Tag: Kiyomi Iwata

Elements of Japandi: Integrating Nature – materials and environment

The Fall 2021 exhibition at browngrotta arts,  Japandi: shared aesthetics and influences will celebrate affinities between Japan and the Nordic countries of Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark cultures through contemporary art. The show will feature 39 fiber and ceramic artists from Denmark, Finland, Japan, Norway, and Sweden. xJapandi is a hybrid union of Japanese and Scandinavian aesthetic approaches appreciated for its reverence for nature and natural, sustainable materials, exceptional craftsmanship, simplicity and minimalism, and the beauty of embracing imperfection. This union evokes a visual and physical sense of calm and tranquility. The exhibition will run from September 25 through October 3, 2021.

Left: Jane Balsgaard (Denmark), Right: Kiyomi Iwata (Japan)

While attention on Japandi style may be currently popular, the interest in this merge of aesthetics is far from new. Artists and designers from the Nordic countries and Japan have been observing the parallels in their work and cultures for decades. Cultural and geographic elements made the Japanese work particularly appealing to Scandinavian artisans when it was first introduced to artists in the region in the 1800s. Both Japan and Northern European countries are deeply wooded and both have developed acclaimed woodworking traditions — in Scandinavia, techniques used by the Vikings and to protect against brutal winters, writes Danielle Johnson (Japonisme and the Origin of Modern Scandinavian Design,” OOKKUU, November 04, 2016.) The Japanese introduced new techniques, simplified forms, and most importantly, an approach towards woodworking that the Scandinavians deeply appreciated. The Scandinavians witnessed the fine craftsmanship and the sense of the natural materials that Japanese artisans brought to their work — particularly the manner in which the Japanese explored the wood’s essence, using minimal, refined designs so as not to detract from the experience from the viewer’s engagment with the materials. 

“[B]oth cultures have developed in harsh natural environments that humans cannot control. I feel a common point for us is how to live comfortably with nature.” Kato Saeko, curator of The Shop at the cultural centre Japan House, London. (“The rise of ‘Japandi’ style,” Clare DowdyBBC Online, October 2019.) Finland’s Ambassador to Japan, Pekka Orpana, also acknowledged the respect for nature shared by the regions. “We come from different cultures and are very far apart, but it’s actually quite surprising how similarly [the Finnish and Japanese] visualize and see our way of life …. We have a lot of similarities that unite us … for instance, how we appreciate nature and design.”  

Left: Hisako Sekijima (Japan), Right: Gjertrud Halls (Denmark)

Hisako Sekijima, one of the artists in Japandi, has recognized, and embraced, the influences the cultures share. She sees a greater kinship in her approach to that taken by Nordic artisans than to the traditional aesthetics of her native Japan which are often ascribed to Zen spirit or a stylized empathy to nature in terms ofka-cho-fu-getsu (natural imageries of flower, bird, wind and the moon). Her explorations into the elegant or logical interplay between natural materials and structural methods have more to do with elemental processing of materials than emotional expressions. “When I use a branch of tree to make a basket, it becomes a kind of abstract component — a linear element with a certain role. For example, when a branch becomes a tool used to reach fruits on a high branch.” She sees a similar similar shifting of the materials’ nature in the Scandinavian object making. “Their manner is straightforward and elemental as well as universal.” 

Left: Jiro Yonezawa, Right: Eva Vargö

Paper is another natural material that Japanese and Nordic artists highlight in their work. “Simplicity, purity and a respect for materials is intrinsic to Japanese craft and their work links East and West by celebrating the inherent properties of paper (some areas are softly translucent, and overlaid areas exploit varying opacities) and accurately balancing material, technique and form, ” writes Sarah E. Braddock, textile lecturer, writer & curator (Project Papermoon catalogDenmark, 2000) It was in Japan where  Swedish artist Eva Vargö first experience how Japanese washi paper, especially when produced in the traditional way, exhibits a unique quality. The most interesting, in her view, was to experience how light filters through papers from lamps, paper shoji screen doors and windows. Danish artist Jane Balsgaard spent time in Japan in 1993 and 1998, preparing for exhibits there. Works of paper and twigs were the result. In her work, white paper often contrasts the dark color of the willow twigs.  “Another element in her works that has connection to Japan,” writes Mirjam Golfer-Jørgensen, “is the skeleton, that partly  frames the paper, partly combines with the hollows in the constuction, and gives another character to the paper that with a lightness that creates a contrast towards to the hollows.” (Influences from Japan in Dansh Art and Design 1870 – 2010, Mirjam Golfer-Jørgensen, Danish Architectural Press, 2013.)

Join us at  Japandi: shared aesthetics and influences to see more ways in which these influences are exhanged and expressed. The hours of exhibtion are: Opening and Artist Reception: Saturday, September 25th: 11 to 6; Sunday, September 26th: 11 to 6; Monday, September 27th through Saturday October 2nd: 10 to 5; Sunday, October 3rd: 11 to 6; Advanced time reservations are mandatory; Appropriate Covid protocols will be followed. There will be a full-color catalog prepared for the exhibition available at browngrotta.com on September 24th.


Acquisition News – Part I, US

We last reported on museum acquisitions of works by artists from browngrotta arts in 2019. There has been continued interest in acquiring work by these artists in the two years since by museums and art programs in the US and abroad. browngrotta arts has placed several works and acquisitions have occurred through the efforts of other galleries, artists and donors. As a result, we have a long list of aquisitions to report. In this, Part I, acquisitions in the Untied States:

Polly Adams Sutton
Polly Adams Sutton, Facing the Unexpected, 2013. Photo by Tom Grotta

Polly Adams Sutton

Polly Adams Sutton’s work Facing the Unexpected has been acquired by the Smithsonian American Art Musuem. It’s going to be part of the Renwick’s 50th anniversary exhibition in 2022.

Norma Minkowitz
Norma Minkowitz’s, Goodbye My Friend, 2017. Photo by Tom Grotta

Norma Minkowitz

Goodbye My Friend by Norma Minkowitz was gifted to the Renwick, Smithsonian American Art Museum, in memory of noted fiber art collector, Camille Cook.

Kiyomi Iwata
Kiyomi Iwata’s Red Aperture, 2009 and Fungus Three, 2018. Photos By Tom Grotta

Kiyomi Iwata 

Two works, Red Aperture and Fungus Three by Kiyomi Iwata were acquired by The Warehouse, MKE in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Two works by Iwata, Grey Orchid Fold V made in 1988, and Auric Grid Fold made in 1995 were donated to the Philadelphia Art Museum.

Adela Akers
Adela Akers, Traced Memories, 2007. Photo by Tom Grotta

Adela Akers

Adela Akers‘ work, Traced Memories from 2007 was acquired by the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco, California in 2020.

Dawn MacNutt
Dawn MacNutt’s, Larger Than Life, 2021.

Dawn MacNutt  

Dawn MacNutt’s 9 foot-high willow sculpture, Larger Than Life, was acquired by Longhouse Reserve in East Hampton, New York in 2021.

Naoko Serino
Naoko Serino’s Existing-2-D, 2017 and Generating Mutsuki, 2021. Photos by Tom Grotta

Naoko Serino

Two works by Naoko SerinoGenerating Mutsuki and Existing 2-D, were acquired by The Warehouse, MKE in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Ferne Jacobs

A work by Ferne JacobsSlipper, made in 1994, was donated to the Philadelphia Art Museum. Another, Centric Spaces, from 2000, was donated to Houston Museum of Fine Art.

Presence Absence Tunnel Four, 1990, by Lia Cook

Lia Cook

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) purchased Presence Absence Tunnel Four, 1990, by Lia Cook, in 2019.

Gyöngy Laky
Gyöngy Laky’s, Noise at Noon, 1996. Photo by Gyöngy Laky

Gyöngy Laky   

The Oakland Museum of California in California acquired Noise at Noon by Gyöngy Laky this year. In 2019, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California Historical Society, added That Word to its collection and the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, California, added Ex Claim!  The Art in Embassies program of the US Department of State, acquired Seek, for the US embassy in Pristina, Kosovo.

Congratulations to the artists and acquiring organizations!


An Unexpected Approach — Contemporary Art for NY Asian Art Week 2019

Top: Grinded Fabric-Three Squares Blue Threads and Blue #689, Chiyoko Tanaka
Bottom: (Left) Ceramic 49, Yasuhisa Kohyama
(Right) Ceramic 50, Yasuhisa Kohyama.
Photo by Tom Grotta

For the 10th year, New York is celebrating Asian Art Week from March 13th – 23rd and we’ve prepared related programming of our own. Through the end of this month, browngrotta arts is presenting An Unexpected Approach: Exploring Asian Contemporary Art, an online exhibition featuring 21 accomplished artists from Japan, Korea and the US, whose work reflects a contemporary Asian sensibility. 

Pulguk-sa, Kyong-Ju, Glen Kaufman, silk damask, silver leaf; screenprint, impressed metal leaf, 48” x 24” x 1” 1990. Photo by Tom Grotta

More than three dozen works are included in the exhibition. including select works of ceramic, textile, basketry and sculpture. The artists in this exhibition, including Jiro Yonezawa, Yasuhisa Kohyama, Glen Kaufman and Shin Young-Ok, have an understanding of traditional processes and aesthetics, but apply this understanding in a contemporary manner. Conventional Asian materials and/or techniques are featured, but often used in unconventional ways.  

Indigo Grid, Kiyomi Iwata, silk organza, 39″ x 29″ x 5″, 2011. Photo by Tom Grotta.

Kiyomi Iwata, for example, who has lived in the US for many years, explores the boundaries of East and West using silk organza metal. She creates sculptures that combine traditional Japanese aesthetics — organza boxes with kimono references – in minimalist grids, forms common in contemporary Western art.

Chiyoko Tanaka, who lives on the outskirts of Kyoto, weaves fabric on a traditional obi loom, then distresses it with brick and mud or clay. By grinding her newly woven cloth with earth, she exposes that original warp, unveiling the essence of the fabric. She says of her deconstructions, “I feel that my woven work is about time and the human condition.”

New York Skyline I + II, Jin-Sook So, steel mesh, electroplated silver, patinated, gold leaf, thread, 33″ x 39.5″ 2.25″, 2006

Jin-Sook So’s work is informed by time spent in Korea, Sweden and Japan. So uses transparent steel mesh cloth, folded, stitched, painted and electroplated to create shimmering objects for the wall or tabletop. The past and present are referenced in So’s work in ways that are strikingly modern and original.  She has used old Korean schoolbook pages to create collage and steel mesh to create contemporary pojagi and to re-envision common objects — chairs, boxes and bowls. 

Lyric Space, Shin Young-Ok, Korean silk fabric and handmade ramie threads, 26.4″ x 26.4″ x .75″, 2014. Photo by Tom Grotta.

Kyoko Kumai, the subject of a solo show at the Museum of Modern Art, also works in steel, using steel threads to weave or spin strikingly contemporary clouds of steel. Jiro Yonezawa has received numerous awards for his bamboo vessels and sculpture. Formally trained in Beppu, Japan, Jonezawa then moved to the US, and when he did so, the lacquered twill-patterned form associated with Beppu was transformed by the artist into sensuous sculptural vessels, formal yet more freely formed.

 You can view An Unexpected Approach: Exploring Contemporary Asian Art Online by visiting browngrotta arts’ You Tube channel.  You can see each individual work in the exhibition on Artsy.

The complete list of artists participating in this exhibition is: CHANG YEONSOON; YASUHISA KOHYAMA; NAOKO SERINO; KEIJI NIO; KIYOMI IWATA; KYOKO KUMAI;JIN-SOOK SO; SHIN YOUNG-OK; NANCY MOORE BESS;JIRO YONEZAWA; TSURUKO TANIKAWA; GLENN KAUFMAN; NORIKO TAKAMIYA; NAOMI KOBAYASHI; HISAKO SEKIJIMA; MUTSUMI IWASAKI; JUN TOMITA; MASAKO YOSHIDA; HIDEHO TANAKA; CHIYOKO TANAKA; HIROYUKI SHINDO


Art Out and About: US

The opportunities to see great art are endless this summer! Heading to the West Coast for work? Take a detour and visit  the newly opened Nordic Museum to check out Northern Exposure: Contemporary Nordic Arts Revealed in Seattle, WashingtonVisiting friends or family in the Northeast? Make plans to spend the day in New Haven and see Text and Textile at The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library on Yale’s campus. Whether you are in the North, South, East or West there are a wide variety of strong exhibitions on display across the US this summer, here are a few of our favorites:

Grethe Wittrock's Nordic Birds at the Nordic Museum

Grethe Wittrock’s Nordic Birds at the Nordic Museum in Seattle, Washington. Photo by Grethe Wittrock

Northern Exposure: Contemporary Nordic Arts Revealed at the Nordic Museum, Seattle, Washington

The newly opened Nordic Museum hopes to share and inspire people of all ages and backgrounds through Nordic art. The museum is the largest in the US to honor the legacy of immigrants from the five Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. Northern Exposure studies “how the Nordic character continues to redefine itself within an evolving global context” by challenging “perceptions of form, gender, identity, nature, technology and the body,” explains the Museum. The exhibition features work by internationally acclaimed artists, including Grethe Wittrock, Olafur Eliasson, Bjarne Melgaard, Jesper Just, Kim Simonsson and Cajsa Von Zeipel. Made of Danish sailcloth, Wittrock’s Nordic Birds immediately attracts the eye upon entering the exhibition. Northern Exposure: Contemporary Nordic Arts Revealed will be on display through September 16, 2018. For more information click HERE.

Traces: Wonder by Lia Cook at the Racine Art Museum, Gift of Karen Johnson Boyd. Photo by Jon Bolton

Traces: Wonder by Lia Cook at the Racine Art Museum, Gift of Karen Johnson Boyd. Photo by Jon Bolton

Honoring Karen Johnson Boyd: Collecting In-Depth at Home and at RAM, Racine Art Museum, Wisconsin

The Racine Art Museum’s new exhibit Honoring Karen Johnson Boyd: Collecting In-Depth at Home and at RAM showcases art advocate and collector Karen Johnson Boyd’s collection of ceramic, clay and fiber art. The exhibition, which is broken up into a series of four individually titled exhibitions, with varying opening and closing dates, highlight Boyd’s interests, accomplishments and lifelong commitment to art. Throughout her life, Boyd was drawn to a diverse array of artistic styles and subjects. Boyd, who collected fiber in an encyclopedic fashion, supported artists of varying ages with varying regional, national and international reputations. Boyd’s Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home provided her with many display options for her fiber collection. Though baskets encompassed the majority of Boyd’s fiber collection, she regularly altered her environment, adding and subtracting works as she added to her collection. The exhibitions feature work from Dorothy Gill Barnes, Lia Cook, Kiyomi Iwata, Ferne Jacobs, John McQueen, Ed Rossbach, Hideho Tanaka, Mary Merkel-Hess, Norma Minkowitz, Lenore Tawney and Katherine Westphal. Honoring Karen Johnson Boyd: Collecting In-Depth at Home and at RAM will be on display at the Racine Art Museum through December 30th, with exhibited pieces changing over in mid-September. For more information on Honoring Karen Johnson Boyd: Collecting In-Depth at Home and at RAM visit the Racine Art Museum’s website HERE.

Text and Textile at The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Text and Textile at The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, New Haven, Connecticut

In New Haven, Connecticut, The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library recently opened Text and Textile. The exhibition, which will be on display through August 12th, explores the relationship and intersection between text and textile in literature and politics.Text and Textile draws on Yale University’s phenomenal collection of literature tied to textiles, from Renaissance embroidered bindings to text from Anni Albers’ On Weaving. Additionally, the exhibition features: Gertrude Stein’s waistcoat; manuscript patterns and loom cards from French Jacquard mills; the first folio edition of William Shakespeare’s plays; the “Souper” paper dress by Andy Warhol; American samplers; Christa Wolf’s “Quilt Memories”; Zelda Fitzgerald’s paper dolls for her daughter; Edith Wharton’s manuscript drafts of “The House of Mirth”; an Incan quipu; poetry by Langston Hughes, Emily Dickinson, Susan Howe and Walt Whitman; and “The Kelmscott Chaucer” by William Morris. For more information on Text and Textile click HERE.

Kaki Shibu by Nancy Moore Bess. Lent by Browngrotta Arts

Kaki Shibu by Nancy Moore Bess. Lent by Browngrotta Arts

Rooted, Revived, Reinvented: Basketry In America at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. Houston, Texas

The traveling exhibition Rooted, Revived, Reinvented: Basketry In America is now on display at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft in Houston, Texas. The exhibition, which is set to travel around the United States through the end of 2019, chronicles the history of American basketry from its origins in Native American, immigrant and slave communities to its presence within the contemporary fine art world. Curated by Josephine Stealy and Kristin Schwain, the exhibition is divided into five sections: Cultural Origins, New Basketry, Living Traditions, Basket as Vessel and Beyond the Basket which aim to show you the evolution of basketry in America. Today, some contemporary artists seek to maintain and revive traditions practiced for centuries. However, other work to combine age-old techniques with nontraditional materials to generate cultural commentary. Rooted, Revived, Reinvented: Basketry In America features work by browngrotta arts’ artists Polly Adams Sutton, Mary Giles, Nancy Moore Bess, Christine Joy, Nancy Koenigsberg, Dorothy Gill Barnes, Ferne Jacobs, Gyöngy Laky, Kari Lønning, John McQueen, Norma Minkowitz, Leon Niehues, Ed Rossbach, Karyl Sisson and Kay Sekimachi.

Kay Sekimachi in Handheld at the Aldrich Museum

Kay Sekimachi in Handheld at the Aldrich Museum. Photo by Tom Grotta

Handheld at the Aldrich Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut

The Aldrich Museum’s new exhibition Handheld explores how contemporary artists’ and designers’ perceive the meaning of touch. Touch is one of the most intimate and sometimes unappreciated senses. Today, the feeling our hands are most familiar with are our that of our handheld devices and electronics. Touch is no longer solely used to hold objects such as pencils and tools, in fact, touch is increasingly taking the form of a swipe, where the sensation is ignored in favor to the flat visual landscapes of our own selection. “Handheld takes a multifarious approach—the hand as means of creation, a formal frame of reference” explains the Aldrich Museum. It serves the viewer as “a source of both delight and tension as they experience sensual objects in familiar domestic forms, scaled for touch, that can be looked upon but not felt.” The group exhibition, which features work by Kay Sekimachi will be on display until January 13, 2019. For more information on Handheld click HERE.


Artists in the House: Who’s attending the Opening of Blue/Green: color/code/context on Saturday

Keiji Nio, Rough Sea of Sado,polyester, aramid fiber, 48.25” x 47.5”, 2016. Photo by Tom Grotta

The Artists Reception and Opening for Blue/Green: color/code/context occurs this Saturday at browngrotta arts, 276 Ridgefield Road, Wilton, Connecticut 06897. Eleven of the participating artists will be in attendance, enhancing what is always an energizing opportunity to experience our annual Art in the Barn event. Keiji Nio and his family are coming from Japan, Pat Campbell from Maine, Wendy Wahl from Rhode Island, Kiyomi Iwata from Virginia, Norma Minkowitz and Helena Hernmarck from Connecticut and Polly Barton, John McQueen, Nancy Koenigsberg, Lewis Knauss and Tamiko Kawata from New York. Wendy Wahl’s work is made of blue Encyclopedia Britannica pages; John McQueen used plastic bottles — a departure for him. Norma Minkowitz has created a detailed and magical stitched drawing and Lewis Knauss a work of pale, pale green and natural reed and twigs. Join us from 1-5 pm to see their work and that of 50 more artists. The artists will be available throughout the Barn, to answer questions about their work, their favorites or about the work of others. They’ll be wearing name tags — feel free to say hello. For more info: http://www.browngrotta.com/Pages/calendar.php; 203-834-0623. Or visit us during the week — Sunday April 29th – Sunday May 6th, 10-5 pm.


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.


Still Crazy…30 Years: The Catalog

Still Crazy...30 Years: The Catalog Cover Naoko Serino and Mary Yagi

Still Crazy…30 Years: The Catalog

It’s big! It’s beautiful (if we do say so ourselves –and we do)! The catalog for our 30th anniversary is now available on our new shopping cart. The catalog — our 46th volume — contains 196 pages (plus the cover), 186 color photographs of work by 83 artists, artist statements, biographies, details and installation shots.

Still Crazy...30 Years: The Catalog

Naoko Serino Spread

Still Crazy...30 Years: The Catalog

Michael Radyk Spread

Still Crazy...30 Years: The Catalog

Lilla Kulka Spread

Still Crazy...30 Years: The Catalog

Jo Barker Spread

The essay, is by Janet Koplos, a longtime editor at Art in America magazine, a contributing editor to Fiberarts, and a guest editor of American Craft. She is the author of Contemporary Japanese Sculpture (Abbeville, 1990) and co-author of Makers: A History of American Studio Craft (University of North Carolina Press, 2010). We have included a few sample spreads here. Each includes a full-page image of a work, a detail shot and an artist’s statement. There is additional artists’ biographical information in the back of the book. Still Crazy After All These Years…30 years in art can be purchased at www.browngrotta.com http://store.browngrotta.
com/still-crazy-after-all-these-years-30-years-in-art/.
Our shopping cart is mobile-device friendly and we now take PayPal.


Artist RSVPs—International Artists Travel the World to Attend browngrotta’s Opening April 22nd

From across the globe to the beautiful rural and coastal landscape of Connecticut, artists traveling from four different countries and nine US states will attend browngrotta arts’ artist reception and opening this Saturday, April 22, 2017.

We are delighted to welcome these 16 national and international artists as we celebrate our 30th anniversary exhibition, Still Crazy After All These Years…30 years in art.

Jennifer Falck Linssen

Jennifer Falck Linssen

Wendy Wahl

Wendy Wahl

John McQueen

John McQueen

Blair Tate

Blair Tate

Nancy Koenigsberg

Nancy Koenigsberg

Tamiko Kawata

Tamiko Kawata

Lewis Knauss

Lewis Knauss

Mary Giles

Mary Giles

Mary Merkel-Hess

Mary Merkel-Hess

Norma Minkowitz

Norma Minkowitz

Ferne Jacobs

Ferne Jacobs

Gizella K Warburton

Gizella K Warburton

Hisako Sekijima

Hisako Sekijima

Kyomi Iwata

Kyomi Iwata

Jin-Sook So

Jin-Sook So

Helena Hernmarck

Helena Hernmarck

As with our world-renowned collection of art textiles, dimensional art pieces and mixed media, many of our visiting artists represent acreative blend of diverse cultures and countries from all over the world, including Helena Hernmarck, originally from Sweden, now Connecticut, who continues to work with weavers in Sweden to create her tapestries; Jin-Sook So, from Korea, who has also lived for more than two decades in Sweden; Hisako Sekijima of Yokohama, Japan; and Gizella K Warburton from the UK.

We’re also pleased to welcome the following artists who are traveling from across the United States, including California, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Wisconsin, and of course our home state of Connecticut:

Each of the 16 artists expected to attend browngrotta arts’ artists reception and opening this Saturday will be available to offer insights into this unique combination of art forms, including textiles, sculptures, stitched work and sculptural baskets among others. Visit our Artists pages to learn more about our visiting artists’ techniques, inspirations and remarkable art forms.
The Artists Reception and Opening for Still Crazy After All These Years…30 Years in art is at browngrotta arts, 276 Ridgefield Road, Wilton, CT 06897, April 22nd, 1 pm to 6 pm.


Dispatches: Los Angeles for The Box Project Exhibition at the Fowler Museum

In the 2000s, collector Lloyd Cotsen and his then-curator the late Mary Kahelberg began what would become The Box Project: Uncommon Threads, commissioning 36 international, contemporary artists to work within a given set of parameters. They were challenged to work within the confines of an archival box—to create one-of-a-kind works of art. What followed were years of fascinating correspondence with the artists who would participate in the project. As expected, each interpreted the challenge in his or her own way, resulting in an exceedingly diverse collection of works that reflects the artists’ skill and creativity. Most of the pieces in the show are presented in their accompanying 23″ by 14″ by 3” or 14” by 14″ by 3″ boxes.

The Box Project Exhibition at the Fowler Museum Opening

The Box Project Exhibition at the Fowler Museum Opening

 

The exhibition showcases these skilled artists’ ingenious use—and often-expansive definitions—of fiber, while exploring the collector/artist relationship. The exhibition couples the box commissions with other examples of the participating artists’ larger works. Also included are some of the letters and drawings and maquettes for the exhibition — a fascinating glimpse of the creative process.

Helena Hernmarck installation, The Box Project Exhibition at the Fowler Museum. Photo by tom Grotta

Helena Hernmarck’s “box” installation and one of her larger tapestries. Photo by Tom Grotta

The 36 artists whose work appears in this exhibition are Masae Bamba, James Bassler, Mary Bero, Zane Berzina, N. Dash, Virginia Davis, Carson Fox, Shigeki Fukumoto, John Garrett, Ana Lisa Hedstrom, Helena Hernmarck,  Pat Hodson, Kiyomi Iwata, Gere Kavanaugh, Ai Kijima, Hideaki Kizaki, Lewis Knauss, Nancy Koenigsberg, Gerhardt Knodel, Naomi Kobayashi, Gyöngy Laky, Paola Moreno, Jun Mitsuhashi, Kyoko Nitta, Hisako Sekijima, Barbara Murak, Cynthia Schira, Heidrun Schimmel, Carol Shinn, Sherri Smith, Hadi Tabatabai, Koji Takaki, Aune Taamal, Richard Tuttle, and Peter Weber. Work by 10 of those included is available through browngrotta arts.

Artist Talk. Photo by Tom Grotta

Artists’ panel. Photo by Tom Grotta

On September 10th, three of the artists involved, Gere Kavanaugh, Gyöngy Laky, and Hisako Sekijima joined the curator of the Cotsen Collection, Lyssa C. Stapleton, in a conversation about their respective processes and resulting “boxes.” We were fortunate to attend their talk and to catch up with a number of artist, collector and curator friends.

Hisako Sekijima in front of her works at The Box Project Exhibition at the Fowler Museum. Photo by Tom Grotta

Hisako Sekijima in front of her box project. Photo by Tom Grotta

“The box is a technical tool and also a spatial construct,” Sekijima told the audience, “which gave me freedom.” The artist used the box, she explained, as a mold in which multiple baskets were integrated whole.” Kavanaugh spoke at length of her work as a designer for Lloyd Cotsen, including her design of the brightly colored Neutrogena headquarters.

Laky talked about her work and the influence of the environment and feminism on her work — including her free-standing word sculpture, Slowly, composed of letters that can be read as LAG or GAL, and which was motivated by Laky’s efforts in improve gender equity in hiring in the University of California system.

Gyongy Laky. Photo by Tom Grotta

Gyongy Laky with her box project to the right and a larger work above. Photo by Tom Grotta

On October 14th, in Culture Fix, Lacy Simkowitz, curatorial assistant at the Cotsen Collection, who worked closely with artists featured in The Box Project, will discuss how the exhibition developed. From mining the archives to decisions about the exhibition checklist, Simkowitz played a key role in the development of the traveling exhibition. In this gallery talk, she will discuss case studies by James Bassler, Ai Kijima and Cynthia Schira and she share behind-the-scenes stories about the exhibition planning process.

Crowds lining up for the opening reception of The Box Project at the Fowler Museum. Photo by Tom Grotta

Crowds lining up for the opening reception of The Box Project at the Fowler Museum. Photo by Tom Grotta

The Box Project: Uncommon Threads is at the Fowler through January 15, 2017. The Fowler is located on the UCLA campus, 308 Charles E. Young Drive, North, Los Angeles, California 90024; 310.825.4361.


Contemporary Art Influenced by Korea and Japan: An Unexpected Approach

Opens September 16th in Greenwich, Connecticut

Mary Yagi Outdoor Sculptor Art from Japan

Mariyo Yagi preparing her outdoor sculpture “A cycle- Infinity” for the upcoming exhibit in the US. Photo by Yuna Yagi

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.

Textiles and Ceramic Art from Korea and Japan

Weaving by Chiyoko Tanaka, Ceramic by Yasuhisa Kohyama. Photo by Tom Grotta

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.

Kiyomi Iwata Gold Mesh Sculpture

Auric Grid Fold, Kiyomi Iwata, aluminum mesh, french embroidery knots, gold leaf, silk organza, 19″ x 18″ x 10″, 2013. Photo by Tom Grotta

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; info@greenwicharts.org.