Tag: Art Textiles

23 Artists Can’t be Wrong — Kudos for our 30th Anniversary Catalog

Our 30th Anniversary Catalog Still Crazy After All These Years…30 years in art
was our most ambitious by far. Our 46th catalog, is the largest (196 pages), with the most photographs (186), featuring the most artists (83) and the most artworks (111). So naturally, we are pretty pleased that clients and artists are excited about it, too. We’ve sold a record number of copies since the release a few weeks ago, and it isn’t even listed on Amazon yet. Many of the artists—23 in fact—have written us raving about the catalog.“

New Age Basket No.4 by John Garrett, collected and artist made parts; copper sheet and wire; found; paint; rivets, 16” x 15” x 15”, 2009

“Very handsome,” pronounced John Garrett who has two works in the exhibition. Kiyomi Iwata, whose piece Southern Crossing Five is included in the exhibition, applauded the catalog as “meticulously photographed and printed” and acknowledged the passion that went into it, describing it as a “real work of love.” British artist Dail Behennah praised it as “…beautiful, full of interest and inspiration.”

Capricious Plaiting by Kazue Honma, paper mulberry plaiting, 56 x 43 x 20cm, 2016

Cordis prize winner Jo Barker felt it was “really stunning seeing the range of work included in the recent exhibition” and was “really proud to be a part of it.”  Gyöngy Laky, whose sculptures are included in the exhibition, found the selection of work for the catalog was “so strong and so creative.” She should know, she’s been in 11 of our catalogs!

Kazue Honma, a basketmaker
who has spent her career radicalizing the field of traditional Japanese basket making wrote “I am very proud of this book including my work. You made me keep going all these years. I cannot say my thanks enough to you.”

Dark Horizon by Adela Akers. linen, horsehair and metal, 23″ x 24″, 2016

Several of the artists appreciated Janet Koplos’ insightful essay, including Adela Akers, whose tapestry, Dark Horizon is included. She wrote “ Wonderful review of the work and your work during all these years by Janet Koplos. Loved her analysis and description of my piece.” The text is “superb” wrote Dona Anderson, whose work, Otaku is featured. “I really enjoyed reading Janet Koplos’ introduction and her appreciation of your contribution to our field,” wrote Karyl Sisson. Ritzi Jacobi, whose sculptural tapestry, Rhythmic, is found on page 59, noted the comprehensive look at browngrotta arts’ history that Koplos took in her essay, “after all these years the catalog gives one a great impression of your activities and preferences.”

Otaku by Dona Anderson, reeds, thread and paint, 17″ x 18′ x 15″, 2015

Learn for yourself where we’ve come from and what our artists are up to by ordering your own copy of
Still Crazy After All These Years…30 years in art HERE

 


Textiles At Tate Modern in London

These are exciting days at the Tate Modern in London for fans of art textiles. You’ll find fiber works by important artists in several different galleries.

Beyond Craft, in the Boiler House, curated by Ann Coxon features three pioneers, Lenore Tawney, Olga de Amaral and Sheila Hicks, who experimented with different weaving techniques, often looking to historical or indigenous textiles for inspiration. De Amaral and Hicks were particularly inspired by the technical brilliance of Peruvian weavings made before European colonization. The Museum notes that many artists in the 1960s were using weaving and knotting to create innovative hangings and sculptures, integrating traditional craft techniques into fine art practice. “The 1960s saw several high-profile exhibitions of ‘fiber art’: textile techniques used to create unique art objects without a practical function. These three artists were among those who attempted to collapse the hierarchy that sets fine art above craft. While this distinction has not entirely disappeared, in recent years fiber art has become a source of inspiration for a new generation of artists and curators and the artists displayed here are receiving fresh consideration.”

Peruvian by Lenore Tawney

Peruvian by Lenore Tawney, linen double weave , 86″ x 18″, circa 1962-83
Lenore, like many artist of the 1960s, was drew inspiration for her weaving from indigenous Peruvian weavings. Photo credit: Tom Grotta

Lekythos by Lenore Tawney, linen; woven, knotted, 50” x 31-3/4” x 1-3/4”, 1962,
Photo: George Erml

In Magdalena Abakanowicz, also in the Boilerhouse, viewers can explore Abakanowicz’s stitched cloth sculptures inspired by biological systems, organic matter, and regeneration. “Made at a time of political tension between the Soviet Union and Poland, Abakanowicz has said the work ‘could be understood as a cry from behind the Iron Curtain’,” says the Museum notes. (That was the time frame in which Anne and Jacques Baruch brought Abakanowicz’ work to the US, the subject of browngrotta arts’ catalog, Advocates for Art: Polish and Czech Fiber Artists from the Anne and Jacques Baruch Collection.)

Embryology by Magdalena Abakanowicz, burlap, cotton gauze, hemp rope, nylon and sisal, 2009
Photo: Tate Photography

Elsewhere in the Boilerhouse is a work by El Anatsui, who completely transforms the most pedestrian materials into art. By flattening bottle tops and stitching them together into a shimmering metal cloth, he turns familiar disposable objects into something that appears precious and alters them in the viewers’ eyes. Taking a similar approach to the mundane, Sheela Gowda from India has created a room-sized installation made of car bumpers and handwoven human hair, an observation on “the coexistence of ritual and superstition alongside modern urban and economic transformation.”

Ink Splash II by El Anatsui, aluminum and copper, 9.35 ft x 12.24 ft, 2012
Photo: Tate Photography

Want to know more? Visit the Museum’s website to see images and to read New Yarn, Tate, etc. Essay: Textiles and Art by Kirsty Bell: http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/articles/new-yarns


Artist in the House: Jane Balsgaard from Denmark

 

Browngrotta arts’ artist Jane Balsgaard recently visited the gallery on her way to the opening of Plunge: explorations from above and below at the New Bedford Art Museum. Balsgaard, a native of Denmark, has been very busy lately. In addition to participating in both Plunge and our 30th Anniversary Exhibition, Still Crazy After All These Years…30 years in art, Balsgaard has just completed a lofty commission for the Hotel Bretagne located in Hornbaek, Denmark.

Jane Balsgaard working

Jane Balsgaard holding “Deck,” a new piece she made while visiting browngrotta.
Photo by Tom Grotta

For the Hotel Balsgaard was commissioned to create something to adorn a 29.5 ft wall facing the Hotel’s staircase. Gallery Hornbaek owner, Susanne Risom, saw Balsgaard’s work as a solution to the immense design dilemma. Balsgaard’s installation, titled Waterfall, consists of 18 reliefs, one sculpture, and one relief in the ceiling, all made with natural materials.

"Waterfall" by Jane Balsgaard

Looking down Jane Balsgaard’s “Waterfall” at the Hotel Bretagne.

The reliefs, varying in length, stretch down the length of the wall creating a straightforward course for the eye to follow. In a statement for Gallery Hornbaek, which assisted in arranging the commission, Art Historian Johan Zimsen Kristiansen explains that the “in the transition between pins, a number of small harmoniously matched fractures and character, along with transparent dots or bubbles of colored paper, all contribute to creating the falls’ dynamics,” and connect the once problematic space.

"Wilton Boat" by Jane Balsgaard

Jane tediously working on “Wilton Boat.”

During her visit at browngrotta arts in Connecticut, Balsgaard worked on a new piece called Wilton Boat, a 12.5” x 11” x 1.5” sailboat made from glass and natural materials, which she sourced fro her yard in Denmark and ours in Wilton.

You can see Jane Balsgaard’s newest works in in browngrotta arts’ online exhibition Cross-Currents: Art Inspired by Water and at the Plunge exhibition through October 8th and of course, by booking a stay at the Hotel Bretagne.


Art Assembled: Featured in December

Dona Look White Birch Bark Baskets

Dona Look
10dl #10-1, white birch bark and waxed silk thread, sewn with wrapped edge
12.6” x 10” x 10”, 2010
10dl #13-2, woven white birch bark, sewn and wrapped with waxed silk thread
13.75” x 8.5” x 8.5”, 2013
9dl #15-2, white birch bark and waxed silk thread sewn exterior, woven interior and wrapped edge
11.75” x 11.75” x 11.75”, 2015.
Photo by Tom Grotta

Each week of the year at browngrotta.com, we draw attention to a work, a book or a project by one of the artists we represent. Beginning this December, we’ll be providing a monthly round up of these works here on arttextstyle.com. This month on browngrotta.com we featured four very disparate works. First, baskets of white birch by Dona Look, who harvests the bark herself in Wisconsin where she lives. “Look carefully selects bark from large, healthy trees that will soon be logged—evaluating the diameter of each tree and the bark’s thickness, for its unique markings and flexibility,” explains Jane Milosch in “The Entanglement of Nature and Man,” Green from the Get Go: Contemporary International Basketmakers (browngrotta arts, Wilton, CT 2016). “Collecting and preparing the bark is painstaking and must be done in the spring when the sap is running. Unfortunately, her work has become increasingly difficult of late as not all of the trees are in a natural cycle, and some are dying due to climate change, such as white birch trees, once prevalent in northern Wisconsin forests.” The simple geometric patterns of some of her works, writes Milosch, “recall the patterns of Native American parfleche pouches, which were a kind of geographical depictions of the surrounding land, at the same time her basket preserves the radiant splendor of birch.”

steel weaving by Kyoko Kumai

31kk Kyoko Kumai, Sen Man Na Yu Ta, stainless steel filaments, 44″ x 38″ x 7.75″, 2016. Photo by Tom Grotta

A strikingly different sensibility is evident in Sen Man Na Yu Ta, Kyoko Kumai’s wall sculpture of stainless steel. The steel filaments, mass-produced in a factory, are inorganic and monotonous by themselves, but when they are woven, twisted or bundled together they take on an organic appearance that serves to express various aspects of wind, air and light.

Glass and paper boat

32jb Glass Boat, Jane Balsgaard, plantpaper, twigs and glass, 14″ x 13″ x 1.5″ 2015. Photo by Tom Grotta

Our third choice, Jane Balsgaard’s Glass Boat, deftly blends a sail of lightly processed handmade paper and a hull of glossy glass. Finally, in Process Piece, Ed Rossbach takes on construction, deconstruction and reconstruction in one work. First, he printed an image onto fabric, then he unraveled the fabric and finally re-constructed it into a new version. “I thought he was crazy,” his wife, artist Katherine Westphal told us.
The four works create a fine sentiment for 2017: Seek the splendid, airy, shiny and light; be willing to re-envision and remake.

Ed Rossbach Weaving

159r Process Piece, Ed Rossbach, 15″ x 15″ x 2.5″, 1981. Photo by Tom Grotta


Make a Day of It! Stimulus and Other Art Events Nearby

If you plan to come to Wilton between October 22nd and November 1st for Stimulus: art and its inception, consider adding a stop at one of our other local art venues to your trip. There are several exhibitions to choose from — all within 20 minutes of browngrotta arts:

Jessica Stockholder, Hollow Places Court in Ash-Tree Wood (partial installation view at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield), 2011 Courtesy of the artist and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York

Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

Jessica Stockholder: Hollow Places Court in Ash-Tree Wood, a collaboration of sculptor Jessica Stockholder, cabinetmaker Clifford Moran and screenprinter Gary Lichtenstein utilizing the wood from a ailing 100-year old ash tree from the Aldrich’s grounds.
258 Main Street, Ridgefield
Tuesday – Sunday, 12 pm to 5 pm.
http://www.aldrichart.org/exhibitions/stockholder.php

Norma Minkowitz at her New Cannan Library Opening

New Canaan Library

Drawn to the Edge: Sculpture and Drawings by Norma Minkowitz
151 Main Street, New Canaan
Monday -Thursday 9 am – 8 pm; Friday – Saturday 9 am – 5 pm; Sundays 12 pm – 5 pm
http://newcanaanlibrary.org.s108997.gridserver.com/events/norma-minkowitz-artist

Silvermine Arts Guild, Joe Saccio, Elegy for Clint, Homage for Motherwell, Wood, 6' x 3' x 14"

Silvermine Arts Guild

Memory and Metamorphosis, an exhibit of sculptural works in a variety of sizes and materials, including wood, paper and fiber bindings, by Joseph Saccio.
Discovered Masterworks: The Extraordinary Collages of Larry Lewis, the Director’s Choice exhibit that features works by reclusive artist, Larry Lewis, as seen in the collage books that he began in the late 60s and continued to produce until his death in 2004.
1037 Silvermine Road, New Canaan
Sunday: 1 pm – 5 pm; Monday -Tuesday: By Appointment; Wednesday-Saturday: 12 pm – 5 pm
http://www.silvermineart.org/art/exhibitions

Westport Arts Center

Love: In The Eye Of The Beholder, a members exhibition juried by David Kiehl of the Whitney Art Museum
51 Riverside Avenue, Westport
Monday – Friday, 10 am – 4 pm; Saturday – Sunday 12 pm – 4 pm
http://westportartscenter.org/ev?genre=exhibitions#11valove


Dispatches: Sheila Hicks: 50 Years, Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts

It was the well worth the wait.  The first museum retrospective of Sheila Hicks‘ remarkable career has opened at the Addison Gallery and will travel to additional venues in the next few years, including the Institute of Contemporary Art of Philadelphia next March 2011 and the Mint Museum of Craft + Design, Charlotte, NC in October 2011.

Addison Gallery

The Addison is an ideal showcase for the expansive exhibition, which includes more than 100 works, journals, videos and photographs. The classic architecture of the gallery provides an ideal counterpoint for Hicks’ brilliantly colored soft sculptures, for the more formal panels of stitched medallions and linen pony tails and for the minimes, framed miniature works, from various decades that are featured throughout the exhibition. When we arrived at sundown, the building was bathed in golden light an inviting complement to La Mémoire, the brilliantly colored series of wrapped cords to the left of the entrance and Bamian, the larger jewel-toned installation that can be seen in the distance in the gallery down the corridor.

Entrance to Sheila Hicks Exhibition at the Addison Gallery. Photo by Carter Grotta

The exhibition is comprehensive, addressing the remarkable reach of Hicks’ artistic life, which has included learning sewing and embroidery as a child in Nebraska, studying painting with Josef Albers at Yale, weaving in South America on a Fulbright and site commissions for public spaces including the Ford Foundation and Georg Jensen in New York, the Target corporate headquarters in Minneapolis, the Fuji City Cultural Center in Japan and the Banco de Mexico headquarters, with architect Ricardo Legorreta. In addition, Hicks has also published a magazine, created designs for commercial production, taught, founded workshops in Mexico, Chile, and South Africa, worked in Morocco and India, pursued interior and exterior architecture, sculpture, photography, book design and writing. To unravel this extraordinary range, the exhibition focuses on five related fields of inquiry: miniature weavings and drawings, site commissions for public spaces, industrially produced textiles and workshop hand-productions, bas reliefs and sculptures, and process works made of recuperated textiles, clothing and other found objects.

View from the top of the stairs: Sheila Hicks exhibition at the Addison Gallery. Photo by Carter Grotta

Regardless of the period, the works in the exhibit are strikingly original. We found ourselves constantly checking dates as 40-year-old works appeared as fresh as those made last year. The conclusion,  after viewing Sheila Hicks; 50 Years, is inescapable: Hicks has reinvented textile tradition, and, in the process, transformed the terrain that links art, design and architecture.

The exhibition is at the Addison through February 27, 2011 Addison Gallery of Art, Philips Academy, 80 Main Street, Andover, Massachusetts, 01810; 978 749 4000; http://www.andover.edu/Museums/Addison/Exhibitions/
OnViewNow/hicks/Pages/default.aspx

. We hope to see it in a least one of the venues that follows.  Hicks work has always been about inhabiting space; we’d like to see this exhibition reconfigured.

The exquisitely designed and lavishly illustrated accompanying volume from Yale Press,  Sheila Hicks: 50 Years, by Joan Simon and Addison Curator, Susan C. Faxon, with an essay by Whitney Chadwick, documents the full extent of Hicks’ work, from exquisite miniature weavings to major sculptural pieces to such large-scale commissions as The Four Seasons of Fuji.  It is available from browngrotta.com.


Dispatches: Chicago’s Art institute, Contemporary Fiber Art from the Permanent Collection

Carter Taking Pictures on the entrance ramp that leads to the art institute

We made a hurried trip to the Art Institute on the

last day of SOFA to see Contemporary Fiber Art: A Selection from the Permanent Collection, the inaugural exhibition in the reopened Elizabeth F. Cheney and Agnes Allerton Textile Galleries, which were closed for five years during the construction of the Modern Wing. We walked there in the glorious morning sunshine, through a corner of Millennium Park, and entered the Institute from the bridge. Heading down to the textile galleries feels a bit like entering the basement, but once inside, the spaces are light and airy.

Posters for the two fiber exhibits photo by Carter Grotta

The holdings of the Department of Textiles at the Art Institute comprise more than 66,000 sample swatches and 14,000 textiles ranging from 300 BC to the present. Extensive holdings of ecclesiastical textiles, 16th- and 17th-century velvets, 18th-century silks, 18th-20th-century printed fabrics, and lace are included in the department’s impressive collection of European textiles. Other notable holdings include American quilts and woven coverlets, historical fashion accessories, dress and furnishing fabrics and Japanese and Chinese holdings.

Entering the Exhibition facing "Red Doors" by Robert D. Sailors photo by Carter Grotta

Helena Hernmarck's Mu1 and and its maquette next to Si Rothko M'etait Conte by Mariette Rousseau-Vermette photo by Carter Grotta

The Collection also includes more than 400 textiles and fiber art works from the 20th Century. These are not freestanding fiber works, sculptures vessels or baskets, for the most part, but wall hangings and ceiling-hung pieces. Sixty-one of these pieces are currently on display. Nonetheless it is an impressive grouping. The usual suspects are here – Lenore TawneySheila Hicks and Claire Zeisler, Peter Collingwood and the Poles, Magdalena AbakanowiczZofia Butrymowicz and Jolanta Owidzka. But there are some surprises. Red Doors, by Robert D. Sailors, which graces the entrance is a show stopper. The Cynthia Schira that is included is an excellent piece.  Helena (Barynina) Hernmarck’s 1965 abstract tapestry Mu1 is enhanced by the powerful painted maquette that is displayed alongside. The Mariette Rousseau-Vermette work, Si Rothko M’etait Conté (If Rothko Himself Had Told Me a Story)(which we assisted a client in donating) was luminous. We were delighted to see the tapestries  floating off the wall, as we recommend, giving added dimension to the works. One quibble, the works in the cases in the conference room, which include a piece by Scott Rothstein, need to be better lit. Maybe motion detection lights would work, which would minimize energy use and uv exposure but still enable the works to be seen when viewers enter the room.

The items selected work well together, as curator Christa C. Mayer Thurman, emerita of the Department of Textiles, intended. The exhibition’s stated aim — to explore how fiber art has developed as an art form from the middle of the 20th Century through today and illustrate how the flexibility and variability of the medium encouraged artists to explore the potential of different fibers and methods — has certainly been achieved.

View of exhibit centered around a work by Claire Zeisler photo by Carter Grotta

 


Sneak Peek: Catalog No. 37, Advocates for Art: Polish and Czech Fiber Artists from the Anne and Jacques Baruch Collection Catalog, Essay by Christa C. Mayer Thurman

catalog cover

Advocates for Art: Polish and Czech Fiber Artists from the Anne and Jacques Baruch Collection

The 37th catalog produced by browngrotta arts, Advocates for Art: Polish and Czech Fiber Artists from the Anne and Jacques Baruch Collection, will be available beginning November 10, 2010.

 

PALISADES (Detail), Anna Urbanowicz-Krowacka, wool and sisal, 55" x 70", 1992

Prominent art dealers Anne and Jacques Baruch first opened the Jacques Baruch Gallery in Chicago in 1967. The Baruch’s gallery focused on contemporary art and artists from Central and Eastern Europe, which Jacques once described as “the finest work of tomorrow…not what is known…the new blood.” Many of the works presented at the gallery were by artists who began their careers under Communist occupation. The gallery’s early years coincided with worsening political conditions behind the Iron Curtain. On August 20, 1968, the Baruchs left Prague just five hours before Soviet tanks rolled into the city and brutally ended a brief period of democratic reforms.

 

LUNE DE MIEL I (Detail), Magdalena Abakanowicz, sisal and linen, 55"x 78" x 8", 1986

Making trips behind the Iron Curtain during these years was a complex and, at times, dangerous, way of making a living. Despite these difficulties, the couple managed to find a significant entourage of artists to exhibit, among them a group of innovative textile artists, who had gathered acclaim at the Lausanne Biennials of International Tapestry and other European exhibitions, but who were not well known in the US. “We were captivated by their energy, experiments and bold compositions,” Anne would write of the Polish fiber artists she and Jacques met in 1970. “Though there were…shortages of studios, materials and most necessities for daily life, all their problems did not hamper their work. Rather, it stimulated their creativity, and their use of sisal, rope, metal, horsehair and fleece as well as the traditional wool, flax and silk, revealed new artistic thought with results which were dynamic, highly personal and original.”

 

LEATHER SKETCH (Detail), Jolanta Owidzka, high warp linen, sisal, leather 27" x 45" x 4"; 70 x 110cm, 1977

These artists included Magdalena Abakanowicz of Poland (whose tapestry Lune de Miel 2 is installed at Chicago’s McCormick Place and whose sculpture installation Agora,  a group of 106 iron cast figures, is in Chicago’s Grant Park), Jolanta Banaszkiewicz (Poland), Zofia Butrymowicz (Poland), Hanna Czajkowska (Poland), Jan Hladik (Czechoslovakia), Luba Krejci (Czechoslovakia), Lilla Kulka (Poland), Maria Laszkiewicz (Poland), Jolanta Owidzka (Poland), Agnieszka Ruszczynska-Szafranska (Poland), Wojciech Sadley (Poland), Anna Sledziewska (Poland), Anna Urbanowicz-Krowacka (Poland) and Krystyna Wojtyna-Drouet (Poland). It is work by this group of historically significant artists that is featured in this catalog.

CO-BOG ZLACZYL (WHAT GOD HAS JOINED), Lilla Kulkaa wool, silk 55" X 48", 1987

Christa C. Mayer Thurman has written an introductory essay about Jacques and Anne Baruch for the catalog. Thurman, who was the Chair and Curator of the Department of Textiles at the Art Institute of Chicago from 1967 through 2009, has also written brief essays about several of the 14 artists whose works are featured in the catalog. Thurman is the author and co-author of numerous books about textiles, including, Raiment for the Lord’s Service (1975); Claire Zeisler: a Retrospective (1979); Lissy Funk: A Retrospective (1989); and Textiles: The Art Institute of Chicago (1992). For European Tapestries in the Art Institute of Chicago (2008), Thurman was the general editor, contributed to the resulting volume as an author and oversaw the collection’s conservation. Thurman and her late husband, Lawrence S. Thurman were friends of the Baruchs for many years. During Thurman’s tenure at the Art Institute several textiles from behind the Iron Curtain entered the collection either as gifts, bequests or as purchases.

PODROZ (Journey) from the Kolodia series Agnieszka Ruszczynska-Szafranska linen, sisal, wool 60" x 56", 1986

The 76-page color catalog can be ordered from browngrotta arts beginning http://browngrotta.com/Pages/c35.php November 10, 2010.


Blurring the Line: Textile Art Takes Manhattan

This Fall, art involving weaving, embroidery and crochet is showing up in unexpected venues in New York, possibly answering the question, at last: Is craft art? One gallery disavows any connection: “Olek’s use of crochet has no relation to the world of craft, rather it is used as an alternative to other artistic mediums such as oil or acrylic on canvas.” the press materials assert. But we can’t help but wonder: Does the gallery protest too much??

In any event, Here’s a list of three intriguing exhibitions featuring artists who use cotton viscose, silk and recycled material, woven and crocheted, in their work as well as acrylic, ink, enamel and glass.

threading orbs
An Exhibition of Recent Tapestries and Works on Paper by Thierry W. Despont
Marlborough Gallery, Inc.
40 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019
t. 212.541.4900 f. 212.541.4948
www.marlboroughgallery.com
September 23rd – October 23, 2010

The Marlborough Gallery mounts an exhibition of tapestries and works on paper by renowned artist, architect and designer Thierry W. Despont The show will mark the public debut of Despont’s work in tapestry. Eight monumental tapestries will be displayed. Despont is recognized for his paintings on wood panel or on copper mounted on wood panel that depict nebulas, celestial bodies and planets. These works are executed in mixed media with such materials as enamel, asphaltum, acrylic, ink, glue, epoxy resin, paper, alumichrom, and oil stick. By using contemporary Jacquard looms, Despont as translated these richly detailed, highly expressive paintings into woven tapestries that seem to glow with light.

Despont comments on this new body of work: “… I like to think of my orbs as floating in space, and tapestry, with its three-dimensional aspects, is a fantastic medium for them…. I am fascinated by our universe filled with billions of galaxies, of stars and planets, by the idea of being drawn into space and floating away. The tapestries display this poetic notion of floating with these orbs, as the light bounces off softly. … People are drawn to them…. It is an emotional force; they exert their own kind of gravity.”

In addition to his familiarity with tapestries as a child in France, Despont became engaged with the medium of tapestry — its beauty, artistic qualities and installation — through his restoration of Clayton, the Frick family mansion in Pittsburgh, and his design for the Decorative Arts Galleries of the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, where numerous tapestries of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries are on view. He joins a number of contemporary artists who have used the new, technologically advanced Jacquard looms to create lasting work of power and intricate visual poetry.

An illustrated catalogue featuring an interview with the artist will be available at the time of the exhibition.

“OLEK: Knitting is for Pus****”
Christopher Henry Gallery
127 Elizabeth St., (Broome)
New York, NY
t.212.244.6004
www.christopherhenrygallery.com
Through October 17, 2010

Polish-born artist, Olek creates wild, and occasionally functional, structures from hundreds of miles of crocheted, woven, and often recycled materials, forms, and spaces. For this exhibition,the ChristopherHenry Gallery serves as the “home base” for Olek’s exhibit, a multi-media sculptural environment, featuring an entire room completely covered in crochet. Viewers may also follow her threads out of the gallery using a map to discover new objects she has crocheted and intertwined throughout the neighborhoods of NOLITA and L.E.S.

“Olek’s use of crochet has no relation to the world of craft,” reads the gallery’s press materials, “rather it is used as an alternative to other artistic mediums such as oil or acrylic on canvas. Its use can be interpreted as a metaphor for the complexity and interconnectedness of the body, its systems and psychology, and, in a broader sense, it can represent humanity itself. The connections are stronger as one fabric, as opposed to separate strands, but, if you cut one, the whole thing will fall apart. It also serves as a literal extension of the body, a second skin that can be stretched and reshaped. Olek’s use of crochet is not a feminist critique – her obsessive use of the medium, often denigrated as “women’s work”, combined with Olek’s recurring camouflage motif and the impressive scale of her projects, challenges traditional notions of gender, as she aggressively re-weaves the world as she sees fit. In a new series of text based works Olek contrasts the convenience and spontaneity of “txt msgs” to her time-consuming, laborious crochet, reevaluating the notions of privacy, communication, and technology while immortalizing the intense yet fleeting sentiments of modern relationships.”

ANGELO FILOMENO:
The marquis and a bearded dominatrix with a cake in the oven

Galerie Lelong
528 W. 26th St.
New York, NY
t.212.315.0470
www.galerielelong.com
Through October 23, 2010.
In The marquis and a bearded dominatrix with a cake in the oven, Angelo Filomeno presents new embroidery paintings and sculpture that exemplify his signature technique and fascination with the macabre. Fantastical and allegorical in imagery, and intricate in technique, Filomeno’s works are deeply informed by his upbringing in Italy. Filomeno learned to embroider from his mother and began apprenticing for a tailor when he was 7; his father was a blacksmith. From a young age, Filomeno formed a keen awareness of texture, composition, detail, and craftsmanship. He also developed an interest in the darker facets of the human condition: mortality, isolation, compulsion, fragility. These stark themes have pervaded his work, juxtaposed with the use of alluring, sensuous materials such as silk, black glass, and crystals.

In his newest exhibition, Filomeno pares down the ornate approach for which he is best known and presents sparser, more concise works that evoke the artist’s common themes with minimal means. Included are two large-scale mandalas, embroidered mosaics of stitched silk and satin in varying shades of yellow. The concentric rings of geometric patterns and bright yellow hues beckon the viewer to gaze deeper and deeper in to the piece, only to be confronted by a sinister skull and hoards of cockroaches hidden in their centers. Also on view will be a triptych of detached, decomposing heads of men he deems ‘philosophers,’ a character that he has revisited throughout his career as a paradigm of the harsh aspects of mortality and reflection. “The irony,” Filomeno has said, “is that these portraits represent death, but they are still thinking about their own existence.”

Maybe we’ll see you there.


Dispatch: American International Fine Art Fair, Palm Beach, February 3rd-8th

Tawney-Colles-at-AIFAF.jpg

Lenore Tawney collages, In Chaco and The Loftiest Word and sculpture, Boy with Duck, at AIFAF

From February 3rd to the 8th. browngrotta arts will join more than 80 international galleries exhibiting at the American International Fine Art Fair (AIFAF) in Palm Beach, Florida. AIFAF is recognized as the “crown jewel” of American art fairs and is the only American art and antiques fair rated 5 stars by The Art Newspaper. AIFAF is a fully vetted fair, featuring prestigious international dealers presenting a mix of paintings, sculpture, jewelry, antiques, contemporary design and decorative arts. In cooperation with the Baruch Foundation and the Lenore G. Tawney Foundation, browngrotta arts will feature the work of Magdalena Abakanowicz and Lenore Tawney at AIFAF, artists whose work redefined weaving and sculpture in the 20th Century.

Abakanowicz is the best-known Polish artist in the world. She initially gained acclaim for her “Abakans,” monumental woven works of sisal, ropes and other fibers that hung free in space. Next were headless human forms of burlap and later bronze. Large groupings of her sculptures are installed around the world, from Chicago’s Millennium Park to Olympic Park in Seoul to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. In presenting her a Visionaries! award in 2000, the Museum of Arts and Design cited her for “her powerful explorations, dealing with the impact of social and political reality on individual identity, that have demonstrated the potential of fiber as an effective and expressive sculptural material.”

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Weavings by Magdalena Abakanowicz at AIFAF. The weavings on the far right and far left were woven in the 1980s; the piece in the center is from the 1960s.

At AIFAF, browngrotta arts will exhibit three weavings by Abakanowicz, one from the 1960s and two, from the Anne and Jacques Baruch Collection, Ltd., created in the 1980s. The Baruchs opened a gallery in Chicago in the late 1960s, bringing work to the U. S. from Central Europe in order to give exposure to the Slavic art that Jacques, who died in 1986, once described as “the finest work of tomorrow…not what is known…the new blood.” Jacques was unable to travel after 1970, but Anne continued to travel to Central Europe to search for art. As the political situation in the area tightened, Anne, began smuggling art into the US, often at great risk. Government agents would seal her packages of approved art before she left; with the help of artists, she would often unseal the packages and reseal them in order to add unsanctioned works. She would travel with a bright red Hartman suitcase with a false bottom, filled with art supplies that the artists could not buy. On her return trip, artworks would be hidden inside. In this manner, Anne amassed a singular collection of contemporary textiles and historical and contemporary Czech photography. The Baruch Foundation was established in 2008, subsequent to Anne’s death in 2006 and is comprised of her personal art collection and the artwork inventory of The Anne and Jacques Baruch Collection, Ltd. The missions of the Foundation are to preserve and foster the growth of the visual arts of Eastern and Central Europe through donations of artwork to museums and schools, and to fund educational programs and scholarships by the sale of artwork.

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Works by Lenore Tawney on display in the browngrotta arts booth at AIFAF.

At AIFAF, browngrotta arts will also show weavings, drawings, collages and mixed media assemblages by Lenore Tawney, who died in 2007 at the age of 100. “Luminous is an apt word to describe the entire career of the American artist Lenore Tawney,” wrote Holland Cotter in the New York Times in 2004. In the 1950’s, he noted, “she created a series of monumental open-weave sculptures that were like nothing seen before or since. Astonishing.” About her collages Cotter has written, “Whether she sets cut-up bits of handwriting spinning around a reproduction of a Michelangelo sibyl or turns strips of antique German books into suspended grids, she touches on the roots of the collage medium in language and personal history with a reticent orginality.” The Lenore G Tawney Foundation was established in 1989 by Tawney for charitable and educational purposes. Its aim is to support other artists in their own artistic efforts and to support special projects at art museums and non-profit educational arts organizations; its highest priority is to nurture emerging artists and to provide them with learning opportunities through established educational programs.