Tag: Irina Kolesnikova

Portraits in Thread

The Textile Museum at George Washington University in DC has a portrait exhibition in the works. Learning about the Museum’s plans got us thinking about works created by browngrotta artists that feature human likenesses. We have a preference for abstract works and find them easier to exhibit as a group in the gallery. As a result, we don’t exhibit many works that are figurative, but we do find faces rendered in textiles consistently appealing. They record a person’s existence, but traditionally reflect much more — power, status, virtue, beauty, wealth, taste, learning or other qualities of the sitter. Portraiture can be popular with artists because of the freedom of composition it involves — lighting, angle of the head, hair, clothes, background, facial expression — almost endless options. Below is a gallery of some engaging portraits by artists who have worked with browngrotta arts.

Process piece by ed Rossbach
Process Piece, Ed Rossbach, 15” x 15” x 2.5”, 1981. Photo by Tom Grotta

This deconstructed portrait by Ed Rossbach works on two levels — it appears to be a model of the way a likeness can be formed, and of course, it revels the likeness in black transferred onto fabric.

Ethel Stein portrait
Portrait, Ethel Stein mercerized cotton lampas (pre-dyed warp and weft) drawloom , controlled, 47” x 34.75” x 1” 1999. Photo by Tom Grotta

Portrait by Ethel Stein is an imagined depiction of a woman in contemplation while Helena Hernmarck’s On the Dock seems to capture an actual moment in time.

Helena Hernmarck tapestry
On the Dock, Helena Hernmarck, wool, 43″ x 57″, 2009. Photo by Tom Grotta

Marijike Arp portraits
DNA Unique, Marijike Arp, transparent foil, threads and paper, 66″ x 118″ x 1.5″, 2000. Photo by Tom Grotta

Marjike Arp made a statement about gender in DNA=Unique. The pair of subjects resemble one another and raise questions for the viewer: Are they related? Are they more similar than different? 

Iria Kolesnikova portraits
Photoatelier #11, Irina Kolesnikova, flax, silk, hand woven, 15.5” x 11.75”, 20” x 16” frame, 2004

Other artists also work from photographic images. Irina Kolesnikova, for example, likes old black-and-white old photos. “I play with images of these pictures, using silhouettes, details of dress, signs of profession. I make collage and imitate collage in woven technique. You can not recognize an exact person in these pieces, because it is not important for me …. I like a paradoxical combination of contemporary art language and ancient handweaving technque.”

From the First Person  by Aleksandra Stoyanov
Aleksandra Stoyanov, From the First Person I, wool, sisal, silk, cotton threads 55.6” x 49.25”, 1999

Ukrainian-born artist Aleksandra Stoyanov began making tapestries in 1987, building on her background in graphic and set design. Some of these are based on photographs from her family album. The images evoke memories; the position of the subjects’ heads on their sides suggests the importance of one’s vantage point in interpreting events.

Lia Cook Su Series
Su Series, Lia Cook cotton, rayon, woven 72” x 132”, 2010-2016. Photo by Tom Grotta

Lia Cook is a master of creating woven portraits from photographic images. Her Su Series Installation features 32 individual portraits. The exact same face, an image of Cook as a child, is used in each of the pieces but it is physically and materially translated differently each time through the weaving process. “The specific way each is translated creates a subtle and sometimes dramatic variation in emotional expression.” Cook says. “As one moves through the installation each iteration evokes a new response. The experience of the person viewing the piece is what is important to me. I am interested in the threshold at which the face dissolves first into pattern and then into a sensual tactile woven structure.  What does this discovery and the resulting intense desire to touch the work add to our already innate, almost automatic emotional response to seeing a face?… The viewer can experience sadness, happiness anger fear etc.  They don’t believe it is the same image”. It is fascinating to Cook — and to viewers of her work — that how an image is translated through the technical weaving process can change the emotional expression of the work.


Art Assembled: New This Week in November

This holiday season, we’re feeling extra thankful to be able to introduce you all to new artists and their impressive artwork. Over the course of the month, we’ve highlighted art from notable artists like: Irina Kolesnikova, Norma Minkowitz, Gudrun Pagter, Masakazu Kobayashi, and Toshio Sekiji. Just in case you missed it, we’re recapping all the pieces we think you should check out sooner rather than later!

This piece comes from renowned Russian artist, Irina Kolesnikova. Kolesnikova created this piece amid the pandemic, where she was able to take the time to reflect and do a deeper dive into herself; the end result was a series of powerful works titled Letters from Quarantine.

Around and A Round comes from internationally recognized textile artist, Norma Minkowitz. Often, Minkowitz works with fiber to create transparent mixed media sculptures – creating work that is at times fragile and relates to the human form and forms from nature. When asked about her artwork as a whole, Minkowitz said: 

“I seek mystery in the shadows of the work. The netting’s effect is to blur the shape within. There is often paint on the surface, which can at times be invisible and at other times obvious depending on the light, another important element of my work. I want the openness to convey a sense of energy as the viewer moves around the sculpture. My work retains implications of containment and psychological complexity, while focusing on the human form and often the land-scape. I am engaged in a process that weaves the personal and universal together. The interlacing suggests a delicate quality symbolic of the human condition, but conversely, the pieces could also imply the strength of steel mesh. In many of my works twigs and branches are left inside, and are visible in an eerie way through the exterior of the sculpture, often suggesting connections to the human skeletal or circulatory systems.” 

These woven tapestries come from talented Danish artist, Gudrun Pagter. In Pagter’s work, she often uses lines and shapes to achieve a tension and a spatial effect, with inspiration drawn from architecture. Pagter’s minimalism is emblematic of the shared sensibilities of Scandinavian and Japanese artists, popularly termed Japandi.

This one-of-a-kind contemporary piece comes from the late Masakazu Kobayashi. When interviewed, Kobayashi once stated that when creating his own work he searches for an equilibrium between his capacity as a creator and the energy of the world around him.

“In my own work, I search for an equilibrium between my capacity as a creator and the energy of the world around me,”  said Kobayashi. ‘When I am able to find this equilibrium, my works exist on their own. Among the works I have created are projects that incorporate several styles and emphasize primary colors. In creating such combinations, I want the viewer to experience the resonating chords that come from each element of the work.”

Toshio Sekiji is a Japanese artist widely known for his exploration of merging cultures in his complex collages and weavings. Often, Sekiji uses repurposed newspapers, maps and book pages within his artwork. The end result is the creation of new stories atop the old – intertwining strips of paper from various cultures, rewriting messages and imaging a harmonious confluence of disparate cultures, languages and nationalities.

If you like this lineup, be sure to keep your eye out for the artwork we will be highlighting throughout December. We have another round of impressive artwork coming your way! 


Who Said What: Polly Leonard

Artist Thread details

“What is it about thread that is so appealing? Within contemporary society there is a hunger for sensual experiences that can only be satisfied by handle and texture. We are surrounded by smooth surfaces, from screens to kitchen counters, floors and cars. Clothing is increasingly constructed from a narrow range of nylon and cotton fibre – while appealing to the eye, these leave the hand starved of stimulus.” Polly Leonard, Founder/Editor, selvedge Magazine selvedge, Issue 84, Surface, September – October 2018To learn more about Polly and the founding of selvedge, access Threaded Stories: A Talk with Polly Leonard:https://classiq.me/threaded-stories-a-talk-with-polly-leonard

More Artist Thread Details


Objects of Desire Gift Guide: Part Four — The Concierge Collection

Are you looking for an overlooked, understated, exceptional gift? We’ve culled just such a selection for The Concierge Collection. Priced from $55 to $5000, in this grouping you’ll find good reads and items from our back room that we are surprised have not yet been acquired.

Conceirge Gifts
1) LITTLE RED, Grethe Wittrock
paper, aluminum, 69″ x 14″ x 9″, 2009

2) BALANCING II, Irina Kolesnikova
flax, silk, paper, hand woven, 21″ x 16″, 2009

3) TRACES 3 RELIEF, Mia Olsson
sisal and coconut fibers on blastered acrylic glass, 
14″ x 11.875″ x 1.25″, 2006

4)TRACES 4 RELIEF, Mia Olsson
sisal and coconut fibers on blastered acrylic glass, 
14″ x 11.875″ x 1.25″, 2006

5) TOURBILLIONSimone Pheulpincotton, slate, 7.75″ x 7.75 x 2.25″ , 2009

6) TOURBILLION, Simone Pheulpin, cotton, slate, 7.75″ x 7.75 x 2.25″ , 2009

7) TOURBILLION, Simone Pheulpin, cotton, slate, 7.75″ x 7.75 x 2.25″ , 2009

8) TERRA ALTERIUS I, Caroline Bartlett
dyed, discharged, foiled, stitched linen, 
37″ x 32″, 2005

9) SUSPENDED RED, Nancy Koenigsberg
polynylon coated copper wire, 16″ x 16″ x 16″, 1998

10) WALTZ, Jennifer Falck Linssen
archival cotton paper, waxed linen, coated copper wire, aluminum, stainless steel, seagrass, paint, and varnish
 

(katagami-style handcarved paper.), 16” x 14” x 4”, 2008

11) PAGODA P, Naomi Kobayashi
cotton and aluminum cast, 2.75” x 11.5” x 11.5”, each

12) PAGODA B, Naomi Kobayashi
cotton and aluminum cast, 2.75” x 11.5” x 11.5”, each

13) TINY BOAT, Jane Balsgaard
homegrown willow and plant paper, 11″ x 24″ x 9.5”, 2010

14) RETRO/PROSPECTIVE: 25+ Years of Art Textiles and Sculpture Catalog, 184  pages; 248 photos

15) KAMOSU, Naoko Serino
jute, 6.75″ x 6.75″ x 6.75″, 2009

16) LOOP AND RETURN, Laura Thomas
cotton encapsulated in acrylic, 
6.375″ x 6.375″ x 3.25″, 2009

17) YOUNG WIRE POD, Debra Sachs
wood, paper twine, copper wire, copper tacks, mixed polymers, 
36″ x 7.5 x 7.5″

Conceirge Gifts


Artful Gift Giving Made Easy: Visit our Online Gift Gallery for suggestions from $14 to $1200

Jiro Yonezawa bamboo vase $380, photo by Tom Grotta

Our Online Gift Gallery link makes it easy to surprise the special people on your gift list — and maybe even yourself — with a memorable, one-off gift of art. Art is often among the items people choose to forego in trying economic times. By choosing an artful gift, you can offer your family and friends something they might not be willing to buy for themselves, but something they’d love to own. You’ll have chosen a truly one-of-a-kind, individually selected gift, and that’s an art in itself.

Rebecca Medel TWO PATHS $650 photo by Sam Fritch

The Online Gift Gallery at browngrotta arts makes choosing art gifts simple by featuring three price tiers. In tier one are works $500 and under, which includes catalogs, books and videos starting $14, raw silk scarves made in India by Japanese artists Chiaki and Kaori Maki starting at $380, a whimsical lidded bowl made of measuring tapes by Karyl Sisson for $160 and an elegant bamboo vase, complete with presentation box, by Jiro Yonezawa for $380. In tier two are works from $501 to $1000, including delicate black baskets of waxed linen, thorns and porcupine quills by Birgit Birkkjaer of Denmark, a surprising geometric sculpture of safety pins by Tamiko Kawata, and a sculptural piece by Rebecca Medel. In tier three are works from $1001 to $1200, including a small embroidered drawing by Russian artist Irina Kolesnikova, an indigo banner by Hiroyuki Shindo and a wall sculpture made of newspaper and saw blades by Kate Hunt.

Irina Kolesnikova, BALANCING II $650

Purchase any item from the Online Gift Gallery before December 1st and your shipping, anywhere in the US, will be free.  (If you purchase videos, books or catalogs from the Online Gift Gallery through our website before December 1st, we’ll send you a refund for the shipping.) And, for every item we sell from the Online Gift Gallery by the end of the year, we’ll donate $5 to the International Child Art Foundation http://www.icaf.org.

browngrotta arts will also participate in Small Business Saturday on November 26th. American Express cardholders who register their cards before that date and then make a purchase at a participating member on the 26th will receive an American Express gift card worth $25. Register here.