Tag: Basketry

Anniversary Lookback: Hisako Sekijima at browngrotta arts

For our 30th Anniversary exhibition, Still Crazy After All These Years…30 Years of Art, Hisako Sekijima provided us Structural Discussion VI, a work made in 2016. In 1994, the first year Sekijima showed with browngrotta arts, we sold another work from the Structural Discussion series, #312, which she had made 30 years before in 1987. Even as she addresses a single theme, Sekijima’s use of varied materials and approaches makes the results of these explorations remarkably diverse.

NYT portrait of Hisako Sekijima

Portrait of Hisako Sekijima at her first solo exhibition with browngrotta arts in 1994; baskets of Kudzo vine, walnut, cedar, cherry bark, hackberry shavings and willow bark. Photo by Tom Grotta. The exhibition was reviewed in The New York Times, “Cherishing the Space and the Forms that Define It,” Bess Liebenson, July 1994.

Sekijima writes below about her many-year basket journey in Japan where, she explains, “making non-utilitarian baskets is not so properly appreciated after these 30 years!!” Her journey has included a collaboration with other basketmakers in Japan who have prepared an exhibition and catalog each year for 30 years. Information about that group and its anniversary will form Part 2 of this series of posts and will appear in an upcoming arttextstyle.
Sekijima featured in <em>The New York Times</em>

Sekijima featured in The New York Times

“In the 40 years I have been working with baskets, my concerns have extended beyond basket topics toward sculptural ones. Not only I have used rather common basket materials including tree barks, vines, splints of bamboo or woods, but also I have chosen extended concepts of vessel forms with negative spaces and linear constructions.  Both of my aesthetic and technical ideas such as revaluing negative space and examining the natural property of materials are illustrated in my explorations into the nature and history of basketmaking. It brings me a deeper understanding of physical rules of interplay among materials’ property, constructing method and a form, while it brings me a tactility or real touch of abstract ideas of numbers/counting, time, order, and etc. With coordination of hands, spirits and sense, physical experiences and conceptual ones come together in baskets.

Over the years, basketmaking has continued to inspire my inquiry into how and why human beings are motivated to make objects as well as how object-making forms and develops makers’ way of looking at things in general. As I explored baskets, I came better understand the interaction of human beings and our natural environment. My interest is not confined to representing personal inner imagery, but is widened to research the function of human hands and intellect through our interaction with nature.
Sekijima’s Structural Discussions

On the wall: Structural Discussion IV & V, plaited and woven cedar, 1997-98 from left to right: Structural Discussion VI, plaited cedar and walnut, 2016; Multiple Axis II, looped chamaecyparis (cyprus) and cedar, 2013; Structural Discussion I, plaited cedar, walnut, ginkgo, 1987; From 2 to 3 Dimensions V, plaited and folded walnut.

In 1994, when I was invited to show at browngrotta arts for the first time, basket #312 was among the first sales. It was entitled Structural Discussion and made in 1987, same year browngrotta had opened. Around that time, I concluded my classification of baskets into six primary types: looped, knotted, plaited, coiled, warp/weft woven and twined. Since 1987, visions of structural concepts have continued to return to me and have resulted in varying expressions. A set of two square baskets, #434 and #435, Structural Discussion IV and V made in 1997 and 1998, shows the comparison of plaited structure and warp/weft structure. You see in IV oblong negative spaces put in parallel to the edges, while in V they appear sideways at a 45-degree angle to the edges. IV shows the nature of warp/weft structure; V that of plaited structure. I find it interesting, that as you look at the edges of negative spaces, you see the structural elements behave in the same way in both. How things look depends on where or what you look at: either as a part or as a whole? Different names might be given, or might not.
Structural Discussion I, which I also made in 1987, uses plaited cedar, walnut, ginko and willow to highlight angles and openings. 2 to 3 Dimensions and Structural Discussion VI I made in 2016. VI is a basket in a basket that can be shifted to highlight one angle and then another. For 2017, I plan to create another piece in this discussion, to join browngrotta arts in expressing myself being ‘still crazy about it after 30 years!’”
-Hisako Sekijima

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

 


ART ASSEMBLED FEATURED IN JUNE

The start to summer has been quite busy for browngrotta arts. At the beginning of June browngrotta arts’ opened Plunge: explorations from above and below in collaboration with the New Bedford Art Museum in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Soon after came the launch of Cross Currents: Art Inspired by Water, an online companion exhibition to Plunge. We’ve featured four works on our website as New This Weekthree sculptures and a tapestry.

Reaching Out by Karyl Sisson

Reaching Out by Karyl Sisson, vintage zipper tape and thread, 8″ x 56″ x 45″, 2013

Made with vintage zipper tape and thread, Karyl Sisson’s Reaching Out cloaks the floor in a deep red. Many of Karyl’s sculptures resemble sea creatures, Reaching Out, which can be viewed in Plunge, resembles an octopus lingering along the seafloor. Rather than starting with a set idea of what she wants to create, Sisson lets the materials and processes dictate the form of her pieces.

61hh

On the Dock by Helena Hernmarck, wool, 43″ x 57″, 2009

Helena Hernmarcks’ tapestry On the Dock depicts two women enjoying the sunshine. Hernmarck. On the Dock can also be viewed with other water-influenced works in Cross Currents, at browngrotta.com.  

Peninsula by Mary Merkel-Hess

Peninsula by Mary Merkel-Hess, paper, paper cord
22” x 22” x 44”, 2016

Peninsula, a sculpture made with paper and paper cord, reflects Mary Merkel-Hess’ study of the natural world. Using a technique of her own creation, Merkel-Hess builds each piece using a combination of collage and paper mâché with inclusions of materials such as reed, paper cord, wood, and drawings.  

Intrusion by Dail Behennah, scorched and waxed white willow; silver black patinated and plated pins, 2″ x 22″ x 22″; 2014

Intrusion, a white willow basket made by Dail Behennah draws in the eye with its grid-like basket architecture. Dail drew inspiration for this piece from igneous intrusions into landscapes. As the softer rocks are worn away the peaks and tors remain hard-edged outcrops on the surface.


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


Nature Reimagined: Green from the Get Go at the Morris Museum

Green From the Get Go: International Contemporary Basketmakers

Green From the Get Go: International Contemporary Basketmakers at the Morris Museum. Photo by Tom Grotta

For the next three months March 19th- June 26th 2016, the Morris Museum, in Morristown, New Jersey, will host Green from the Get Go: Contemporary International Basketmakers, an extensive survey exhibition of works made with natural materials — from apple, bamboo, pine, sea grass and willow to crow feathers, birch bark, bayberry thorns, kibiso and zelikova. Curated by Jane Milosh, Office of the Under Secretary for History, Art and Culture, the Smithsonian and Tom Grotta and Rhonda Brown, co-curators at browngrotta arts in Wilton, Connecticut, the exhibition debuted at the Wayne Art Center in Pennsylvania in December 2011 and was featured at the Eleanor and Edsel Ford House, in Grosse Pointe, Michigan in 2013. The exhibition has grown larger for its Morris Museum launch; 33 artists from eight countries, and 78 varied works are included. Some of these are closely linked to traditional basket forms, while other are monumental or hang on the wall, their forms

Green from the Get Go: International Contemporary Basketmakers

Green from the Get Go: International Contemporary Basketmakers

breaking away from the traditional vessel or container form in tantalizing ways. “This is the largest exhibition of baskets and sculptural fiber that we have ever been involved with,” says Tom Grotta. Artists well known in the field are featured, including Ed Rossbach, John McQueen, Dorothy Gill Barnes and Gyöngy Laky as well as talented, but lesser-known creators like Laura Ellen Bacon of the UK and Stéphanie Jacques of Belgium. The wide range of shapes, the multitude of techniques and the unexpected materials employed lead viewers to speculate about Nature as an inspiration for art and much more. The baskets Green from the Get Go, writes Milosch in the exhibition catalog, “feel complete and at the same moment they invite human interaction and interpretation. In fact,

Green from the Get Go:ontemporary International Basketmakers at the Morris Museum. Photo by Tom grotta

Green from the Get Go:ontemporary International Basketmakers at the Morris Museum. Photo by Tom grotta

paradox is at the root of these compelling works, which are both earthy and spiritual; serene and energetic; systematic and random; simple and complex; supple and rigid; fragile and sturdy; see-through and opaque; textured and smooth; specific and universal; social and standalone; with intricate patterns and simple silhouettes.” The Opening Reception will take place on March 31st from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Tom Grotta will speak about the works in the show at Tea and Treasures on June 15th. The Morris Museum is located at: 6 Normandy Heights Road, Morristown, NJ 07960, accessible from New York City via www.njtransit.com. For more information: (973) 971-3700; info@morrismuseum.org or browngrotta.com.


25 at 25 at SOFA NY Countdown: Klaus Titze

Klaus Titze, TURNING TORSO, photo by tom Grotta

Klaus Titze is one of the artists whose work will be displayed by browngrotta arts at SOFA NY.  The German artist now makes his  home in Denmark.  “Living on the Danish island of Møn,” he says,  “I am fascinated by the white chalk cliffs falling dramatically towards the Baltic Sea.  Chalk slides expose fossils formed in many kinds of shapes.” Inspired, Titze designs and creates works in a special twisting technique he has developed in which willow is twisted to create thick “ropes.” He then covers the willow with concrete, evoking the illusion of fossils in chalk. The ultimate step in the process is burning the willow to imprint this unique structure into the concrete, which acts as a shell. By firing the willow until it almost disappears, Titze creates structures that highlight sculptural and architectural elements. Concludes Art Aurea online magazine, “The unusual baskets thus created have been deprived of their age-old function, presenting themselves instead as breathtaking, independent works of art….The feminine shape,..in contrast to the coarse structure.”

2kt Klaus Titze TURNING TORSO willow, burnt fiber cement 29" x 13.5" x 13.5", 2011, photo by Tom Grotta

Titze’s work has appeared at Grønbechs Gard, Bornholm, Denmark (solo exhibition); Roskilde City Hall, Denmark; Grassi Museum Leipzig, Germany; the National Crafts Council, Kilkenny, Ireland; Trapholt Museum, Kolding, Denmark; Landart Lolland-Falster, Denmark; Munich, Germany; Wayne Art Center, Pennsylvania. He received the Best One-of-a-Kind Object, award at the Arts and Crafts Fair, Copenhagen, Denmark and the Bavarian State Prize, Meister der Moderne, Munich, Germany.

In Print: Weave Arrived, in how to spend it, the Financial Times

weave.arrived.jpg

Basketry has graduated from country-fair staple to sophisticated urban art form, Emma Crichton-Miller wrote in Weave Arrived, an article in the December 5, 2009 issue of the Financial TImes‘ glossy weekly magazine, how to spend it. Over the last 15 years, Crichton-Miller observes, “basket-making has experienced not just a revival but a reinvention.” The transformation to an expressive medium has been led in the UK by Mary Butcher, recently designer-in-residence at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Butcher learned traditional skills from artisan basketmaker, Alwyne Hawkins, but as a research fellow she began to use the materials to create work that “slipped its leash” — cones that hang from the ceiling, chains of bark rings and densely woven sculptural shapes. Crichton-Miller notes that outside the UK, art basketmaking has had a high profile for sometime as a result of artists like Markku Kosonen of Finland, and John McQueen and Ed Rossbach in the US.

With the vessel no longer the “first priority,” says Butcher, basketmakers are able to address other exploratory concerns. Lizzie Farey’s willow spheres and soaring wall pieces are animated by her attachment to the landscape of Scotland, where she lives and works. Dail Behennah, who studied geography, creates forms of steel, willow and other woods that are constructed, rather than woven. Her grids, scaffolds and spheres explore ideas about line and light and shadow. Joe Hogan rescues ancient wood from bogs and the sea that he incorporates into his woven forms. The result is often unexpected, highly individual and energetic. Artists like these have ended “basketry’s 20th-century obsession with the past,” Crichton-Miller concludes, and entered “a new world of pure function-free aesthetic pleasure.”


Sneak Peek: Artpalmbeach, January 14th -19th

Palm-Beach-Ad.jpgWe’re leaving the ice and snow (sigh) for sunnier climes next week, where browngrotta arts will join more than 50 other galleries exhibiting at the Palm Beach County Convention Center at Artpalmbeach, art + photography + design. The fair opens on January 15th and lasts through the 19th. A theme of this year’s Artpalmbeach,  art + photography + design is “going global.” As always, browngrotta arts will do its part; we are exhibiting the work of artists from 15 countries. Our installation in Booth 204 will include some of the highlights of this fall’s 10th Wave III exhibitions as well as new works by several artists including a significant wall sculpture by Ritzi Jacobi; pieces made of fish scales by Marian Bijlenga and new works of repurposed encyclopedias by Wendy Wahl. We’ll present the work of two artists in Palm Beach for the first time: We’ll present the work of two artists in Palm Beach for the first time: Jennifer Falck Linssen of the US and Carolina Yrarrázaval of Chile. US Artist Norma Minkowitz will be at the booth on Monday, January 18th from 2-4 p.m. to discuss her work; Dawn MacNutt of Nova Scotia will be at the booth to discuss her work on Tuesday, January 19th, from 2-4 p.m.


Sneak Peek 10th Wave III Catalog: Essay by Akiko Busch

catalog.inprogress.jpg

Writer Akiko Busch has drafted an essay for the catalog 10th Wave III: Art Textiles and Fiber Sculpture, which is being printed this week. Busch is the author of The Uncommon Life of Common Objects (Metropolis Books), Geography of Home: Writings on Where We Live (Princeton Architectural Press) and, most recently, Nine Ways to Cross a River: Midstream Reflections on Swimming and Getting There from Here (Bloomsbury). A former writer for Metropolis Magazine, Busch writes about culture and design for a variety of publications. She is a regular contributor to the Considerings column in American Craft Magazine. About the work in the 10th Wave III, Busch writes,

“And what so many of these pieces suggest, of course, is the ease with which the narrative capabilities of the fiber arts converge with more abstract expression. Meaning need not always be so literal. The woven form has an inherent ambiguity; it can be about containing and letting go at once.”

The 164-page color catalogs can be ordered from http://www.browngrotta.com/Pages/catalog.34.html beginning October 30, 2009.


Knitted, Knotted, Netted at the Hunterdon Museum of Art in Clinton, NJ

Hunterdon.jpg

We attended the opening of Knitted, Knotted, Netted at the Hunterdon Museum of Art in Clinton, New Jersey last week. The Museum is a picturesque venue, presenting changing exhibitions of contemporary art and design in a 19th century stone mill that is on the National Register of Historic Places. The town of Clinton offers speciality shops featuring antiques, quilts, country furnishings and, intriguingly in one case, “Things We Like.”

Norma Minkowitz, Kazue Honma, Noriko Tanikawa, Hisako Sekijima

Norma Minkowitz, Kazue Honma, Noriko Tanikawa, Hisako Sekijima

Knitted, Knotted, Netted includes work by 12 artists. The techniques highlighted in Knitted, Knotted, Netted have ancient lineages and have seen a resurgence through their use by contemporary artists. Each of these methods involves the looping of a thread or cord, differentiating them from braiding and weaving, in which elements may interlace but not necessarily loop through each other. The artists in this exhibit employ the techniques of the title in diverse ways and in widely differing materials, varied in size, shape and color. The two- and three-dimensional artworks in the exhibit use not only plant and animal materials but also industrial and synthetic materials, creating looped structures never envisioned in earlier contexts. The highlights for us: the work by the four artists represented by browngrotta arts, of course — three strong works by Norma Minkowitz and a work of edgeworthia bark by Hisako Sekijima, grouped with works by two of her students, Kazue Honma and Noriko Takamiya — and also, The Crowded Planet series by Carol Westfall. Westfall says that the series is composed of hundreds of tiny “men,” the stick figures we drew as children. “If you take the top two arms and pull them together you create the kanji character for man, nin or jin or hito,” she explains. “I compress all these tiny ‘men’ together and form the ball which is This Crowded Planet.”

Carol Westfall's The Crowded Planet Series

Carol Westfall's The Crowded Planet Series

The exhibit, at 7 Lower Center Street, Clinton, NJ, 908-735-8415, continues through January 24, 2010.