The role of Eastern European and US artists in challenging tapestry traditions in the 1960s is well documented. By the mid-70s, however, artists from in Japan were gaining attention for own fiber experiments. Among the most prominent, a Kyoto couple, Masakazu and Naomi Kobayashi. Both were invited to the prestigious 7th Lausanne Biennial of International in 1975. In her historical essay, “The Lausanne Tapestry Biennials,” (16th Lausanne International Biennial: Criss-Crossings, 1995, pp. 36-53), Erika Billeter says Masakazu’s work of wires undulating like
waves was “ particularly noticeable.” This she describes as “neither a mural tapestry, nor a sculpture, nor an an object. It is simply textile.” She describes Naomi’s work at the Biennial as similarly thought provoking — a piece laid on the ground made of white juxtaposed pyramids. “[J]ust how dominant the Japanese were in producing thread structures is apparent in the works by Masakazu Kobayashi. “ Billeter has written elsewhere. His woven Waves in dyed threads rank[s] among the most perfect in aesthetic effectiveness ever produced by contemporary weaving….This Japanese way of conjuring up such transparency with threads, of perceiving the thread itself as something creative is highly artistic. They celebrate aesthetic beauty in a way no one can elude.” From “Textile Art and the Avant-garde,” Erika Billeter (Contemporary Textile Art: the Collection of the Pierre Pauli Association, Benteli, Bern / Fondation Toms Pauli, Lausanne, 2000, pp. 52-65.)
Works by Naomi Kobayahsi and Masakazu Kobayashi (who died in 2004) will be included in Influence and Evolution: Fiber Sculpture…then and now at browngrotta arts, Wilton, Connecticut from April 24th through May 3rd. They include a wave work by Masakazu, and two small pyramids by Naomi. These works will be joined by another four dozen works, some by artists prominent in the 60s and 70s and others by artists born in 1960 or after, who have continued experiments in fiber. Influence and Evolution, which opens at 1pm on April 24th. The Artists Reception and Opening is on Saturday April 25th, 1pm to 6pm. The hours for Sunday April 27th through May 3rd are 10am to 5pm. To make an appointment earlier or later, call: 203-834-0623.