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.

Behind the Scenes: Pickup at Norma Minkowitz’ Studio

This week, we stopped by Norma Minkowitz’s studio to pick up a few new pieces. Minkowitz, who has worked with browngrotta arts for over 20 years, is not afraid to let her imagination run wild. Minkowitz’s studio, which was built by her husband Shelly, is a place like no other.

Norma Minkowitz in her studio.

Immediately upon entering you are exposed to a vast array of Minkowitz’s work. Pen and ink drawings, crocheted wall hangings and figures, collages and three-dimensional mixed media sculptures are scattered throughout the studio. Crocheted birds in various stages of progress sit in flocks on tables and shelves. Various sized models of heads peer down at the happenings beneath them. The heads, some of which are models of Minkowtiz’s own head (some shrunken and some enlarged), are used to create pieces such as Victim.

 

Below the heads sits Minkowitz’ “cabinets of curiosity.” The contents of every cabinet drawer are a surprise. In one drawer, crocheted dead birds and the molds that were used to created them sit beside horseshoe crab skeletons. Whether you find doll heads with crocheted bodies or small animal bones, you are sure to stumble upon oddities of all sorts.

A few steps over in the other side of Minkowitz’s studio, a wall of shelves holding various spools of thread spans the width of the room. Underneath, drawers house hundreds of bundles of thread in every color imaginable. Minkowitz incorporates detailed embroidery in much of her work, carefully choosing the colors and types of stitches for each piece. For example, while working on Русское сердце (Russian Heart), a piece inspired by her mother, Minkowitz carefully selected a color palette that mirrored the colors her mother wore throughout her life.

 

The uninhibited and personal nature of Minkowitz’s work make not only make it eye-catching, but incomparable. To see more of Minkowitz’s work visit http://www.browngrotta.com/Pages/minkowitz.php

 


Art Assembled: New This Week June

I Mirror You, Åse Ljones, hand embroidery on linen stretched on frames 32.25” x 65.5” x 1.25”, 2013-17

I Mirror You, Åse Ljones, hand embroidery on linen stretched on frames
32.25” x 65.5” x 1.25”, 2013-17. Photo by Tom Grotta 

In the first week of June we shared Åse Ljones’ I Mirror You. While making I Mirror You Ljones drew inspiration from her childhood on a little farm near the fjord in the Norwegian countryside. Naturally, the environment and weather were close elements.“ The fjord and the waves were always changing rhythm and changing colors,” says Ljones. After being selected to participate in a major exhibition at Arthouse Kabuso, Ljones’ made I Mirror You as a thank you to the people and landscape of her youth.

Blue Sea, Mary Merkel-Hess, reed, paper, 20.5” x 13.5” x 10”, 2018

Blue Sea, Mary Merkel-Hess, reed, paper, 20.5” x 13.5” x 10”, 2018. Photo by Tom Grotta 

In making Blue Sea Mary Merkel-Hess drew inspiration from the Florida Everglades. “I don’t usually step out of my own Midwestern environment for inspiration, but for Blue Sea I did,” Merkel-Hess explains. In addition to being able to examine a new type of grassland, Merkel-Hess had the opportunity to study the oceans various colors and moods. The continuous movement of the wetland coupled with the beautiful blues of the Atlantic Ocean came together for Merkel-Hess as she made Blue Sea.

Pulse, Caroline Bartlett, linen/hemp, cotton, porcelain, perspex, 43" × 108" × 1.5", 2018

Pulse, Caroline Bartlett, linen/hemp, cotton, porcelain, perspex, 43″ × 108″ × 1.5″, 2018. Photo by Tom Grotta 

Next up we featured Caroline Bartlett’s Pulse. Textiles are the core of Bartlett’s practice, providing her with the means and materials to process and articulate ideas. For Bartlett, the “imprinting stitching, erasing, reworking, folding and unfolding” of her creative process leaves defining characteristics on each piece of her work. In Pulse, which graces the cover of our newest catalog — Blue/Green: color, code, context— Bartlett integrates textiles (line/hemp and cotton) with porcelain.

Blue/Green as a Metaphor, Kyoko Kumai, titanium and steel, 120.5” x 45.25”, 2010

Blue/Green as a Metaphor, Kyoko Kumai, titanium and steel, 120.5” x 45.25”, 2010. Photo by Tom Grotta 

 

Last but certainly not least is Kyoko Kumai’s Blue/Green as a Metaphor. Kumai, who lives and works in Tokyo, has been weaving tapestries with titanium and steel for 30 years. In an essay written in honor of Kumai’s exhibition at MoMa in 1991, Matilda McQuaid explains that “most indicative of the Japanese sense of beauty in Kumai’s work is the importance of light, both its presence and calculated absence.” Made with titanium and steel, Kumai’s Blue/Green as a Metaphor brings life to the room with its’ array of light-reflective, colorful titanium pieces.

 


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.


Summer Stock: Artist Lectures, Classes, Workshops and Walkthroughs

Have some spare time on your hands this summer? Here is a list of opportunities browngrotta arts artists are offering to help you channel your creativity:

Calculus, Sue Lawty, natural stones on gesso, 78.75" x 118", 2010

Calculus, Sue Lawty, natural stones on gesso, 78.75″ x 118″, 2010. Photo by Tom Grotta

Sue Lawty

June 16, 11-5pm
The Artworkers Guild, 6 Queen Square, Bloomsbury, London
Woven Tapestry with Sue Lawty”
Website: https://bit.ly/2t3ZZ2J

 

Susie Gillespie

June 17-21
Yalberton Farm House, Yalberton Road, Paignton, Devon, UK
Field to Fabric with Susie Gillespie”
Website: selvedge.org

Susie Gillespie Detail


July 30-August 2
South Devon, UK
“Textile Art Techniques: Weaving, Stitching and Dying with Alice Fox and Susie Gillespie”
Website: https://bit.ly/2HJIKc3

 

 New Nebula, Eduardo Portillo & Mariá Eugenia Dávila , silk,alpaca, moriche palm fiber dyed with Indigo, rumex spp., onion,eucalyptus, acid dyes, copper and metallic yarns, 74” x 49.25”, 2017

New Nebula, Eduardo Portillo & Mariá Eugenia Dávila, silk,alpaca, moriche palm fiber dyed with Indigo, rumex spp., onion,eucalyptus, acid dyes, copper and metallic yarns, 74” x 49.25”, 2017. Photo by Tom Grotta

Maria and Eduardo Portillo

June 24-July 6
Penland School of Crafts – Textiles Summer Session Three, Bakersville, NC
Weaving Ideas”
Website:   https://bit.ly/2LGP1rB

 

Carolina Yrarrázaval

July 2
Tama Art Museum, 11th International Shibori Symposium, Tokyo
Talk: “Modern Art Museum Exhibition, Chile”
Website: https://www.11iss.org

 

Tim Johnson's Keeping Time Baskets

Tim Johnson’s Keeping Time Baskets. Photo by Tim Johnson

Tim Johnson

July 3-4
Järvsö, Sweden
Finding Fibres – basketmaking with soft materials”

July 16-17, 10-5pm
FlechtSommer – Basketmaking Summer School, Korbmacher-Museum, Dalhausen, Germany
“Looping Techniques with Soft Materials”
Website: https://bit.ly/2JxdOln

 

July 22 – 27
West Dean College, near Chichester, England
Flexible basketry structures – looping, netting and knotting
Website: https://bit.ly/2y3bblG

 

Gizella Warburton

July 6 – 8
Hawkwood College, UK
Presence and Absense”
Website: https://bit.ly


Caroline Bartlett

July 16-18, 10:30-4:30pm
City Lit, London, UK
“Textiles: manipulation, folding and fabric origami”
Website: https://bit.ly/2l3iRv3

 

An example of what you can learn at Caroline Bartlett’s “Surfacing: Fold, Pleat, Form”

August 11-17
West Dean College near Chichester, UK
“Reshaping cloth — print and manipulation”
Website: https://bit.ly/2JR0w2w

July 31-August 2
Hawar Textile Institute, Oldeberkoop, Netherlands
“Surfacing: Fold, Pleat, Form”
Website: https://bit.ly/2LFM9Lm

August 27-31
Big Cat Textiles, Newburgh, Scotland
“Between the Folds — Concealing and Revealing with Caroline Bartlett”
Website: https://bit.ly/2JNd4b2

 

 

Shady Lane Polly Adams Sutton western red cedar bark, dyed ash, wire, cane 16” x 12” x 9”, 2006

Shady Lane,Polly Adams Sutton, 
western red cedar bark, dyed ash, wire, cane
16” x 12” x 9”, 2006. Photo by Tom Grotta


Polly Sutton

August 2-5
Missouri Basketweavers Convention
Talk: August 4, 7pm, “Basketry in Sardinia”
Workshop:  August 4-5, “Cedar Knothole Cathead”
August 4, 8am-5pm, August 5, 8am-10am
Website: https://bit.ly/2l6HjvG

 

Ferne Jacobs

Offering private classes throughout the summer on the fiber techniques of coiling, knotting and twining.

For more information on Jacobs’ offered classes contact her at fernejacobs@gmail.com


Art Out and About: US

The opportunities to see great art are endless this summer! Heading to the West Coast for work? Take a detour and visit  the newly opened Nordic Museum to check out Northern Exposure: Contemporary Nordic Arts Revealed in Seattle, WashingtonVisiting friends or family in the Northeast? Make plans to spend the day in New Haven and see Text and Textile at The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library on Yale’s campus. Whether you are in the North, South, East or West there are a wide variety of strong exhibitions on display across the US this summer, here are a few of our favorites:

Grethe Wittrock's Nordic Birds at the Nordic Museum

Grethe Wittrock’s Nordic Birds at the Nordic Museum in Seattle, Washington. Photo by Grethe Wittrock

Northern Exposure: Contemporary Nordic Arts Revealed at the Nordic Museum, Seattle, Washington

The newly opened Nordic Museum hopes to share and inspire people of all ages and backgrounds through Nordic art. The museum is the largest in the US to honor the legacy of immigrants from the five Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. Northern Exposure studies “how the Nordic character continues to redefine itself within an evolving global context” by challenging “perceptions of form, gender, identity, nature, technology and the body,” explains the Museum. The exhibition features work by internationally acclaimed artists, including Grethe Wittrock, Olafur Eliasson, Bjarne Melgaard, Jesper Just, Kim Simonsson and Cajsa Von Zeipel. Made of Danish sailcloth, Wittrock’s Nordic Birds immediately attracts the eye upon entering the exhibition. Northern Exposure: Contemporary Nordic Arts Revealed will be on display through September 16, 2018. For more information click HERE.

Traces: Wonder by Lia Cook at the Racine Art Museum, Gift of Karen Johnson Boyd. Photo by Jon Bolton

Traces: Wonder by Lia Cook at the Racine Art Museum, Gift of Karen Johnson Boyd. Photo by Jon Bolton

Honoring Karen Johnson Boyd: Collecting In-Depth at Home and at RAM, Racine Art Museum, Wisconsin

The Racine Art Museum’s new exhibit Honoring Karen Johnson Boyd: Collecting In-Depth at Home and at RAM showcases art advocate and collector Karen Johnson Boyd’s collection of ceramic, clay and fiber art. The exhibition, which is broken up into a series of four individually titled exhibitions, with varying opening and closing dates, highlight Boyd’s interests, accomplishments and lifelong commitment to art. Throughout her life, Boyd was drawn to a diverse array of artistic styles and subjects. Boyd, who collected fiber in an encyclopedic fashion, supported artists of varying ages with varying regional, national and international reputations. Boyd’s Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home provided her with many display options for her fiber collection. Though baskets encompassed the majority of Boyd’s fiber collection, she regularly altered her environment, adding and subtracting works as she added to her collection. The exhibitions feature work from Dorothy Gill Barnes, Lia Cook, Kiyomi Iwata, Ferne Jacobs, John McQueen, Ed Rossbach, Hideho Tanaka, Mary Merkel-Hess, Norma Minkowitz, Lenore Tawney and Katherine Westphal. Honoring Karen Johnson Boyd: Collecting In-Depth at Home and at RAM will be on display at the Racine Art Museum through December 30th, with exhibited pieces changing over in mid-September. For more information on Honoring Karen Johnson Boyd: Collecting In-Depth at Home and at RAM visit the Racine Art Museum’s website HERE.

Text and Textile at The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Text and Textile at The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, New Haven, Connecticut

In New Haven, Connecticut, The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library recently opened Text and Textile. The exhibition, which will be on display through August 12th, explores the relationship and intersection between text and textile in literature and politics.Text and Textile draws on Yale University’s phenomenal collection of literature tied to textiles, from Renaissance embroidered bindings to text from Anni Albers’ On Weaving. Additionally, the exhibition features: Gertrude Stein’s waistcoat; manuscript patterns and loom cards from French Jacquard mills; the first folio edition of William Shakespeare’s plays; the “Souper” paper dress by Andy Warhol; American samplers; Christa Wolf’s “Quilt Memories”; Zelda Fitzgerald’s paper dolls for her daughter; Edith Wharton’s manuscript drafts of “The House of Mirth”; an Incan quipu; poetry by Langston Hughes, Emily Dickinson, Susan Howe and Walt Whitman; and “The Kelmscott Chaucer” by William Morris. For more information on Text and Textile click HERE.

Kaki Shibu by Nancy Moore Bess. Lent by Browngrotta Arts

Kaki Shibu by Nancy Moore Bess. Lent by Browngrotta Arts

Rooted, Revived, Reinvented: Basketry In America at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. Houston, Texas

The traveling exhibition Rooted, Revived, Reinvented: Basketry In America is now on display at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft in Houston, Texas. The exhibition, which is set to travel around the United States through the end of 2019, chronicles the history of American basketry from its origins in Native American, immigrant and slave communities to its presence within the contemporary fine art world. Curated by Josephine Stealy and Kristin Schwain, the exhibition is divided into five sections: Cultural Origins, New Basketry, Living Traditions, Basket as Vessel and Beyond the Basket which aim to show you the evolution of basketry in America. Today, some contemporary artists seek to maintain and revive traditions practiced for centuries. However, other work to combine age-old techniques with nontraditional materials to generate cultural commentary. Rooted, Revived, Reinvented: Basketry In America features work by browngrotta arts’ artists Polly Adams Sutton, Mary Giles, Nancy Moore Bess, Christine Joy, Nancy Koenigsberg, Dorothy Gill Barnes, Ferne Jacobs, Gyöngy Laky, Kari Lønning, John McQueen, Norma Minkowitz, Leon Niehues, Ed Rossbach, Karyl Sisson and Kay Sekimachi.

Kay Sekimachi in Handheld at the Aldrich Museum

Kay Sekimachi in Handheld at the Aldrich Museum. Photo by Tom Grotta

Handheld at the Aldrich Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut

The Aldrich Museum’s new exhibition Handheld explores how contemporary artists’ and designers’ perceive the meaning of touch. Touch is one of the most intimate and sometimes unappreciated senses. Today, the feeling our hands are most familiar with are our that of our handheld devices and electronics. Touch is no longer solely used to hold objects such as pencils and tools, in fact, touch is increasingly taking the form of a swipe, where the sensation is ignored in favor to the flat visual landscapes of our own selection. “Handheld takes a multifarious approach—the hand as means of creation, a formal frame of reference” explains the Aldrich Museum. It serves the viewer as “a source of both delight and tension as they experience sensual objects in familiar domestic forms, scaled for touch, that can be looked upon but not felt.” The group exhibition, which features work by Kay Sekimachi will be on display until January 13, 2019. For more information on Handheld click HERE.


Art Assembled: New This Week May

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


Blue/Green: color/code/context Catalog

Blue/Green: color/code/context

Blue/Green: color/code/context

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

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

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

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


Art Lives Well-Lived: Mary Giles

Mary Giles 1995

Mary Giles Portrait 1995. Photo by Tom Grotta

We were heartbroken to learn of artist Mary Giles’s passing last month. Giles was a light – casting warmth and humor wherever she went. We have been fortunate to represent her work at browngrotta arts for many years and were delighted she could join us in Wilton for our 30th anniversary exhibition last year.

30th Anniversary Portrait

30th Anniversary exhibit artist portrait.
Photo by Tom Grotta

Giles received the James Renwick Alliance Master of the Medium Award in Fiber in 2013. In receiving the award, Giles spoke of her process and her sources of inspiration: “I have always been influenced by place and especially the natural world in those places. In the early 80’s, having taken up scuba diving, I did a series based on sea life called “walking tentacles.” Later, during many trips to New Mexico, I discovered mesa forms as well as Native American kivas and petroglyphs. Those sources dominated my work for over 10 years. Most recently the changing light, colors, and patterns seen from our retirement home on the banks of the St. Croix River in Minnesota have informed by work. My ideas are an accumulation, my sources most often from nature and my pallet is drawn from the colors of earth, water, wood and stone.” You can read the full text of her remarks on arttextstyle: http://arttextstyle.com/2013/05/18/master-remarks-mary-giles/
vessels and wall works

Mary Giles Vessels and wallworks
Photos by Tom Grotta

Giles reveled in the tactile, reflective and and malleable materials. She is represented in the Erie Art Museum’s permanent collection by a meticulously made basket of porcupine quills. The materials she used on the surface of the coiled forms were individually hammered pieces of 12- to 18-gauge wire made of copper, tinned copper, iron, lead or brass. By torching the metals she was able to alter the colors in varying degrees enabling me to blend them from darks to brights, a blending she used to interpret the colors, textures and light that she saw in the natural settings.
Some years ago Giles began creating wall panels that dealt with her concerns about population and explored ideas of density and boundaries. They were not baskets but the figures incorporated were like those that had been featured on her vessels. The first expression of this theme was composed of hundreds of torched copper wire men arranged outwardly from dense to sparse, directly on a gallery wall.
Mary Giles Boulders

3 Mary Giles Boulders
Photo by Tom Grotta

Giles’ work has been displayed in numerous galleries and museums in the United States including the Barbican Centre in London, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Yale Art Gallery and the Detroit Institute of Arts. She represented the U.S. at the International Triennial of Tapestry in Lodz, Poland.
She is one of 20 artists featured in a current article in 1st dibs online magazine Introspective: “20 Women Designers Young and Resurgent Stand Side by Side,” which you can read here: https://www.1stdibs.com/introspective-magazine/tag/mary-giles/. Her work is also featured in eight catalogs published by browngrotta arts available on our website: http://store.browngrotta.com/sara-brennan-tapestry-and-mary-giles-fiber-sculpture/.

Recap: Whirlwind Art Week in Wilton at browngrotta arts

VIP Preview

VIP-opening, photo by Carter Grotta

We had record crowds in attendance and a record number of sales at browngrotta arts in Wilton last week for Blue/Green: color/code/context. At our VIP preview event on Friday, we hosted our clients, collectors and art appreciators and our event sponsors from Litchfield Distilleryvenü Magazine and Country Club Homes.

Karl Dolnier parking cars at Blue/Green opening. Photo by Carter Grotta

Artist Dinner record crowds

Artist Dinner after Artist Reception. Photo by Carter Grotta

Saturday we hosted 10 artists from the exhibition (Keiji Nio and family all the way from Japan, Kiyomi Iwata from Virginia, Pat Campbell from Maine, Lewis Knauss, Nancy Koenigsberg, Polly Barton and Tamiko Kawata from New York, Wendy Wahl from Rhode Island and Dawn MacNutt from Nova Scotia) and loads of visitors, too. Sunday and Monday we were busy all day.

SDA Walkthrough record crowds

Surface Design Association Talk. Photo by Carter Grotta

Tuesday we hosted a good crowd of appreciative and knowledgable members of the Surface Design Association.

Designer Talk

Mae Colburn presentation of Helena Hernmarck work at the Architecture and Designer Talk. Photo by Carter Grotta

Wednesday was educational — we presented Material Matter: Integrating Art Textiles and Fiber Sculpture into Interiors and Architecture with the help of Mae Colburn from Helena Hernmarck’s studio and some interior shots from Walter Cromwell at Country Club Homes. Those in attendance were eligible to get Continuing Education Credit from the Interior Design Continuning Education Council.

westport arts center

westport arts center

Thursday brought the Westport Arts Council Board and patrons another educated and interested audience.

Ports of cause

Ports of cause fundraiser. photo by Harrison James O’Brien

Friday was Art•Ocean•Energy, an immersive art experience for supporters of Ports of Cause, a 501(c)3 driven to promote, inspire and accelerate innovative and sustainable solutions and practices that reduce the impact luxury living and everyday lifestyles have on our oceans. Those who joined us on Friday, heard Tom speak about our artists’ dedication to sustainable art and art practices and

Arthur Bavelas

Arthur Bavelas talking at Ports of Cause fundraiser. photo by Harrison James O’Brien

Arthur Bavelas, Founder of the Bavelas Group Family Office & Family Office Insights of New York City, speak about How sustainable innovation is driving the blue economy while benefiting our oceans and natural resources. A lively discussion followed. Saturday was a full day as was Sunday. Sunday evening we concluded our 10-day annual opening with a informed and engaged group from the Aldrich Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut. Hope we’ll see you at browngrotta arts in 2019 at one or more of our annual events. In the meantime, you can find us online at browngrotta.com; talking about events and acquisitions and other art stuff at arttextstyle.com and on Facebook, posting items and images on Twitter and Instagram and videos on the browngrotta arts YouTube Channel.