wire — creating vessels, forms, wall work and typography. Kay Sekimachi created ethereal 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 grid that are reminiscent of the paintings of Agnes Martin.
Intensity Tera Data woven cotton and rayon 50.5” x 332”, 2014 23lc Neural Networks woven cotton and rayon 81” x 51”, 2011 27lc Intensity Su Data Encore woven cotton and rayon 52” x 40”, 2014

Intensity Tera Data, woven cotton and rayon, 50.5” x 332”, 2014
Neural Networks, woven cotton and rayon, 81” x 51”, 2011
 Intensity Su Data Encore, woven cotton and rayon, 52” x 40”, 2014

You can learn more about these and other artists through our catalog, Influence and Evolution: Fiber Sculpture…then and now , which profiles 15 pioneering fiber artists who took textiles off the wall in the 60s and 70s to create three-dimensional fiber sculpture and 15 artists born in 1960 or after, who have continued that innovative approach.
Gyöngy Laky Currency Art

Gyöngy Laky Currency Art

Homage to Paul Klee, Kay Sekimachi, linen, painted warp & weft with dye, permament marker, modified plain weave, 13.25” x 12”, 2013

Homage to Paul Klee, Kay Sekimachi, linen, painted warp & weft with dye, permament marker, modified plain weave, 13.25” x 12”, 2013

Color of the Year: Ultraviolet

Conde Nast Traveler has circled the globe, finding places where you can see Ultraviolet, Pantone’s Color of the Year, around the world. Closer to home, we’ve traveled browngrotta’s inventory to bring you artworks that envision violet for you to view: Studium Faktur, Magdalena Abakanowicz; Two Runner Pots, Katherine Westphal; Palisades, Anna Urbanowicz-Krowacka; Purple Meets Pink, Axel Russmeyer; Purple & Gold Egg Basket, Chunghi Choo, Detail of Dark, Ulla-Maija Vikman, No. 79, Scott Rothstein and Traces 3 Relief, Mia Olsson.

Studium Faktur, Magdalena Abakanowicz, sisal, 54" x 43" x 9", 1964

Studium Faktur, Magdalena Abakanowicz, sisal, 54″ x 43″ x 9″, 1964

Two Runner Pots, Katherine Westphal, heat transfer photo copy collage drawing, 22" x 30", 1993

Two Runner Pots, Katherine Westphal, heat transfer photo copy collage drawing, 22″ x 30″, 1993

Palisades, Anna Urbanowicz-Krowacka, wool and sisal, 55" x 70", 1992

Palisades, Anna Urbanowicz-Krowacka, wool and sisal, 55″ x 70″, 1992

PURPLE MEETS PINK Axel Russmeyer, polyester thread on cardboard bubbins, nylon thread, ribbon, aluminum, 5" (d), 2010.

Axel Russmeyer, polyester thread on cardboard bubbins, nylon thread, ribbon, aluminum, 5″ (d), 2010.

PURPLE & GOLD EGG BASKET Chunghi Choo wire mesh 12" x 12" x 10" 1993

Chunghi Choo
wire mesh
12″ x 12″ x 10″

 Dark, Ulla Vikman, painted viscose and linen, steel, 71" x 16.5"; 180cm x 42cm, 2003

Dark, Ulla Vikman, painted viscose and linen, steel, 71″ x 16.5″; 180cm x 42cm, 2003

#79, Scott Rothstein, hand stiched silk thread on silk ground, in black wood frame with museum glass, 13" x 13", 2000

#79, Scott Rothstein, hand stiched silk thread on silk ground, in black wood frame with museum glass, 13″ x 13″, 2000

Traces 3 Relief, Mia Olsson, sisal and coconut fibers on blastered acrylic glass, 14" x 11.875" x 1.25", 36 x 30cm, 2006

Traces 3 Relief, Mia Olsson, sisal and coconut fibers on blastered acrylic glass, 14″ x 11.875″ x 1.25″, 36 x 30cm, 2006



Books Make Great Gifts, Part 2

From Tapestry To Fiber Art The Laussane Biennials 1962-1995 Bokk Spread

From Tapestry To Fiber Art The Laussane Biennials 1962-1995. Pictured works by Mariette-Rousseau Vermette, Cynthia Schira and Lenore Tawney

Two January arrivals to review and one fav from last year to highlight: We were delighted to receive our copy of From Tapestry to Fiber Art: The Lausanne Biennals 1962-1995 by Giselle Eberhard Cotton and you can order it now from browngrotta arts. The book contains many never-before-published images from the Biennials and insightful essays, as well.

At the end of World War II, the art of tapestry experienced a renewal. By organizing the International Tapestry Biennials in 1962, the city of Lausanne, Switzerland became the international showcase of contemporary textile creation. The Lausanne Biennials gradually became more than just an exhibition. but a not-to-be-missed event that bore witness to the extraordinary evolution of an artistic expression that had graduated from a decorative art to that of a truly independent art form. In the 30 years that the exhibitions were held, 600 artists participated, 911 works were exhibited. The book contains many never-before-published images from the Biennials and insightful essays, as well.

Artisans of Israel Book Cover

Aleksandra Stoyanov spread

Artisans of Israel Transcending Tradition. Aleksandra Stoyanov pictured

Another newly published title we’ve enjoyed is Artisans of Israel: Transcending Tradition by Lynn Holstein (Arnoldsche Art Publishers). Intriguing portraits of dozens of artists are featured, from a Bedouin ceramist, Zenab Garbia, who use cross-stitch patterns in her works, to Russian emigre, Aleksandra Stoyanov who creates evocative tapestries, to Gali Cnaani, whose grandparents emigrated to Israel from Romania and Slovakia and who creates hybrid textiles from meticulously modified items of used clothing. The book features studio photos and portraits of workshops and design brands.

This Way In and Out by Gyöngy Laky from the Box Project Exhibition

Both Heidrun Schimmel and Gyøngy Laky had high praise for The Box Project: Works from the Lloyd Cotsen Collectionedited by Lyssa Stapleton (Cotsen Occasional Press, Los Angeles, 2016). “This catalog itself is an art object! The essays answer very important fundamental questions in textile art and the photographs are in high quality,” writes Heidrun Schimmel. “At the risk of being shamelessly self-promoting,” Gyöngy Laky also recommended the catalog/book that accompanied the unusual, traveling exhibition, which includes Laky’s and Schimmel’s work among that of many other artists.

“The five-pound book, “ Laky writes, “is not only a work of art itself with its indigo cloth cover, exquisite binding, gorgeous photography and elegant design, but, also, presents informative, important and engaging scholarly research. In addition to the background on the formation of this unique collection, the essays eloquently discuss the provenance and role of this field and its current manifestations, as well as describe the medium’s place in the contemporary art world context.”
Laky continues, “My participation was one of the most fascinating engagements with a collector commissioning a work that I have ever experienced. Lloyd Cotsen (of Neutrogena) was assembling a collection of works by contemporary artists in an extremely strange way.  He sent a small archival box to each of the 36 internationally acclaimed artists he selected, asking each to create a one-of-a-kind, three-dimensional, work that fit within the confines of the box. The 36 ideas resulted in remarkably diverse works – some residing within the boxes and some emerging from them to be large-scale works of all kinds when installed in a gallery. The Box Project showcases the dynamic, and often surprising, results.
My work for the box, This Way and That, is composed of eight separate small sculptures – four rectangles and four triangles – that can be arranged in a myriad of ways and has been installed in each venue in a different arrangement.
This inventive way of collecting resulted in an in-depth, thoughtful and provocative scholarly treatise associated with an equally intriguing and extraordinary exhibition.  The artworks are compelling demonstrations of the inventiveness and richness of this realm of the visual arts today.”

Crowds lining up for the opening reception of The Box Project at the Fowler Museum. Photo by Tom Grotta

The exhibition opened at The Fowler Museum, UCLA, in September, 2016, traveled to the Racine Museum of Art and is now on view through the end of January  2018, at George Washington University (  Additional works by each artist are included in the exhibition.  The Box Project was organized by the Cotsen Foundation for Academic Research with the Racine Art Museum and curated by Lyssa C. Stapleton and Bruce W. Pepich.

Art Assembled: New This Week December

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Happy New Year: to new beginnings, fresh starts, rewrites and resurrections

Mariyo Yagi’s works, including A Cycle, Infinity, resonate with her nawa principle: spiral energy of movement and human beings together creating a metaphorical rope, all pulling together. What better sentiment for the New Year? We at browngrotta arts wish you all an awesome and abundant year.

For Yagi, nawa unites two principles: na (you) and wa(I). When combined, nawa means “you and I,” representing a single word that signifies human empathy and endurance. In nawa, you and I, face each other beyond difference, thus signifies our creative interaction, to achieve interconnectedness, unity and peace.
Yagi worked for Isamu Noguchi in Japan in 1973-1976. In order to  fully realize her own projects, which are large in scale, Yagi became a licensed  civil engineer and contractor, the first Japanese sculptor to do so. Yagi has found her own global vocabulary, an infinite array of spiraling forms. From 1980 through the present, she has created artscapes in plazas, gardens, fountains, earthworks and other community art works, including a glass spiral at a Venice Biennial collateral event two years ago and a tall spiral. Axis for Peace and two other works at LongHouse Reserve in East Hampton. She has the ability to transform communities and build environments through her unconventional interactive art practice, which often involves untrained community volunteers. More about Yagi’s work can be found at and at: