Tag: Adela Akers

Greenery On My Mind; Pantone Color of the Year

Pantone Color of the Year Greenery

Pantone Color of the Year Greenery

Pantone has revealed that “greenery” will be the Color of the Year for 2017. Pantone describes “greenery” as “a refreshing and revitalizing shade” that is “symbolic of new beginnings.”
With new beginnings in mind, here, in honor of January — are some green-themed artworks for you to view. Baskets, tapestries and mixed media sculpture–green can inspire works of all sorts, made of materials from glass beads to copper wire to Japanese paper.

Gyöngy Laky

Gyöngy Laky, Proceeding
Photo: M. Lee Fatherree

Rachel Max

Rachel Max, After Haeckel II
Photo by Tom Grotta

Lawrence LaBianca

Lawrence LaBianca, My Fathers Dream
Photo by Tom Grotta

Ed Rossbach

Ed Rossbach, Green with Four Ears
Photo by Tom Grotta

Scott Rothstein

Scott Rothstein, #62
Photo by Tom Grotta

Nancy Koenigsberg

Nancy Koenigsberg, Aurora
Photo by Tom Grotta

Adela Akers

Adela Akers, Five Windows
Photo by Tom Grotta

Debra Sachs

Debra Sachs, Green Armadillo Basket
Photo by Debra Sachs

Deborah Valoma

Deborah Valoma, The Surge
Photo by Tom Grotta

Jeannine Anderson

Jeannine Anderson, Untitled
Photo by tom Grotta

Axel Russmeyer

Axel Russmeyer, Untitled
Photo by Tom Grotta

Noriko Takamiya

Noriko Takamiya, #36 Revolving
Photo by Tom Grotta


BLOG: Where’s Wlodzimierz? Can you find browngrotta arts’ art at SOFA Chicago

We are exhibiting at SOFA Chicago this week in Booth 921. We’ve got great work there from Keiji Nio, Jin-Sook So, Aleksandra Stoyanov and many others. But that’s not all. Artwork from browngrotta arts, including Miracle, a tapestry by innovator, Wlodzimierz Cygan, can be found throughout the art fair.
How may of these can you find??? (There’s a helpful hint below.)

1) Are We the Same by Norma Minkowitz. Photo by tom Grotta

1) Are We the Same by Norma Minkowitz. Photo by Tom Grotta

Are We the Same? mixed media sculpture, Norma Minkowitz (US)

2 Out of Focus by Grethe Sørensen. Photo by Tom Grotta

2) Out of Focus by Grethe Sørensen. Photo by Tom Grotta

Out of Focus 1-9, handwoven tapestry of cotton, Grethe Sørensen (Denmark)

Blue Holes by Marian Bijlenga. Photo by Tom Grotta

3) Blue Holes by Marian Bijlenga. Photo by Tom Grotta

Blue Holes, tapestry, of paper yarn, and blue-dyed horsehair, stitched, Marian Bijlenga (The Netherlands)

Linen Tapestry with Broken Grey Line by Sara Brennan. Photo by Tom Grotta

4) Linen Tapestry with Broken Grey Line by Sara Brennan. Photo by Tom Grotta

Linen Tapestry with Broken Grey Line, tapestry of linen, wool, and cotton, Sara Brennan (UK)

Silver Waves by Adela Akers. Photo by Tom Grotta

5) Silver Waves by Adela Akers. Photo by Tom Grotta

Silver Waves, tapestry of linen, horsehair, paint and foil, Adela Akers (US)

Miracle by Włodzimierz Cygan. Photo by tom Grotta

6) Miracle by Włodzimierz Cygan. Photo by Tom Grotta

Miracle, tapestry of linen, wool and sisal, Wlodzimierz Cygan (PL),  Encontrada I ( Found I ) by Eduardo Portillo and Mariá Eugenia Dávila (VE)

Encontrada I ( Found I ) by Eduardo Portillo & Mariá Eugenia Dávila, bronze casting, 13.5” x 11.375” x 2”, 2014

7) Encontrada I ( Found I ) by Eduardo Portillo & Mariá Eugenia Dávila

And, the not-to-be missed:

Judy Mulfords installation of 80 Empty Chairs

8) Judy Mulfords installation of 80 Empty Chairs

Empty Chairs, room-sized mixed media installation, Judy Mulford (US) and Simple Abundances, an individual work, Judy Mulford (US).

Cheat Sheet:
1) Are We the Same?: Main Aisle; 2) Out of Focus: VIP Concierge Booth; 3) Blue Holes; VIP Concierge Booth; 4) Linen Tapestry with Broken Grey Line; Chubb Personal Risk Services, Booth 925 (outside); 5) Silver Waves: Chubb Personal Risk Services, Booth 925 (inside); 6) Miracle: Chubb Personal Risk Services, Booth 925; 7) Encontrada I ( Found I ): Chubb Personal Risk Services, Booth 925 (inside)  8) Empty Chairs: Special Exhibit, Booth 921; Simple Abundances: Special Exhibit, Booth 221.

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browngrotta arts Returns to SOFA Chicago, November 5-8th

627mr PapelionIidae, Mariette Rousseau-Vermette wool, steel, 54” x 54” x 16”, 2000

627mr PapelionIidae, Mariette Rousseau-Vermette
wool, steel, 54” x 54” x 16”, 2000

After a few-year hiatus, browngrotta arts will return to the Sculpture, Objects, and Functional Art Exposition at the Navy Pier in Chicago next month. We’ll be reprising our most recent exhibition, Influence and Evolution: Fiber Sculpture…then and now, with different works for a number of artists, including Naoko Serino, Kay Sekimachi, Anda Klancic, Ritzi Jacobi, Randy Walker, Mariette Rousseau-Vermette, Carolina Yrarrázaval and Lenore Tawney. Other artists whose work will be featured in browngrotta arts’ exhibit are Magdalena Abakanowicz, Adela Akers, Lia Cook, Sheila Hicks, Masakazu Kobayashi, Naomi Kobayashi, Luba Krejci, Jolanta Owidzka, Ed Rossbach, Sherri Smith, Carole Fréve, Susie Gillespie, Stéphanie Jacques, Tim Johnson, Marianne Kemp, Federica Luzzi, Rachel Max, Eduardo Portillo & Mariá Eugenia Dávila, Michael Radyk and Gizella K Warburton. SOFA will publish a related essay, Fiber Art Pioneers: Pushing the Pliable Plane by Jo Ann C. Stabb,
on the origins of the contemporary fiber movement.

1cy AZUL Y NEGR Carolina Yrarrázaval rayon, cotton 116" x 40.5”, 2003

1cy AZUL Y NEGR
Carolina Yrarrázaval
rayon, cotton
116″ x 40.5”, 2003

Now in its 22nd year, SOFA CHICAGO is a must-attend art fair, attracting more than 36,000 collectors, museum groups, curators and art patrons to view museum-quality works of art from 70+ international galleries. After a nationwide competition, SOFA CHICAGO recently placed #7 in the USA Today Reader’s Choice 10 Best Art Events.New this year, SOFA CHICAGO will unveil a revamped floorplan created by Chicago architects Cheryl Noel and Ravi Ricker of Wrap Architecture. The re-envisioned design will create a more open and cohesive show layout, allowing visitors to explore the fair in a more engaging way. Changes include a new, centrally located main entrance where browngrotta arts’ booth, 921, will be located. Cheryl Noel of Wrap Architecture adds, “The most effective urban contexts contain distinct places within the larger space, corridors with visual interest and clear paths with fluid circulation. We believe this new floorplan will capture the spirit of the art and be an expression of the work itself, exploring form and materiality, with the same level of design rigor applied.”

1rw SAW PIECE NO.4 (AUTUMN) Randy Walker, salvaged bucksaw, steel rod, nylon thread 42" x 96" x 26", 2006, Photo by Tom Grotta

1rw SAW PIECE NO.4 (AUTUMN)
Randy Walker, salvaged bucksaw, steel rod, nylon thread
42″ x 96″ x 26″, 2006, Photo by Tom Grotta

On Friday, November 6th, from 12:30 to 2:30, Michael Radyk will be at browngrotta arts’ booth to discuss his Swan Point series, Jacquard textiles created to be cut and manipulated after being taken off the loom, in which Radyk was trying “to bring the artist’s hand back into the industrial Jacquard weaving process.” SOFA opens with a VIP preview on Thursday, November 5th, from 5 pm to 9 pm. The hours for Friday and Saturday are 11 am – 7 pm; and 12 to 6 pm on Sunday the 8th. SOFA is in the Festival Hall, Navy Pier, 600 East Grand Avenue Chicago, IL 60611. Hope to see you there!


Influence and Evolution: The Catalog is Now Available

Influence and Evolution: Fiber Sculpture...then and now catalog cover artwork by Federica Luzzi

Influence and Evolution: Fiber Sculpture…then and now
catalog cover artwork by Federica Luzzi

Our Spring exhibition Influence and Evolution: Fiber Sculpture…then and now explored the impact of artists – Sheila Hicks, Ritzi Jacobi, Lenore Tawney, Ed Rossbach and others – who took textiles off the wall in the 60s and 70s to create three-dimensional fiber sculpture. In Influence and Evolution, we paired early works by Magdalena Abakanowicz, Lia Cook, Kay Sekimachi and Françoise Grossen — artists who rebelled against tapestry tradition — with works from a later generation of artists, all born in 1960 or after. Fiber sculpture continues to evolve through this second group of artists, including María Eugenia Dávila and Eduardo Portillo of Venezuela,

Influencers Title page  Influence and Evolution catalog

Influencers Title page Influence and Evolution catalog

Stéphanie Jacques of Belgium, Naoko Serino of Japan and Anda Klancic of Slovenia. In our 160-page color exhibition catalog, Influence and Evolution: Fiber Sculpture…then and now, you can see the works in the exhibition. Each artist is represented by at least two works; images of details are included so that readers can experience the works fully. The catalog also includes an insightful essay, Bundling Time and Avant-garde Threadwork by Ezra Shales, PhD, Associate Professor, History of Art Department, Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston. Influence and EvolutionShales write in his essay, “poses rich comparisons and asks the mind to sustain historical linkages. We feel the uneven texture of time, luring us into a multiplicity of artistic pasts and an open road of varied fibrous futures. An emphasis on plural possibilities makes this exhibition quite distinct from a tidy biblical story of genesis or masters and apprentices. We witness multiple intra-generational passing of batons as well as many artists changing horses midstream, as well they often do.” The three works in Influence and Evolution by Adela Akers that traverse five decades provide a fascinating view of the artistic progression Shales refers to. The curvilinear, draped forms of Summer and Winter 

Influence and Evolution, Adela Akers spread

(1977; restored 2014), he notes, resemble “both a ruffle and a row of ancient mourners.” Midnight, from 1988, by contrast, is hard-edged, “a monumental window into an alternative architectural space.” And Akers recent work, Silver Waves, completed in 2014, is “an intimate surface with linear imagery” whose horsehair bristles “almost invite a caress if they did not seem to be a defensive adaptation.” Juxtapose Silver Waves with American Michael Radyk’s Swan Point (2013) and and Dutch artist, Marianne Kemp’s Red Fody (2013) that also features horsehair,  and catalog readers are likely to understand  Shales’ query: should we categorize woven forms as a logical temporal narrative or inevitable sequence of linked inquiries? Shales is a guest curator of Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft and Design, Midcentury and

Influence and Evolution, Sheila Hicks spread

Influence and Evolution, Sheila Hicks spread

Today currently at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York which features more than 100 works, by a core cadre of women—including Ruth Asawa, Sheila Hicks, Karen Karnes, Dorothy Liebes, Toshiko Takaezu, Lenore Tawney, and Eva Zeisel—who had impact and influence as designers, artists and teachers, using materials in innovative ways. To order a copy of Influence and Evolution: Fiber Sculpture…then and nowour 43rd catalog, visit browngrotta.com.

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Influence and Evolution, Stéphanie Jacques spread


Influence and Evolution Update: More Influencers, North America

Details of works by Lenore Tawney, Sheila Hicks, Françoise Grossen and Mariette-Rousseau-Vermette

Details of works by Lenore Tawney, Sheila Hicks, Françoise Grossen and Mariette-Rousseau-Vermette, Photos by tom grotta

Fiber art experimentation by artist in North America including Lenore Tawney, Sheila Hicks, Françoise Grossen (a Swiss living in the US) and Mariette Rousseau-Vermette in Canada was a feature of the 1960s. The Museum of Modern Art recognized this directional shift in the seminal 1969 Wall Hangings exhibition, curated by Jack Lenor Larsen and then-MOMA curator, Mildred Constantine. The last 10 years “have caused us to revise our concepts of this craft and view the work within the context of 20th century art,” the curators explained. The exhibition featured 13

Details of works by Ed Rossbach, Sherri Smithand Kay Sekimachi

Details of works by Ed Rossbach, Sherri Smithand Kay Sekimachi, Photos by Tom Grotta

artists from North American including Tawney, Hicks, Grossen, Rousseau-Vermette, Ed Rossbach, Sherri Smith and Kay Sekimachi. “The American works tend to be more exploratory and less monumental,” the curators noted, “as illustrated by the ‘sketchy’ and transparent quality of the free-hanging, gossamer piece of nylon monofilament by Kay Sekimachi.” Sherri Smith used gradated color to reinforce the three-dimensional effect of the expanded waffle weave that forms Volcano No. 10. Several of these American artists were featured in the 4th International Tapestry Biennial in Lausanne that the same year, across the Atlantic. “What an event!” writes Erika Billeter in her historical essay, “The Lausanne Tapestry Biennials,” (16th Lausanne International Biennial: Criss-Crossings, 1995, pp. 36-53). Sheila Hicks shows a free-hanging work inspired by ancient Peruvian techniques and Françoise Grossen approaches macrame, thought to be “old hat”, says Billeter, “with such freedom, she transforms it into a hitherto unexplored contribution to this avant-garde textile art.” By 1969, Mariette Rousseau-Vermette was already a “favorite” of the Biennials, getting noticed for her “abstract and highly pictorial pieces with their highly worked surfaces.” Lenore Tawney did not have work in the 4th Biennial, but she had an influence nonetheless, through Susan

Detail of Lia Cooks TRANSLUCENCE rayon, 56" x 40", 1978, photo by Tom Grotta

Detail of Lia Cooks TRANSLUCENCE rayon, 56″ x 40″, 1978, photo by Tom Grotta

Weitzman’s Homage to Lenore Tawney, a transparent mural leaf, made solely of warp yarn. Lia Cook would join this influential group a few years later, finishing her masters degree and gaining international recognition at the 6th Biennial in 1973, with a 10-foot by 12-foot black-and-white optic weaving entitled, Space Continuum. Also gaining recognition in the

Summer and Winter Detail by Adela Akers, Photo by Tom Grotta

Summer and Winter Detail by Adela Akers, Photo by Tom Grotta

1970s, was Adela Akers whose work was included in the Inaugural Exhibition of the American Craft Museum in New York. Her work illustrates how timeless these artists’ explorations have been. “Contextualizing Adela Akers,” writes Ezra Shales, in the catalog for Influence and and Evolution, “one could say that she was born in Spain and trained in Cuba as a pharmacist before she went to Cranbrook, or that she taught at Tyler for decades, but one could not, relying on eye and hand alone, place [her] works as a fixed chronology with any absolute surety.” Works by Tawney, Hicks, Grossen, Rousseau-Vermette, Rossbach, Smith, Cook, Sekimachi and Akers from the 1960s through the 2000s will be among those featured in Influence and Evolution: Fiber Sculpture…then and now at browngrotta arts, Wilton, Connecticut from April 24th through May 3rd. The Artists Reception and Opening is on Saturday April 25th, 1pm to 6pm. The hours for Sunday April 26th through May 3rd are 10am to 5pm. To make an appointment earlier than 10am or later than 5pm, call: 203-834-0623.


The Resurgence of Interest in Fiber Sculpture and Art Textiles Will Continue in 2015

Last year was an extraordinary one for those of us who appreciate contemporary art fiber and art textiles. More than 10 exhibitions opened in the US and abroad. In October, the art newspaper reported that “textiles are gaining international stature in art museums” and further that “[c]ommercial interest is on the rise,” quoting art advisor Emily Tsingou: “Textile [art] has entered the mainstream.” Soft Fabrics-Have Solid Appeal. Below is a roundup of exhibitions and reviews from last year and a guide to what to expect in 2015.

Mainstream attention began with the coverage of Sheila Hicks‘ inclusion

Sheila Hicks, Pillar of Inquiry/Supple Column, 2013-14 (installation view, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York). Photograph by Bill Orcutt

in the Whitney Biennial in March and was followed by coverage of the restoration of her remarkable 1960s tapestries at the Ford Foundation in New York Sheila Hicks Tapestries to Again Hang at Ford Foundation. In June, the Art Institute of Chicago’s textile galleries reopened, featuring 96-year-old Ethel Stein’s work, in Ethel Stein, Master Weaver.art institute of Chicago logo

September saw three fiber-related exhibitions; the Museum of Arts and Design opened What Would Mrs. Webb Do? A Founder’s Vision (closes

Kay Sekimachi, Ed Rossbach, Françoise Grossen, Katherine Westphal and others Museum of Art Design installation of What Would Mrs Webb Do?, Photo by Tom grotta


February 8, 2015),Kay Sekimachi, Ed Rossbach, Françoise Grossen, Katherine Westphal and others Museum of Art Design installation of What Would Mrs Webb Do?, Photo by Tom grotta

February 8, 2015), which featured significant textiles from the permanent collection by Anni Albers, Kay Sekimachi, Katherine Westphal, Ed Rossbach, Françoise Grossen and Trude Guermonprez, while The Drawing Center’s: Thread-Lines offered Anne Wilson creating fiber art in situ

Ann Wilson’s In Situ Performance at the Drawing Center, photo by tom Grotta

Ann Wilson’s In Situ Performance at the Drawing Center, photo by Tom Grotta

together with a collection of works by Lenore Tawney, Louise Bourgeois and others. Contemporary 108 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, featured a series of large photographic weavings by Aleksandra Stoyanov of the Ukraine

Aleksandra Stoyanov Tefen Open Museum exhibition traveled to Contemporary 108 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, photo copyright Tefen Open Museum

Contemporary 108 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, curated from the 2013 “Aleksandra Stoyanov” Tefen Open Museum, Israel exhibition. photo copyright Tefen Open Museum

and now Israel, described as “warp and weft paintings.”

In October, Fiber: Sculpture 1960 – present, opened at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston with works by 34 artists including

Fiber: Sculpture 1960 — present opening, photo by Tom Grotta

Fiber: Sculpture 1960 — present opening, photo by Tom Grotta

Magdalena Abakanowicz, Ritzi Jacobi and Naomi Kobayashi. The Boston Globe called the exhibition “[s]plendid, viscerally engaging…groundbreaking;” the exhibition catalog (available at browngrotta.com) was pronounced by Blouin art info, “an amazing resource for anyone interested in learning more about the medium.” Art Info – Art in the Air Fiber Sculpture 1960 Present October also saw a survey of the work of sculptor and poet, Richard Tuttle, at the Tate in London, Richard Tuttle: tuttle.tate.modern
I Don’t Know, Or The Weave of Textile Language in which Tuttle investigated the importance of textiles throughout history, across his remarkable body of work and into the latest developments in his practice. Tate Modern – Richard Tuttle I Don’t Know or Weave Textile Language

Throughout the year, Innovators and Legends, with work by 50 fiber
Innovators.Legends
artists, including Adela Akers, Nick Cave, Katherine Westphal and Sherri Smith toured the US, exhibiting at museums in Colorado, Iowa and Kentucky. The fiber fanfest culminated at Art Basel in Miami Beach in December, where Blouin’s Art Info identified a full complement of fiber works and textiles in its listing, “Definitive Top 11 Booths, “ including Alexandra da Cunha’s compositions of mass-produced beach towels and various colored fabrics at Thomas Dane Gallery, a Rosemarie Trockel embroidered work at Galerie 1900-2000, marble and dyed-fabric pieces by Sam Moyer at Galerie Rodolphe Janssen and woven paintings by Brent Wadden at Mitchell-Innes & Nash Blouin Art info – The Definitive Top-11 Booths at Art Basel Miami Beach.

And what’s ahead in 2015?

More auctions and exhibitions that include fiber sculpture and art textiles are scheduled for 2015. Fiber: Sculpture 1960 – present will

wexner.center.logo
open at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio on February 7th and travel to the Des Moines Art Center, Iowa in May. BCA_color_studyInnovators and Legends will open at contemporary 108 in Tulsa, Oklahoma in February, as well. In April, the Tate in London will open The EY Exhibition: Sonia Delaunay, which will show how the artist

Sonia Delaunay Tate Modern

Sonia Delaunay Prismes electriques 1914 Centre Pompidou Collection, Mnam / Cci, Paris © Pracusa 2013057

dedicated her life to experimenting with color and abstraction, bringing her ideas off the canvas and into the world through tapestry, textiles, mosaic and fashion.

Also in April, the Museum of Arts and Design will host Pathmakers:

Lenore Tawney in her Coenties Slip studio, New York, 1958. Courtesy of Lenore G. Tawney Foundation; Photo by David Attie

Lenore Tawney in her Coenties Slip studio, New York, 1958.
Courtesy of Lenore G. Tawney Foundation; Photo by David Attie

Women in Art, Craft and Design, Midcentury and Today, featuring work by Sheila Hicks,  Lenore Tawney and Dorothy Liebes http://madmuseum.org/exhibition/pathmakers.

In June, the Toms Pauli Foundation in Lausanne, Switzerland will celebrate the International Tapestry Biennials held there from 1962 to toms.pauli.logo1995 and display work by the Polish textile artist and sculptor Magdalena Abakanowicz, in an exhibition entitled, Objective Station.

Also this summer, the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Baie St Paul in Musée.d'Art.ContemporaindeBaie.StPaul

Mariette Rousseau Vermette Portrait by Tom Grotta

Mariette Rousseau Vermette Portrait by Tom Grotta

Quebec, Canada will examine the work of Mariette Rousseau-Vermette, who participated in five of the Lausanne Biennials.

From April 24 – May 3, 2015, browngrotta arts will host Influence and Evolution, Fiber Sculpture then and now at our barn/home/gallery space in Wilton, Connecticut. In its 27-year history, browngrotta arts

InfluenceandEvolutionAdhas highlighted a group of artists – Sheila Hicks, Ritzi Jacobi, Lenore Tawney, Ed Rossbach and others – who took textiles off the wall in the 60s and 70s to create three-dimensional fiber sculpture. The influence of their experiments has been felt for decades. Influence and Evolution, Fiber Sculpture then and now, will explore that impact and examine how artists have used textile materials and techniques in the decades since, by juxtaposing works by artists who rebelled against tapestry tradition in the 60s, 70s and 80s,

Françoise Grossen, From the Mermaid Series IV, 1983, photo by Tom Grotta

Françoise Grossen, From the Mermaid Series IV, 1983, photo by Tom Grotta

including Magdalena Abakanowicz, Lia Cook, Kay Sekimachi and Françoise Grossen, with works from a later generation of artists, all born after 1960, through whom fiber sculpture continues to evolve. These artists, including María Eugenia Dávila and Eduardo Portillo of Venezuela, Stéphanie Jacques of Belgium and Naoko Serino of Japan, work in a time when classification of medium and material presents less of a constraint and fiber and fiber techniques can be more readily explored for their expressive potential alone.

“It is rare to find so many inventive, compelling works in one show, and it astounds that many are so little known,” wrote Kirsten Swenson in Art in America, about Fiber: Sculpture 1960 – present, in October 2014. Art in America Magazine – reviews: Fiber Sculpture 1960-present. This spring, in Influence and Evolutionbrowngrotta arts will offer dozens more significant works of fiber art for collectors to appreciate and new audiences to discover — more than two dozen works by fiber pioneers and another 30 more recent fiber explorations. We hope you will visit the exhibition, order the catalog or both. Please contact us for more information about what’s in store. art@browngrotta.com


Books Make Great Gifts: 2014 Edition

As in previous years, artists represented by browngrotta arts have an eclectic and interesting list of books to recommend, art-related and otherwise. Thanks to dozen-plus artists who made suggestions, 18 books in all.

Tamiko Kawata reports that she had the chance to read a few books while icing her injured shoulder after therapy, first three times a day, then two times. She enjoyedHaruki Murakami’s Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki Haruki Murakami’s Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. She is now reading — and enjoying — Even Back.Then.the.Fox.Was.the.HunterHerta Muller, Even Back Then, the Fox Was the Hunter.

Mary Merkel-Hess recommends Pilgrim.on.the.Great.Bird.ContinentPilgrim on the Great Bird Continent: The Importance of Everything and Other Lessons from Darwin’s Lost Notebooks by Lyanda Lynn Haupt. “It is the gracefully written account of how, during his five years on the Beagle, Charles Darwin became an accomplished naturalist who could discern scientific truths from the creatures he studied. “ she writes. “Haupt documents this transformation by concentrating on Darwin’s lesser-known writings, particularly his notebooks. At points it reads like a travelogue and a manual for bird watchers. I found it fascinating.”

“I do not get to read books as much as I like,” writes Kiyomi Iwata, ” but the best book I read this year wasThe.Grief.of.Others.Leah.Hager.Cohen The Grief of Others by Leah Hager Cohen. Even though she is very young — my daughter’s age — I found her prose most sensitive, insightful and compassionate. Her most recent book is No.Book.but.the.World.A.NovelNo Book for the World, which I am still reading.”

The most inspirational book Toshio Sekiji read this year was Korea.Economic.drilled.throughKorean Economy Drilled Through by Lee Hong Chang, which was originally published in Korea by Bobmun-sha,1999, the Japanese translation was by Hosei University Press in 2004. The book illuminates the dramatic changes from the medieval age to the modern age. It was one of a number of related books Toshio has read over the last two years as he prepared a report, “Korean Lacquer Culture through Neolithic Age to Modern Age” for the Bulletin of the Lacquer Art Museum in Wajima, Japan.

Ulla-Maija Vikman most enjoyed Flayed.ThoughtsNyljettyjä ajatuksia (Flayed Thoughts) by Juha Hurme. In Finnish only at this point, it’s a story of a 700-mile, 20-day rowing journey in which the characters eat, camp on islets and beaches and discuss what is essential and how what’s essential is transmitted.

There are two recommendations from Ruth Malinowski: The.Hare.With.Amber.EyesThe Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal, recommended last year by Kay Sekimachi (and published by Rhonda’s other employer, FSG/Macmillan) and 1913: The Year Before the Storm1913.The.Year.Before.the.Storm by Florian Illies. The latter highlights developments in literature and art, as well as politics, covering the lives of Kafka, Rilke, Thomas Mann, Camille Claudel, Freud, Stalin, Hitler and some Royalty. Wars, love letters, art thefts and many more events from1913 are cleverly combined in 12 chapters, each reflecting a calendar month.

Ceca Georgieva rated ShantaramShantaram by Gregory David Roberts as her most inspirational read of the year. (Full disclosure, this one is also published by Rhonda’s other employer, St. Martin’s Press/Macmillan and a book she also quite enjoyed. It’s been optioned by Johnny Depp and the movie is currently in production.)

“Of the many inspiring reads this year,” writes Wendy Wahl, “two authors stand out who had an impact on my work as a visual artist interested in the potency of printed text on paper. I was given The.Size.of.ThoughtsNicholson Baker’s The Size of Thoughts, by my husband when I was trying to weave together seemingly disparate yet connected ideas that sometimes are considered mundane and should be thought of as blessed into a cohesive short story. Baker’s style reminded me to keep doing what I was doing. I went onto read his Double.Fold.Libraries.and.the.Assault.on.PaperDouble Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper, which became the inspiration for a sculpture I made this year that shares its name. One of my favorite library activities is to stroll through the stacks with my head cocked to one side and my index finger underlining titles vertically to see what’s there. I was delighted to come upon On Paper,On.Paper.The.Everything.of.Its.2000.Year.History The Everything of Its Two-Thousand-Year History by Nicholas Basbanes, ‘a self-confessed bibliophiliac.’ I’ve checked this book out several times, paid late fees and, since I can’t write in this copy, I realize I must own it.”

Five art books got the nod from our artist/correspondents including Iridescent.LightIridescent Light: The Emergence of Northwest Art by Deloris Tarzan Ament with photographs by Mary Randlett. Dona Anderson “enjoyed immensely” Ament’s profiles of 21 artists who lived and worked in Washington State during formative periods in their careers, profiles that blend discussion of their work and commentary on the obstacles they faced and the influences they brought to bear on one another.

Scott Rothstein rates Bharany.CollectionsA Passionate Eye: Textiles, Paintings and Sculptures from the Bharany Collections, Giles Tillotson, ed. as a “great book.” Mr. Bharany is Scott’s “Indian Father.” He is very involved with textiles as well as paintings and other Indian art forms. Scott says, “I had tea with him three times a week when I lived there and we get back to India almost every year, mostly to spend time with him. He is around 88 years old, so we feel we need to be with him as much as we can.” The book on Judith Scott, Judith.Scott.Bound.UnboundJudith Scott, Bound and Unbound, he recommends, too — more for the photos than the text.

Nancy Koenigsberg found the volume created to accompany the traveling exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Fiber Sculpture 1960-presentFiber: Sculpture 1960 to the Present (available on our website, browngrotta.com), “a must read for fiber people,  makers and buyers — especially young artists who don’t know who some of these artists are. I was really surprised to discover that!!,” she says.

“My favorite book for this year,” writes Adela Akers, “is, without a doubt: In the Realm of NatureIn The Realm Of Nature: Bob Stocksdale & Kay Sekimachi (available on our website, browngrotta.com). A beautiful book, well conceived with excellent writing by Signe S. Mayfield. The life history of these two wonderful artists is beautifully intertwined with perfect images of their work. What a pleasure!”

Wishing you all new year that provides plenty of time for pleasure reading!


Art Out and About: Exhibitions Across the US

Coast-to-coast cultural opportunities to enjoy in August and through to November.

Traced Memories by Adela Akers, photo by Tom Grotta

Traced Memories by Adela Akers, photo by Tom Grotta

San Francisco, California
Adela Akers: Traced Memories, Artist-in-Residence
Through August 31st
Wednesdays–Sundays, 1–5 pm, plus Friday nights until 8:45 pm
Artist Reception: Friday, August 29, 6–8:30 p.m.
Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco de Young/Legion of Honor
Golden Gate Park
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive
San Francisco, California
https://deyoung.famsf.org/programs/artist-studio/august-artist-residence-adela-akers-traced-memories
Textile artist Adela Akers has moved her studio to the de Young for a month. Visitors to the new studio will learn how each choice in her art-making process contributes to the unique character and quality of her work. Throughout her residency, Akers will invite visitors to engage in hands-on activities that explore her creative process—from inspiration and research to preparation of the materials she has selected to convey her concept to creation and final presentation of the finished artworks. Akers’s work has been influenced and informed by pre-Columbian textiles and, most recently, paintings by women of the Mbuti people of the Ituri Forest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Journeying from one point to another has been a physical and transformative reality in her life, increasing her self-confidence and expanding her vision of the world. Akers feels fortunate to have made these geographical voyages and to have experienced country living’s broad horizons and quiet strength, the power of nature and the palpitating rhythm of cities.

Athena by Nancy Koenigsberg, photo by Tom Grotta

Athena by Nancy Koenigsberg, photo by Tom Grotta

Brockton, Massachusetts
Game Changers: Fiber Art Masters and Innovators
Through November 23rd
Fuller Craft Museum
455 Oak Street
Brockton, MA
http://fullercraft.org/press/game-changers-fiber-art-masters-and-innovators/
“Game changers” are artists, past and present, who continuously revisit traditional techniques and materials while developing revolutionary approaches in the realm of fiber art. Every work in the exhibition was chosen to showcase the individual practice of each invited artist. These creators epitomize the dynamism and fluidity of work in fiber. Artists featured in the exhibition include: Olga de Amaral, Dorothy Gill Barnes, Mary Bero, Nancy Moore Bess, Archie Brennan, John Cardin, Lia Cook, John Garrett, Jan Hopkins, Mary Lee Hu, Lissa Hunter, Diane Itter, Michael James, Naomi Kobayashi, Nancy Koenigsberg, Gyongy Laky, Chunghie Lee, Kari Lonning, Susan Martin Maffei, John McQueen, Norma Minkowitz, Michael F. Rohde, Ed Rossbach and Kay Sekimachi.

Midland Museum Forming: The Synergy Between Basketry and Sculpture, photo by Jennifer Falck Linssen

Midland Museum Forming: The Synergy Between Basketry and Sculpture, photo by Jennifer Falck Linssen

Midland, Michigan
Forming: The Synergy Between Basketry and Sculpture
Through September 7th
Alden B. Dow Museum
Midland Center for the Arts
1801 West Saint Andrews Road
Midland, Michigan
http://www.mcfta.org/ab-dow-museum-announces-summer-exhibitions-press-release/
The works by eight artists featured in Forming: The Synergy Between Basketry and Sculpture, including Jennifer Falck Linssen, were designed and executed as alternative approaches to sculptural form, in which the line dissolves between traditional basketry and contemporary sculpture. A selection of artists from across America inquisitively open our eyes to new alternatives in basketry and fiber-based sculptural form. The craftsmanship is superb, the creative and technical finesse is complex while the vision is beyond today yet with inspiration from long-revered fiber traditions.

Midland, Michigan
Modern Twist: Contemporary Japanese Bamboo Art

Cocoon by Jiro Yonezawa, photo by Tom Grotta

Cocoon by Jiro Yonezawa, photo by Tom Grotta

Through September 7th
Alden B. Dow Museum
Midlands Center for the Arts
1801 West Saint Andrews Road
Midland, Michigan
http://www.mcfta.org/ab-dow-museum-announces-summer-exhibitions-press-release/

Bamboo is a quintessential part of Japanese culture, shaping the country’s social, artistic, and spiritual landscape. Although bamboo is a prolific natural resource, it is a challenging artistic medium. There are fewer than 100 professional bamboo artists in Japan today. Mastering the art form requires decades of meticulous practice while learning how to harvest, split, and plait the bamboo. Modern Twist brings 38 exceptional works by 17 artists, including Jiro Yonezawa, to U.S. audiences, celebrating the artists who have helped to redefine a traditional craft as a modern genre, inventing unexpected new forms and pushing the medium to groundbreaking levels of conceptual, technical, and artistic ingenuity.

29ww EB mixed editions #12, Wendy Wahl, Encylodpedia Britanica pages, poplar frame, 24" x 32" x 1.5",  2011 photo by Tom Grotta

29ww EB mixed editions #12, Wendy Wahl, Encylodpedia Britanica pages, poplar frame, 24″ x 32″ x 1.5″, 2011
photo by Tom Grotta

Jamestown, Rhode Island
PAPER-MADE
Through August 30th
Wed. – Sat. 10am – 2pm
Jamestown Arts Center
18 Valley Street
Jamestown, Rhode Island
http://www.jamestownartcenter.org/exhibitions
Paper art is emerging as a global phenomenon. PAPER-MADE explores paper’s transformation from an everyday object into an exquisite three dimensional sculptural artwork. The exhibit’s title PAPER-MADE is a reference to Marcel Duchamp’s concept of the “ready-made,” since paper is an everyday object. The alchemic transformation from simple paper to art highlights the artist’s creativity and demonstrates the limitless potential of the art form. Eighteen showcased artists, including Wendy Wahl, explore this material’s ephemeral nature and beauty. Each artist explores different qualities of paper, from hand-made paper and paper string, to site-specific installation made of book pages, from Korean joomchi paper to found lottery tickets and archival photographs.


The Year in Books: Art, Life and Learning — Part 2

RichardDiebenkornAs always, art books are well represented among this year’s recommendations from browngrotta arts-affiliated artists, and at least one of the volumes offers life lessons, too.  Adela Akers writes that “the best books so far this year are the Diebenkorn catalogs for the exhibition at the de Young Museum,” which includes, Richard Diebenkorn, The Berkeley Years, 1953- 1966. Adela also recommends The Intimate Diebenkorn: Works on Paper 1949-1992, both as “good reads that include wonderful reproductions.” 39b.SHEILA.HICKSThe comprehensive volume,  Kyoko_Kumai_bookWorks of Kyoko Kumai Metallic Textile Art, published earlier this year tops Kyoko Kumai’s list. The book’s text appears in English and Japanese and it includes a digital version of the book on cd. Naomi Kobayashi recommends  Sheila Hicks for its content and beautiful binding.  The.Hare.with.Amber.EyesKay Sekimachi listed The Hare with Amber Eyes. In it, Edmund de Waal,  a potter and curator of ceramics at the Victoria & Albert Museum, describes the experiences of his family, the Ephrussis, and explores the family’s large collection of Japanese netsuke, tiny hand-carved figures including a hare with amber eyes. La_Biennale_di_VeneziaIn Heidrun Schimmel’s view, the 55. Esposizione Internazionale d´Arte  was one of the best Biennials in Venice ever, and she enthused about the accompanying catalog, The Encyclopedic Palace, 55th International Art Exhibition: La Biennale di Venezia. Its title was chosen by the director for the 55th Biennale as a reference to the 1955 design registered with the US Patent office by the self-taught artist Marino Auriti, depicting an imaginary museum that was meant to house all worldly knowledge and human discoveries, from the wheel to the satellite.  On the opposite side of Canale Grande writes Heidrun, “there is an important exhibition, Prima Materia, Punta della Dogana, Venezia, Dorsoduro, Pinault Collection, especially for artists who are working with material as matter. This exhibition continues through 2014, and is accompanied by a very good catalog, Caroline Bourgeois and Michael GovanPrima Materia,  edited by curators Caroline Bourgeois and Michael Govan.”  Visual Complexity: Mapping Patterns of Information by Manuel LimRandy Walker  read Visual Complexity: Mapping Patterns of Information by Manuel Lima this year.  “To me, network diagrams and their many variations are highly suggestive of fibrous connections. I am experimenting with the idea of my lines as connectors of different types of information.  The information can generate the connections. The book played an inspirational role in a new public art project I working on with Roosevelt High School here in Minneapolis to explore the network diagram in three dimensions. Here’s a link to the Kickstarter campaign to raise money for the project: Connections Gallery.”

Scrape_Willow_Until_It_Sings_Words_Work_Julia_ParkerAnd From Gyöngy Laky, a recommendation for a book and a for approaching life.  “Two artists I admire enormously, Julia Parker and Deborah Valoma, created, Scrape the Willow Until It Sings, The Words and Work of Julia Parker, one of the best books on basketry, life and art I have ever read. It was published this year by an exceptional book publisher, Heyday, Berkeley, California. Native American basketry, especially the work of indigenous people in California, has been, and continues to be, a major inspiration to me and my creative life. Julia Parker and the author Deborah ValomaValoma writes in the introduction, Julia Parker and other traditional practitioners have much to teach those of us in the academy. I would add, and to those not in the academy, as well. The vast personal experiences, broad and deep scope of historical evidence and creative wisdom that these two thoughtful women have brought together in this book is a gift to us all. Near the end I found a something that Parker said that feels like a guide: In our story – in our Indian way – we stop, look, and listen.  Stop. Think about yourself.  Rest yourself.  Rest your eyes, your hands.  Rest your body.  Look.  Look about you. Look at the smallest insect.  Look at the tallest trees, which have given us shelter and food.  And we listen.  Listen to the sound of the water flowing.  Listen to your elders, your teachers.  Listen to your grandmother, your grandfather, your parents.  And above all, listen to yourself.


November 26th: Our Online Exhibition Opens With an Offer for CyberMonday

On Monday, November 26th, browngrotta arts will present an online version of our 25th anniversary exhibition,Retro/Prospective: 25+ Years of Art Textiles and Sculpture at browngrotta.com. The comprehensive exhibition highlights browngrotta arts’ 25 years promoting international contemporary art. Viewers can click on any image in the online exhibition to reach a page with more information about the artists and their work.

“Some works in Retro/Prospective: 25+ Years of Art Textiles and Sculpture reflect the early days of contemporary textile art and sculpture movement,” says Tom Grotta, founder and co-curator at browngrotta arts. “There are also current works by both established and emerging artists, which provide an indication of where the movement is now and where it may be headed.”

Since Monday the 26th is CyberMonday this year, sales of art, books, catalogs, videos or dvds placed online or by telephone that day will be discounted 10% (excluding tax and shipping). In addition, bga will make a donation to the International Child Art Foundation for each sale made from November 24th through December 31, 2012. Visit browngrotta.com. For more information call Tom at 203.834.0623 or email us at art@browngrotta.com.