Tag: browngrotta arts

Art Assembled: Art Featured in August

Twister by Norma Minkowitz, fiber, paint, resin, 25.5” x 15” x 10.5”, 1994-2016

Southern Crossing Six by Kiyomi Iwata, Kibiso, silver leaf, indigo-color dye on canvas with pencil drawing, 30” x 33” x 1.75”, 2015

Fossil by Jiro Yonezawa, bamboo, 11″ x 13″ x 17″, 2017

We started off August with Norma Minkowtiz’s Twister, a figure shaped sculpture made from fiber, paint, and resin. In works such as Twister Minkowitz explores her thoughts on the different paths people take in life. “Some of my themes explore making concessions, personal choices, different lifestyles, ways of survival and transitions in nature as well as human nature. I am engaged in creating works that weave the personal and universal together,” explains Minkowitz.

Next up we had Southern Crossing Six by Kiyomi Iwata. Iwata began her new series Southern Crossing Six after he recent move from New York to Richmond, Virginia. The move to the South felt as dramatic as her move from Japan to the United States many decades ago. While Iwata’s move from Japan to the United States was characterized by youthful anticipation and excitement, her move from New York to Richmond was much different. Iwata’s need for adventure was replaced by a desire of comfort of the familiar. The stark contrast between indigo dyed Kibiso silk and silver leaf juxtapose the two different landscapes…

Fossil, a bamboo sculpture by artist Jiro Yonezwa is a true masterpiece. Yonezawa, who studied in Beppu and apprenticed under Masakazu Ono, has been a bamboo basket maker and artists for over 35 years. For Yonezwa, it is the regenerative nature of bamboo which attracts him to the art form. While living in the United States from 1989 to 2007 his artwork became larger, bolder, and more sculptural. Yonezawa finds the process of preparing bamboo strips to weave, and the weaving the strips to be inherently meditative. While going through this process “the cacophony of life dissipates; the sculpture emerges vigorous and vibrant. Form, contrast, balance, and the interplay of space, color and texture” all come together.

Made with thousands of strands of 18-carat gold threads and Japanese silk thread, Grethe Wittrock’s Gold Reserves has a tactile sculptural presence. Like Wittrock’s Nordic Currents series, Gold Reserves also celebrates Danish Design and craftwork traditions. Unknown to many, the Danish national gold reserves were shipped to New York right before the start WWII to be stored in vaults at the Federal Reserve Bank to be kept safe from the Nazis.

Gold Reserves by Grethe Wittrock, custom-dyed Japanese silk yarns, konjaku root starched, various gold yarns, cotton yarn, 63” x 24”, 2008/09

“Although she attempts to retain a sense of the material in its raw state, she pushes it sculptural possibilities,” explains Milena Hoegsberg. Wittrock aims “to ‘respect’ the raw materials ‘energy’ by distilling it ‘to reveal its essence’.” Wittrock tediously chose the color combinations for each group of threads that were to be knotted, taking into consideration where the groups would lay against the brown threads and the texture they would create.


The Nordic Tapestry Opens in Washington Depot, CT

Helena Hernmarck

Helena Hernmarck talking about her work at the opening reception of The Nordic Tapestry Group: Weaving Knowledge into Personal Expression, photo by Tom Grotta

The Nordic Tapestry Group: Weaving Knowledge into Personal Expression opened on Saturday in Washington Depot, Connecticut at the Washington Art Association and Gallery, 4 Bryan Plaza and the Judy Black Memorial Park and Gardens at One Green Hill. The exhibition extends through September 9th. The Nordic Tapestry group was founded 10 years ago by weavers from Sweden, Iceland and the United States after tapestry artist Helena Hernmarck traveled to Sweden to teach workshops on her weaving technique. Combining traditional Swedish weaving techniques with her own method, Hernmarck is able to achieve powerful photorealistic effects by bundling a variety of hued yarns that combine to create an illusion of depth. With a common passion for textiles, members of the Nordic Tapestry group have a desire to learn more about how Hernmarck’s tapestries are made, how to use light and how to use the different qualities of yarn to create images. The exhibition highlights works by 21 of those students alongside Hernmarck’s works. Hernmarck’s Anemones (1985) dominates one of the exhibition galleries, attractively paired with the more recent and more translucent work, Amaryllis (2014). Holding their own in the large gallery are also Stone Bridge and the impressionistic Morning Haze, by Lis Korsgen, Hernmark’s very accomplished student.

Hernmarck Student Work

The Nordic Tapestry Group: Weaving Knowledge into Personal Expression

In the Washington Art Association building are other works from Face to Face, which reveals the Nordic Tapestry weavers shared passion and ongoing exchange, and celebrates the transfer and evolution of weaving knowledge into personal expression. Through these works, they display their interest in using light and color and exploring the different qualities of yarn to weave images, create space and depth, and to depict three-dimensional forms. Swedish weaving has had a influential history in this country, in exhibitions, in creating art for the United Nations and in the curriculum at Cranbrook. For a very comprehensive look at this influence, including the role Swedish weaving has played in the work of American weaver Lia Cook, read Marion T. Marzolf’s paper, for the Textile Society of America, The Swedish Presence in 20th-Century American Weaving, http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1313&context=tsaconf.

The Nordic Tapestry Group

The Nordic Tapestry Group


Art Assembled Featured in May

New this Week in May Red Ferne Jacobs

3fj Interior Passages, Ferne Jacobs, coiled and twined waxed linen thread, 54” x 16” x 4”, 2017, Photo by Tom Grotta

Tapestry and sculptural fiber were on tap in May as browngrotta arts’ New This Week selections. First up, Interior Passages, Ferne Jacob’s remarkable wall sculpture of coiled and twined wax linen, a large and complex work that speaks against the desecration of women around the world. Interior Passages needs no one to tell her who she is or what she is says the artist. “She knows her value, and I expect the world to respect this inner understanding. When it doesn’t, I think it moves toward a destructiveness that can be devastating.”

New this Week in May Helena Hernmarck Tapestry

Helena Hernmarck in front of her tapestry Tabula Rasa 3, 2011, Wool, 37.5″ × 57″, Photo by Carter Grotta

Helena Hernmark’s Tabula Rasa 3 , integrates an unusual background of polyester from sequin making that adds a glimmer to the tapestry in the right light. The work is part of a series that included the first Tabula Rasa, commissioned for Yue-Kong Pao Hall, Purdue University.

New this Week in May Jo Barker Dark Shimmer

Dark Shimmer, Jo Barker , wool, cotton and embroidery threads, 34” x 29.25” x 1.25”, 2017, Photos by Tom Grotta

Dark Shimmer, by Scottish artist Jo Barker, is from the series for which she won the prestigious Cordis tapestry prize in 2016.

New this week in May Complex plaiting by Norie Hatekayama

Complex Plaiting Series Pile 02, Norie Hatekayama , plaited paper fiber strips, 11” x 11” x 10”, 2002, Photo by Tom Grotta

Norie Hatakeyama’s Complex Plaiting Series, Pile 02 is made of paper tape. Hatakeyama’s plaited works reflect the complex structures that make up the universe. “Human beings explore structure in nature and create science and art,” she says. “I’ve observed that the transition of science (mathematics, geometry, etc.) and art overlaps with the direction of my work. I feel deeply that the outside world, the natural world, is a field, made up of matter and energy, repeating regeneration and radiating unremitting energy.”


Plunge: explorations above and below Opening Tonight, New Bedford Art Museum, Massachusetts

Annette Bellamy Long Lines

Annette Bellamy Long Lines

Rippling, roiling, teeming with life… Deep, dark, waiting to be explored…
Water has long been a potent influence for artists wishing to explore its majesty and mystery.

For the last several months, browngrotta arts has worked with Jamie Uretsky, Curator and Noelle Foye, Executive Director of the New Bedford Museum of Art/ArtWorks! in Massachusetts. Plunge: explorations from above and below, which examines the influence of water in the work of 16 artists from around the world, is the result.

New Bedford Plunge installation

Plunge explorations from above and below installation

The multifaceted exhibition combines sculptures, tapestries, installation works, paintings and photography. Each work resides at the intersection of the maker’s fascination with a variety of nautical and natural themes and the artmaking process. Plunge pairs Helena Hernmarck’s monumental woven depiction of tall ships in New York Bay 1884 and Chris Drury’s Double Echo, a print that superimposes a fragment of an echogram from Flight W34 over East Antarctica and an echocardiogram of the pilot’s heartbeat. In other galleries, Heather Hobler’s meditative photographs of seascapes join Karyl Sisson’s “sea creatures” made of domestic objects like zippers and clothespins; Christopher Volpe’s evocative paintings join Grethe Wittrock’s Arctica, a sculpture made from a repurposed sail from the Danish Navy. Unlike most musuem exhibtions, the works in Plunge are all available for sale.

Thirteen of the artists in Plunge, representing five countries, are represented by browngrotta arts: Dona AndersonJane BalsgaardAnnette BellamyMarian BijlengaBirgit BirkjaaerChris DruryHelena HernmarckLawrence LaBiancaSue LawtyJudy MulfordKaryl SissonUlla-Maija VikmanGrethe Wittrock. Their work, and that of the three other artists in the exhibition, Heather Hobler, Anne Leone and Christopher Volpe, will be included in the catalog for the exhibition, designed and photographed by Tom Grotta. It will be available beginning June 5th at www.browngrotta.com.

Plunge’s opening is tonight Friday, June 2nd at the New Bedford Museum of Art from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Jane Balsgaard, one of the artists in Plunge, will attend from Denmark.

The New Bedford Art Museum is great cultural destination for those on the way to the Vineyard, Nantucket or the Cape. You have plenty of time to see it, as the exhibition continues through October 7, 2017. The New Bedford Art Museum/ArtWorks! is located at: 608 Pleasant Street/ New Bedford, MA/02740/508.961.3072/info@newbedfordart.org.


Art Assembled: Featured in April


April has been a busy month for us at bwongrotta arts. We’ve been celebrating our 30th Anniversary for the past 10 days so one of our new this week items was a short video about our 30th Anniversary exhibition, Still Crazy After All These Years…30 years in art.

outdoor bronze sculpture featured new this week April

21dm Timeless Figure, Dawn MacNutt, bronze, 51″, x 21″, 2004. Photo by Tom Grotta

We added outdoor sculpture for this exhibition and highlighted Dawn MacNutt’s bronze work, Timeless Figure, which began as a willow sculpture before it was cast in bronze.

boat wall reliefs featured new this week April

34b Small Reliefs, Jane Balsgaard, willow, cotton rope, fishing line, handmade plant paper, plastic wire ties, 36” x 80”, 2015-16. Photo by Tom Grotta

Jane Balsgaard’s small reliefs of willow, cotton rope, fishing line, handmade plant paper and plastic wire ties also featured this month. Balsgaard’s airy “boats” of plant paper will be featured in Plunge: Explorations Above and Below at the New Bedford Art Museum, Massachusetts, that opens Memorial Day weekend, official opening June 2nd: http://newbedfordart.org/upcoming-exhibitions/. We’ve partnered with NBAM to mount Plunge; 13 of browngrotta arts’ artists will be included. We’ll be preparing a catalog for the exhibition which is open through October 8, 2017. This month we also drew attention to

horsehair wall relief featured new this week April

25mb Untitled, Marian Bijlenga, horsehair, cotton, viscose, 15” x 15”, 2012. photo by Tom Grotta

Marian Bijlenga’s untitled work of horsehair, cotton and viscose. Bijlenga is one of the artists in Still Crazy as is Gyöngy Laky. Her is her work, Lefty Loosey, Righty Tighty a digital print combined with bullets for building.


Art Televised: Mary Merkel-Hess on PBS’s Craft in America

Craft in America

Mary Merkel-Hess on PBS series Nature, Craft in America

This month, the PBS series, Craft in America, will premiere its episode titled “Nature,” which features profiles on internationally acclaimed artists who use dimensional art to explore nature’s marvels. Among these visionaries is fiber artist Mary Merkel-Hess, a participant in browngrotta arts’ upcoming exhibition, Still Crazy After All These Years…30 years in art, slated to run from April 22nd through April 30th at the browngrotta arts’ barn/gallery in Wilton, Connecticut.

A native of the Midwest, Mary Merkel-Hess’ home state of Iowa represents the creative force behind many of the art pieces she fashions. By drawing inspiration from the area’s prairie elements, including its vast fields of grass, corn, shrubs and herbs, she creates dimensional art pieces that translate her experiences and familiarity with the Midwest and its unique aesthetics. In fact, many of her abstract pieces are inspired by the images she captures and masterfully replicates from the prairie garden surrounding her home and workshop.

In Chephren's Temple

In Chephren’s Temple, Mary Merkel-Hess

Working with fiber and other materials, such as paper, wood, reed, and acrylic paint, Merkel-Hess creates what she refers to as “Landscape Reports,” fiber vessels that provide a sense of place and containment for the viewer to experience and enjoy. Her process involves building upon layers of paper with careful insertion of reed or cord, creating a mold that is then shaped and painted. Her fiber sculptures illustrate Iowa’s abundance of tall grass, fields and open green space, allowing others to bring a piece of the Midwest, as well as Merkel-Hess’ inspirational prairie garden, to their home.

Airing Friday, April 21, 2017, “Nature” will highlight Mary Merkel-Hess’ creative process, as well as that of other artists, sculptors and woodcarvers whose dimensional artwork challenges audiences to reassess their relationship to the natural world. Check you local PBS listings. You can view more samples of Merkel-Hess’ fiber artwork at http://www.browngrotta.com/Pages/hess.php.


Art Inside and Out: Sculpture featured at browngrotta arts’ 30th Anniversary

For our 30th anniversary exhibition, Still Crazy After All These Years…30 years in art, browngrotta arts will feature outdoor sculptures by two prominent international artists, Dawn MacNutt and Mariyo Yagi.

Dawn MacNutt Timeless Figure

Dawn MacNutt Timeless Figure. Photo by Tom Grotta

Dawn MacNutt, a native of the Canadian province Nova Scotia, incorporates an assortment of natural materials, such as twined willow, seagrass and copperwire, into each life-size sculpture. By crafting these column-like figures, MacNutt masterfully captures the beauty and frailty of the human form.

Bronze detail

Dawn MacNutt Bronze sculpture detail. Photo by Tom Grotta

Among MacNutt’s masterpieces is, 2000–2005, a series of figures of willow and seagrass, each standing at 5’8” inches high. As with many of her fiber sculptures, MacNutt’s Return to Delos illustrates the humancondition as a source of imperfections and vulnerabilities but also reveals that, through these flaws, humans connect with one another and thereby create a sense of identity. She achieves this sentiment by leaving her columns purposely unfinished so that bare sticks remain untied and left to reach out to the world surrounding them. browngrotta arts’ exhibition features one of MacNutt’s willow figures cast in bronze, a material used by early imperial cultures. The bronze version is nearly indistinguishable from its willow counterpart, but the bronze permits the installation to withstand outdoor weather conditions.

 

Mariyo sculpture

Mariyo Yagi A Cycle – Infinity, 2016. Photo by Tom Grotta

Mariyo Yagi of Kobe, Japan, uses a combination of rope, bamboo, metal, and even glass to fashion a series of spiraling art installationsthat embody her theory of nawalogy—onenessmade of diversity. Through her art installations, she examines how nawa, the modern Japanese word for “rope,” is not made using one strand but, rather, with a series of strands inthe form of a spiral. Similar to how communication and inter-exchange establisha community, her pieces demonstrate how the energy from spiral structuresimitates the links between heaven and earth, as well as DNA and the universe.  

stick sculpture

John McQueen Skew, stick sculpture, Photo by Tom Grotta

jute sculpture

Naoko Serino Existing- 2-D jute sculpture. Photo by Tom Grotta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


There are also many indoor sculptural works featured in Still Crazy After All These Years, including John McQueen’s stitched twig figure, Askew, and Naoko Serino’s ethereal floating square of jute. Learn more about these and other artists in the browngrotta arts’ 30th anniversary exhibition on our Artists page.


browngrotta arts gets good press: Venü Magazine’s Spring Issue

Venü Magazine CoverThe cover story of the Spring Issue, No. 34 of Venü, the magazine of Contemporary Culture features browngrotta arts and our upcoming exhibition, Still Crazy After All These Years…30 years in art.
Author Cindy Clarke writes in Living Art, Timelessly Reimagined, that “Rhonda and Tom have a practiced eye for discovering museum-quality textural art and its accomplished creators. Over the last 30 years they have turned their finds into a premier art enterprise that’s in a class by itself…. Custom designed by the owners, the gallery itself is a dialog of opposites, blending elements of a historic two-story horse barn – think exposed beams, meticulously restored barndoors, original wide-plank wood flooring, vaulted ceilings – with grand, modernist spaces….
That’s the goal of this living gallery, of course, to show guests how different kinds of dimensional art fits into an environment and to give them permission and the encouragement to think out of the box to accommodate its human occupants.” Visit Still Crazy After All These Years at browngrotta arts. We will only be open for 10 days — April 22nd through April 30th; browngrotta arts, 276 Ridgefield Road, Wilton, CT 06897; http://www.browngrotta.com/Pages/calendar.php.

Venu cover article


Art Assembled, Featured in February

Large architectural tapestry

Architecture in motion by Gudrun Pagter

February was a short month, but we still featured a full complement of art in New This Week on our homepage, including two tapestries, a series of small sculptures on the wall and a feathery fabric and wood mixed media work. Gudrun Pagter’s abstract tapestry, Architecture in Motion, is made of flax and sisal. “Through simple graphic effects—continuous white contour lines on a black background,” the artist says, “I try to unfold disciplined geometrical forms with strong references to architectonic space.”

Large colorful tapestry

Mille Fleur by Ane Henriksen

Mille Fleur by Ane Henriksen was influenced by the millefleurs tradition and embroidery samplers. Millefleurs is a category of French and Flemish tapestries created at the edge of the Northern Renaissance. In the late 15th and 16th centuries large workshops were weaving tapestries with a limited number of figures or animals against a background of thousands of flowers. Samplers, were used to each embroidery to young girls from high society, later as part of school handicraft classes. The motifs, often with various kinds of borders, are letters and alphabets, often dated and bearing a girl’s name or initials and those of her ancestors, as well as embroidered patterns and religious and secular symbols copied from printed pattern books. In making Mille Fleur, the artist says, “it was almost as if I was a young girl,.. I used symbols and good omens in hope of a bright future, underlined as a naïve dream by using tints of pastel pink. A large part of the sensibility lies in the material used, a thick weft made of worn out bed linen from which small buttons, ribbons and other reminiscences peep out and are revealed.” There are also numerous elements in

wood wall sculptures

Night Storm by Debra Sachs

Debra Sachs’ sculpture, Night Storm, which is made of laminated and carved poplar. A few years ago, like Humpty Dumpty, the artist had a serious accident. Slowly, she regained stamina and ability. “I began working in fits and starts,” she said, “flailing to and fro. Finally, there was a breakthrough moment. I had stockpiled fragments from larger works made five years prior. These were small chunks of laminated wood too interesting to toss. They were always there but now were staring at me in my basement shop. I started playing with them like a kid with a box of blocks. I carved and painted them and put them on shelves.”

thread basket

Creel iv by Gizelle Warburton

There are two elements in Gizella Warburton’s Creel IV, a basket of fiber and mixed media accompanied by a piece of stitched wood. ” The materiality of cloth, paper, thread, wood and paint connects me to an innate human urge to make marks,” says Warburton.


Art Assembled: Featured in January

We had four New This Week selections in January, including evocative sculptures of black willow and recycled aluminum plate and two works that offer commentary on current events.

Christine Joy January New this Week

40cj Smoke Ring, Christine Joy
willow with black encaustic, 23″ x 22″ x 12″, 2014

Christine Joy sources, harvests and then transforms willow into dramatic sculpture. Smoke Ring represents a new direction for Joy, she says, “more looseness and movement on the edge, visually, of coming apart, more exploration of added color to give unity and emotional depth.”

Merja Winqvist January New this Week

11mw Water Lily, Merja Winqvist
recycled aluminum plate, 26” x 25.75” x 1.75”, 2016

Merja Winquist of Finland has created a stylized and shimmering Water Lily of recycled aluminum.

Ceca Georgieva January New this Week

14cg The Iron Curtain, Ceca Georgieva
burrdock burrs, 19” x 16” x 5” 2016

In Iron Curtain, a sculpture of burdock burrs, by Ceca Georgieva of Bulgaria, a figure seeks escape from a web of red threads. The work is about Georgieva’s generation, who remained n Eastern Europe after World War II on the Red side―the Communist side―of the Iron Curtain. “As children,” she says, “we proudly wore the red scarf of a Young Pioneer, and we believed whatever we were told to believe. Our future was programmed and seemed to be clear and beautiful. When cracks began to appear in the Iron Curtain and news from the West slowly filtered into the country, we learned about beat poetry, rock ‘n’ roll, blue jeans and Coca-Cola. We started to feel the lack of freedom and the desire to go out and to live without fear of restriction and deprivation. Then the wall fell down. Now, 25 years later, we are still in front of the half-open curtain, making efforts to get rid of the red iron threads.”

Norma Minkowitz January New this Week

66nm Are We The Same?, Norma Minkowitz, mixed media, 12” x 28” x 26.375”, 2016

Are We the Same? by Norma Minkowitz, also addresses societal change, in this case, assimilation. “My thought was about our society and how, as time goes on, we intermingle and intermarry, ” says the artist, “and at the end we are a combination of many different genes and DNA and perhaps are eventually blended in some way.” Enjoy our selections.