The 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.
The 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.
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.”
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
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.”
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.
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 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 Winquist of Finland has created a stylized and shimmering Water Lily of recycled aluminum.
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.”
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.
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.)
Are We the Same? mixed media sculpture, Norma Minkowitz (US)
Out of Focus 1-9, handwoven tapestry of cotton, Grethe Sørensen (Denmark)
Blue Holes, tapestry, of paper yarn, and blue-dyed horsehair, stitched, Marian Bijlenga (The Netherlands)
Linen Tapestry with Broken Grey Line, tapestry of linen, wool, and cotton, Sara Brennan (UK)
Silver Waves, tapestry of linen, horsehair, paint and foil, Adela Akers (US)
Miracle, tapestry of linen, wool and sisal, Wlodzimierz Cygan (PL), Encontrada I ( Found I ) by Eduardo Portillo and Mariá Eugenia Dávila (VE)
And, the not-to-be missed:
Empty Chairs, room-sized mixed media installation, Judy Mulford (US) and Simple Abundances, an individual work, Judy Mulford (US).
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.
At SOFA Chicago this week, artist Judy Mulford will present her remarkable room-sized mixed media installation Empty Chairs. The installation features a central sculpture entitled “What now?” she said. “What now?…What now?…What now?…” surrounded by 80 individually rendered chairs in frames. The intimate and emotional sculpture chronicles domestic life. The dollhouse chairs, dolls, buttons and embellishments used in the work were collected by the artist from family members, flea markets, antique stores and friends. Mulford spent a year on the work, which marks her upcoming 80th birthday. She has also produced a limited-edition book, 80 Empty Chairs, as a part of this project.
Mulford’s sculptures have been exhibited at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, the Mint Museum of Craft + Design, Charlotte, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Renwick Gallery and The Textile Museum, Washington, D.C. and the 12th International Biennial of Tapestry in Hungary. Mulford’s work is informed by her studies of the basket-making culture of Micronesia, particularly on the islands of Truk and Ulithi. She was a member of the studio team for Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party in the 1970s.
Mulford will speak at her Special Exhibition booth, SE221, and sign copies of her book at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, November 4th. Mulford will also be at browngrotta arts, Booth 921 at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday the 6th and will be available for questions and conversation throughout SOFA.
This November, browngrotta arts will feature four textiles of fiber optic monofilament by innovative Polish artist, Wlodzimierz Cygan, in its booth # 921 at SOFA Chicago 2016. The four works, titled March, April, May and June, are from the Cycle Tapping series. Works from this series have been shown in China in 2014 in the From Lausanne to Beijing Fiberart Biennial and at Asia-Europe III which opened this month at the Textile Museum in Krefeld, Germany then travels to the Central Museum of Textiles, Lodz, Poland and the Janina Monkute-Marks Museum in Kedainial, Lithuania. The works in Asia-Europe III are based on technical innovation and on diversity of material. Participating artists have experimented and perfected the technique of their choice. “I use optical fiber mono-filament with increased light transmission for warp and weft as a complementary material for the textile structure, “ says the artist. In doing so, he is able to connect two contradictions: durability of textile materials and a constant change of the light. The woven, flexible light in these works is constantly changing its intensity, “like the passing of time transformed by seasons which slowly and gently create vibrant poetic stories,” he says. “Shadows cast on the walls play an importnat role in planning the cracks, holes, irregular and uneven edges of my compositions.” Włodzimierz Cygan’s work has been exhibited in Europe and abroad, including the Jean Lurcat Museum in France, the Kyoto Art Center in Japan and the National Gallery in San Jose, Costa Rica. SOFA Chicago opens November 2nd and runs through November 6th at the Navy Pier. For more information visit: http://www.sofaexpo.com/visit.
Opens September 16th in Greenwich, Connecticut
From September 16th to November 4, 2016, the Bendheim Gallery of the Greenwich Arts Council in Greenwich, Connecticut will present Contemporary Art Influenced by Korea and Japan: An Unexpected Approach, curated by browngrotta arts. The exhibition includes select works of ceramics, textiles, baskets and sculptures by artists from Japan, Korea and the United States that each reflect an Asian sensibility.
Varied materials and techniques
The 23 artists in this exhibit have a close relationship to a traditional craft aesthetic, manifested in a contemporary manner. They have chosen conventionally Asian materials and/or techniques (dyes, papers, gold leaf, persimmon tannin, kategami) used in both time-honored and unconventional ways. Examples include studies by Hiroyuki Shindo of the vanishing art of natural indigo dyeing and by Jun Tomita on ikat dyeing. Jennifer Linssen’s innovative sculptures of katagami and Keiji Nio’s Interlacing-R, which references complex Japanese sumihimo braiding reimagine conventional techniques. Masakazu and Naomi Kobayashi, Naoko Serino and Kyoko Kumai also create new relationships among disparate material and techniques.
In other works, like Kiyomi Iwata’s Auric Gold Fold, Glen Kaufman’s Shimogamo Scrolls: Studio View II and Jin-Sook So, Pojagi Constructions I and II, gold and silver leaf play a role, their luster and longevity suggesting immortality, power, divinity. The artists share a concern for surface and material interaction, evident in Chiyoko Tanaka’s Grinded Fabric-Three Squares Blue Threads and Blue #689, of linen distressed with earth and stones, Hideho Tanaka’s Vanishing and Emerging series of stainless steel and singed paper and Mariyo Yagi’s twisted rope sculpture, A cycle-Infinity. The artists in Contemporary Art Influenced by Korea and Japan: An Unexpected Approach create work that is formal and contained while visibly involving the hand of the artist. This exhibition is a collaboration between the Greenwich Arts Council and browngrotta Arts.
The complete list of artists participating in this exhibition is:
Nancy Moore Bess (United States); Pat Campbell (United States); Kiyomi Iwata (Japan); Glen Kaufman (United States); Masakazu Kobayashi (Japan); Naomi Kobayashi (Japan); Yasuhisa Kohyama (Japan); Kyoko Kumai (Japan); Jennifer Falck Linssen (United States); Keiji Nio (Japan); Toshio Sekiji (Japan); Hisako Sekijima (Japan); Naoko Serino (Japan); Hiroyuki Shindo (Japan); Jin-Sook So (Korea/Sweden); Norkiko Takamiya (Japan); Chiyoko Tanaka (Japan); Hideho Tanaka (Japan); Takaaki Tanaka (Japan); Jun Tomita (Japan); Mariyo Yagi (Japan); Chang Yeonsoon (Korea); Jiro Yonezawa (Japan); Shin Young-ok (Korea).
The Bendheim Gallery is located at 299 Greenwich Avenue, Greenwich, Connecticut; 203.862.6750; email@example.com.
Artboom: Celebrating Artists, Mid-Century, Mid-Career opens at browngrotta arts in Wilton, Connecticut next Saturday April 30th, 12 -6 p.m. The exhibition is open through May 8th; hours from May 1st to May 8th are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., earlier or later by appointment. When you are in our neighborhood, there are other art events that are well worth visiting:
The Wilton Historical Society, just down the road from bga in Wilton at 224 Danbury Road/Rt. 7, has
Hickory, Ash and Reed: Traditional Baskets, Contemporary Makers, http://www.wiltonhistorical.org/exhibitions.html on exhibit, which showcases several baskets by the late Marian Hildebrandt, whose work is represented by browngrotta arts, along with work by Jonathan Kline, Stephen Zeh, Lois Russell and Kari Lonning. Curated by Shawna Barrett, the works by contemporary basketmakers who use natural materials like brown ash, black ash, hickory, willow and reed are thoughtfully displayed aside unique historic baskets from the Society’s permanent collection. The Historical Society is closed Mondays.
From May 1st, Davis Brooks: Continuous Service Altered Daily, will be on exhibit at the Aldrich Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut: http://aldrichart.org/article/continuous-service-altered-daily just north of us at 258 Main Street/Ridgefield Road, Ridgefield, Connecticut. “The stunning array of dismantled John Deere combine parts, exhibited in a diverse system of presentation, are designated according to the ecosystem service they represent, making it impossible to conceive of the combine in its entirety or to determine the machine’s complete functionality; similarly, an ecosystem integrates innumerable processes, many of them intangible or undetectable, into one whole, making it impossible for us to conceive of a life unfolding within it.” The Aldrich is closed on Tuesdays.
The Nest, an exhibition of art in nature, at the Katonah Museum of Art, 134 Jay Street/Route 22, Katonah, New York, provides an unexpected lens through which to observe the fascinating parallels between human and animal behavior, raising timely questions about the survival of the birds and their habitats in our increasingly fragile ecological world http://www.katonahmuseum.org/exhibitions/TheNest/ The Katonah Museum is closed on Mondays.
It’s a Spring chock full of interesting exhibitions in the US and abroad. You’ve have just a few days remaining to see Beyond the Trees: Dona Look and Dorothy Gill Barnes http://centerfor
trees/ at the Center for Wood Art in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Two browngrotta artist are featured in this exhibition, which closes April 23rd.
Their work can also be seen through June 26th at the Morris Museum in Morristown, New Jersey in Green From the Get Go: Contemporary International Basketmakers, curated by browngrotta arts. In New York, New York, the Experiments in Art & Digital Technologies includes innovative bga artist Lia Cook, http://www.liacook.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/EADT-Press.pdf who will lecture in New York on May 5th https://creativetechweek2016.sched.org/event/6DN5/weaving-and-digital-innovation.
Work by Lia Cook is also front and center in a San Francisco, California exhibition, Lines that Tie: Carol Beadle and Lia Cook http://sfmcd.org/press-release-lines-that-tie/ the exhibition is curated by bga artist, Deborah Valoma. Cook will lecture there tomorrow, April 21st. Identify Yourself, in Honolulu, Hawaii http://honolulumuseum
15320-identify_yourself/, which closes this week, on April 24th, also features work by Lia Cook. Two events in Wilton, Connecticut to attend. Hickory, Ash and Reed: Traditional Baskets, Contemporary Makersat the Wilton Historical Society, http://www.wiltonhistorical.
org/exhibitions.html, Includes several baskets by the late Marian Hildebrandt, whose work is represented by browngrotta arts and whose work is also currently on exhibit in Green from the Get: International Contemporary Basketmakers at the Morris Museum.
Artboom: Celebrating Artists Mide-Century, Mid-Career is open at browngrotta arts for just 10 days, from April 30th-May 8th http://arttextstyle.com/
In the halls of the Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts in Lausanne, Switzerland, Nomadic tapestries, an exhibition of some of the extensive contemporary collection of the Toms Pauli Foundation, traces in the evolution of textile art from the 1960s to 2000s,
-toms-pauli-collection-xxe-siecle/. browngrotta arts has work available by twelve of the artists included in this very significant international survey of art textiles — Magadalena Abakanowicz, Lia Cook, Sheila Hicks, Jan Hladik, Ritzi Jacobi, Naomi Kobayashi, Maria Laszkiewicz, Jolanta Owidzka, Mariette Rousseau-Vermette, Wojciech Sadley, Sherri Smith and Hideho Tanaka. The exhibition will be on view through May 29th. In Tilburg, the Netherlands the Textile Museum is hosting a major retrospective of American artist and textile pioneer Sheila Hicks, born 1934 http://www.textielmuseum.nl/nl/tentoonstelling/sheila-hicks. Internationally renowned, thanks to her participation in numerous large solo and group exhibitions, this is her first appearance in the Netherlands for many years. The exhibition extends through June 5, 2016.
Art in the Barn 2016: Artboom: Celebrating Artists Mid-Century, Mid-Career, Wilton, CT, April 30th – May 8th
In less than two weeks, browngrotta will open its 2016 Art in the Barn exhibition, Artboom: Celebrating Artists Mid-Century, Mid Career. This year’s exhibition brings together “baby boomers,” 33 artists born between 1946 and 1964, who are mid-way into their lives of making art. We’ve asked them to provide us work that is reflective; work that tells us where they’ve come from or where they hope to go; work that illustrates influences, roads not taken, and the like. Or, work that reflects on being a boomer, perhaps— part of the wealthiest, most active, and most physically fit generation up to that time and the first to grow up genuinely expecting the world to improve. It was a generation that created music and literature in the 60s and art — including fiber art — to describe the change this generation was determined to bring about.
The results are contemplative and thought provoking. Ceca Georgieva’s sculpture, The Iron Curtain, reflects her life in a Communist and post-Communist state. Karyl Sisson’s In Stitches, harkens back to her family’s past in New York’s Fashion industry — her grandmother made hats and beaded bags in New York’s lower East side; her mother spent 25 years as a buyer for the specialty store Bonwit Teller. For Lewis Knauss, this stage of his career means seeing unrealized ideas (sketches, notes, photos) and failed work in a new light. “I am happier with chaos,” he says, “the way I need to give up a bit more control of the outcome, flaws and in nature, the beauty of disaster. I guess it is acknowledging the approaching wall. I enjoy working at my pace rather than a deadline enforced one, allowing things to just happen, evaluating the outcomes as I finish each work. Keeping and discarding.” The Artist’s Opening for Artboom: Celebrating Artists Mid-Century, Mid-Career is Saturday, April 30th from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. The hours of the exhibition from May 1st through May 8th are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. — just call if you’d like to come by earlier or later: 203.834.0623. browngrotta arts’ contemporized 1895 barn is at 276 Ridgefield Road, Wilton, CT 06897. For more information and a complete list of artists visit browngrotta.com: http://www.browngrotta.com/Pages/calendar.php. A catalog, Artboom: Celebrating Artists Mid-Century, Mid-Career will be available from browngrotta.com after May 1st.
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