Tag: Wendy Wahl

Some Observations: On Light and Air

Recently I visited the Los Angeles County Museum of Art specifically to spend time immersed in the imagination of James Turrell whose retrospective covers fifty years of work exploring light, sky, perception, color, shape and architecture. http://www.lacma.org/art/exhibition/james-turrell-retrospective.   The meditative quality of this exhibition encourages the viewer to be a considered observer and allow what they see and perceive to be altered by their physical experience with the work.  Ultimately the transformative and ephemeral qualities of light exist in the mind of each person.  The artist gives us the opportunity to bathe our senses in illusion and reflection.

The next day on a non-stop eastbound flight traveling in the morning from Los Angeles to Boston I was seated on the north side of the airplane and could view the magnificent snow covered Rocky Mountains below rising from the earth with the suggestion of a world without grief.

photo by Wendy Wahl

photo by Wendy Wahl

 
In the minutes that followed I found myself focused on the carbon footprint that air travel leaves and thinking about the best way to balance my personal footprint. Knowing for the moment “I am where I am” my gaze returned to the framed light as we swiftly moved above the fruited plains. I watched until somewhere over the Great Lakes the image through the oval-edged window changed into another remarkable illuminated landscape.

photo by Wendy Wahl

photo by Wendy Wahl

As a commercial airline passenger for over four decades I have encountered a wide range of situations and had experiences that touch on almost every imaginable emotion. Each flight has a unique dimension heightened by the sounds, sights, smells and physical proximity of the other passengers in a tightly enclosed space. The curious activity of moving at fast speeds from one environment to another, around and about what has become a very small sphere in a short period of time, stimulates thought about place, perception and the possibility of portals. Having flown on Pan Am, Continental, Delta, American Airlines, United Airlines, Laker Airways, Peoples Express, Southwest, British Airways, Hawaiian Air, TWA, Qantas, Virgin Australia, Aero Mexico, China Air, Alitalia, Air India, Lufthansa, Air France, JetBlue and a number of puddle jumpers – I’m feeling that of all these, Virgin America has created an illusion of a different sort for air travelers through the use of color and light.

VirginAmericaPlane1

Wendy Wahl
March 2014


Guest Blog: Wendy Wahl on Newspapers Then and Now

The following story describes an obsession with a newspaper that some people may take for granted.  Perhaps at one point this desire was heightened because I had been included in the paper’s folds.

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photo by Wendy Wahl

As I took the 106 steps from an east door of my home I focused on the sensation of my feet walking across the recently laid pavers, onto the gravel drive and through a break in the stonewall to the street to see if it had really arrived. I had waited over 20 years for this moment and I savored each stride with anticipation that was punctuated with my own sounds of excitement. Patient hopefulness described my wait to unfold the neatly layered sections to discover what was inside. Though I feared it wouldn’t be there like so many times before and all my expectations would be shattered, I still felt somehow today was different.

For several years I would get in my car and travel the approximate 10 miles roundtrip to Taylor’s Country Store where I had reserved my copy of the paper.  Back then Taylor’s could be described as a charming, dusty, ramshackle, screen-door-hits-you-on-the-way-in-and-out kind of place. The entrance was so close to the two-lane main road that when you pulled up to park in the allotted space you’d be lucky not to hit anything or anyone. Inside the store was something you had to physically experience. There was nothing there I would eat; many of the product expiration dates had been reached and much of the packaged food was unrecognizable. It was one of the few destinations between my house and pretty much anything else heading east towards the University of Rhode Island just beyond the Kingston train station.  The store marked the north end of the Great Swamp. Mom and Pop Taylor were the quintessential shopkeepers who were humorously kind. I would usually run into someone I knew there. Around the same time the Department of Transportation took out the rotaries aka suicide circles on Route 138, Taylor’s closed.  The Alternative Food Co-op moved in which I welcomed having nearby because you could purchase fresh, local fruits and vegetables, eggs and dry foods in bulk.  An Asian Market followed this that brought lemongrass, tamarind and an array of new flavors to my neighborhood; a delicious culinary addition to rural South County but neither carried the newspaper I wanted to wrap up in at least on the weekend.

In 1990 I contacted The New York Times to see if I could get the paper delivered.  I was instructed to fax my order in.  If you remember this was a time when answering machines were being challenged by the immediacy of the fax machine.  I saw it as the thin edge of the personal communications wedge. After getting no results from my requests via this technology I picked up the telephone, not a smart phone or a cordless, but a copper connected landline and made the call to the subscription office to create an account to get the paper delivered to my doorstep. The person on the other end of the phone seemed genuinely helpful to include me in the community of those who wake up to find “all the news that fit to print” within arms length.  The representative took my name, address and credit card information and told me that I should expect to wait 4-6 weeks for my first delivery.  I immediately put the expected date into my day-at-a-glance book and waited with great expectation.  I probably don’t have to tell you that it didn’t arrive and oddly enough they started to send subscriptions advertisements. When I called to find out what happened the explanation was that “currently there isn’t delivery of the Sunday Times in your area.” I was told it could be mailed and I may receive it on Wednesday or Thursday. Seriously?

Geographically Rhode Island isn’t that far away from New York and the whole state is the size of the county of Los Angeles.  Myself a native Angelino, I often think of the avocado and loquat trees that dotted the landscape and how the Santa Monica Mountains terminate at the sea.  My thoughts drift to a time where the scent of citrus from the fruit groves lingered in the air after passing through the San Gabriel valley on a two-hour drive to the snow-covered San Bernardino range.  I still remember the importance of our first RCA color console.  The latest in home technology that aired Walter Cronkite every evening, the Jetsons on Saturday mornings and the Ed Sullivan show on Sunday night but this didn’t change home delivery of several newspapers that were available at the time.  Looking back, it was an era of door-to-door sales of print subscriptions that included magazines, books and in our case the newspaper from the Big Apple.  I mistakenly assumed I could receive The New York Times delivered in New England.  Now I understand that even by Rhode Island driving standards I’m off the beaten track.  In order to get to where I live you have to travel off the main east west artery of the state passing through turf fields, an Audubon preserve bordered by a white pine forest, cross over a one lane bridge, go past a pottery up a winding hill and at the time down an unpaved road to arrive at the last house whose postal address was a rural route and where three town lines intersect in the road in front of the house.  I explained to the representative whom I hoped had a sympathetic ear that it was only two-and-a-half miles off the main road.  The representative told me there just weren’t enough people who wanted delivery in my neck of the woods.  I asked if they would just leave it at the end of the road so I could pick it up there. They stopped sending notices.

A new rhythm developed where I would call the toll-free subscription number every few months to go through the motions of creating an account only to be met with the same results.  After the millennium my efforts dwindled to every six months and then perhaps once a year.  Then suddenly sometime in 2007 they began to send offers again letting me know that delivery was available in my area.  I took the bait each time over and over again.  I was delighted to see my invitation to get home delivery and at an introductory price of 50% off in my mailbox.  I would dutifully fill out the form, repost it and back it up with a call where I would be informed that in fact it would be on its way.  Yes, it’s finally happening – I’d dance about and sing hallelujah!  My husband would look at me with a raised eyebrow “are you going to fall for it again?”  Always hopeful, my response was “indeed.” But as you can guess, it didn’t happen.  To my family I must have seemed so pathetic to continue on this ridiculous ride for years.  Eventually I stopped responding to the solicitations giving up on the prospects of it ever happening.  However, in early April last year I received a notice in the mail from the subscription office that delivery was available.  I thought, what have I got to lose?  I called.

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photo by Webdy Wahl

Admittedly I’d become relatively skeptical but perhaps this was the moment – the time had arrived when I would actually be able to get it delivered.  If this sounds like a promotional ad for The New York Times, perhaps it is.  Drum roll please…last year on a Sunday morning in May I went to my Providence Journal box where I had requested the Times be placed, a logical idea since both papers are now printed and delivered from the same location, to see if it was there and it was!  It would have been enough that it arrived at all but it was Mother’s Day and it had the Travel of the Times magazine – armchair candy.  So pleased to have the newspaper in my hands I began separating the paper by quickly scanning and then for the moment setting aside the front page because it’s too grim to take in the global inequities so early in the day.  The striking contrast of headlines and stories to the needed advertisements to keep it printed is unsettling.  I move on to the SundayReview, my favorite section, where I’m confident I will discover something that will inform my work.  That week I was introduced to Alice E. Kober, the instrumental backstage player in deciphering Linear B, “an unknown language in an unknown script” as described by linguist Margalit Fox author of recently released The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code.  It made me think about lost civilizations.  In that same section was a news analysis titled The Hidden World Under Our Feet.  As a mycophile and tree hugger it caught my eye.  Jim Robbins articulates the idea that “the world’s ocean of soil is one of our largest reservoirs of biodiversity” and that “the complex soil ecosystem is highly evolved and sophisticated”. His new release The Man Who Planted Trees  (different from the book with the same title by Jean Giono, published in 1953 and I suspect inspired by) documents one nurseryman’s quest to clone the biggest trees on the planet in order to save our forests and ecosystem.  I’m feeling gratified for all my efforts.  Then it’s on to each section: Arts and Leisure, Travel, BookReview, SundayBusiness, SundayStyles, SportsSunday, and the Magazine where I’m puzzled, challenged and humbled by Will Shortz.  Unfortunately the New England edition doesn’t have a classified section. Nostalgia wafts in on a zephyr and I can see my father in his plaid wool robe sitting at the kitchen table, the overhead fixture illuminating the plate of peanut butter filled celery troughs and his reflection in the sliding glass door, reading the want ads out of curiosity.  For me some weeks the paper is devoured the day it arrives and is then left lying about the house and studio to be reread and reused.  There is something so comforting about curling up on the sofa or sitting at the round table with a really good newspaper.  I enjoy the feel of it between my fingers, the smell of the ink and that familiar font that I now need magnifiers to read.

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photo by Wendy Wahl

Newspapers have many uses beyond their primary function to communicate information and ideas.  Among these the most intriguing is as a medium for making art.  Picasso immediately comes to mind as appropriator of the material.  In 1909, Fillippo Marinetti coerced Le Figaro to print his controversial manifesto promoting the Futurist movement.  In the 21st century Jim Hodges covered a newspaper from Amman, Jordan in 24k gold.  An exhibition celebrating the relationship between newspapers and the arts titled Shock of the News at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC documents these and many other 20th century artists using newspaper as a medium for the message. Print-Inspired Art: All The News That’s Fit To Paint : NPR .

I embrace the reality of digital access to information at my fingertips like a library on the desktop – when the technology is working.  Recently while scrolling through the TED Talks I came across a presentation by Jacek Utko, a Polish newspaper designer and former architect who is questioning the notion that newspapers can be saved by reconnecting readers through good design and content choices.  Something along the lines of form follows function.  www.ted.com/…/jacek_utko_asks_can_design
Now as I walk back to my house carrying the newspapers each week I feel a sense of relief in finally having The New York Times delivered directly on Sunday.  Unfortunately sometimes this feeling is too quickly followed by the fear that now that I can have it delivered it might go out of print altogether and soon not be physically delivered anywhere.

 Wendy Wahl

February 12, 2014


Upcoming: Guest Posts on arttextstyle

Art, architecture and the environment are upcoming topics for guest bloggers on arttextstyle.com over the next few months.

David Ling, Wend Wahl & Gyöngy Laky, photos by Tom Grotta

David Ling, Wend Wahl & Gyöngy Laky, photos by Tom Grotta

In February, architect  David Ling will write about studying glass at Haystack Mountain School of Craft in Maine a follow up to Hisako Sekijima’s 2013 blog about teaching basketry in the same session. Ling founded David Ling Architects in 1992 after training with Richard Meier, I.M. Pei and Emilio Ambasz. Ling has held teaching positions at Parsons School of Design and University of Nuremburg and has served on design juries at Interiors Magazine, Harvard Graduate School of Design and Columbia University. The essence of Ling’s architecture is the artistic integration of space, form, light and function enriched by materiality. Among his design projects is the home/office of browngrotta arts.

Artist Wendy Wahl will write three posts about art, environment and ideas — the first to appear in mid-February. Wahl‘s work has been exhibited internationally and is in a number of private and public collections including the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, New York and the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design. Her work has been the subject of exhibitions at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, Michigan, the Newport Art Museum, Rhode Island and the Fuller Craft Museum in Massachusetts.

In March, artist Gyöngy Laky’s Process Notes; Red in Art and Life will also appear on arttextstyle. Laky’s sculptural forms have been exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the United States. Internationally, her work has been exhibited in France, Sweden, Italy, Holland, Switzerland, Hungary, Lithuania, Colombia, the Philippines, China, with one-person exhibitions in Spain, Denmark and England. Her outdoor site-specific installations have been exhibited in the US, Canada, England, France, Austria and Bulgaria. From April 26th to May 5, 2014 Laky’s baskets and wall sculpture will be included in Of Two Minds; Artists Who Do More Than One of a Kind.
OF TWO MINDS: Artists who Create More Than One of a Kind
In March, readers will learn about the creative journey Dutch artist, Marian Bijlenga has taken, as she muses on 30 years of work. Bijlenga’s “spatial drawings “of horsehair, paper, thread and fish scales have been exhibited worldwide. Her work is represented in major museum collections including LongHouse Reserve; The Museum of Art & Design; The Craftmuseum, Finland; Musée des Beaux-Arts et de la Dentelle, Calais, France; and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. Bijlenga’s wall works and glass sculpture will be featured this April in Of Two Minds; Artists Who Do More Than One of a Kind at browngrotta arts.


The Year in Books: Art, Life and Learning — Part 1

World Book EncylopediaIt’s been a literary trip back in time for some of browngrotta arts’ artists this year. Every day since February, Wendy Wahl has chosen something at random to read from a well-preserved, slightly earthy smelling set of the 1957 World Book Encyclopaedia. “This pursuit began,” she explains, “when I brought the volumes into the house from the studio to use as a barricade on furniture for my then one-year old Labrador Retriever. It kept her off the sofa but when I wasn’t looking she decided to explore Volumes A and N-O to see how they tasted. Volume M stands out in my memory, the letter of moving water. Included on the glossy pages are mangoes, mathematics, music, Moscow, Mexico, Morocco, molybdenum, money, minerals, medicine, manuscripts, Magna Carta, Mozart, Mendelssohn, monotype, mimeograph, motion pictures, moons, meteors, Mary, Moses, Mohammed, Manet, Monet, Matisse, milk, meat, mushroom, Madison, Marx but no Mandela. It has been revealing to look at these entries through the lens of the editors writing fifty-six years ago; War& PeaceI’m interested in how and what is presented and this 40th edition’s place in the 20th century.” Mary Merkel-Hess spent the entire autumn of this year reading one book – War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. “My husband and I and a few others read it under the tutelage of an enthusiastic, young Russian professor,” she writes, “who served tea cakes and strong coffee during each of our discussions. Yes, it’s a great book and our study quickly led us to consider the history surrounding the book (Napoleonic wars), the complicated and fascinating Tolstoy family (especially the marriage of Leo and Sonya) and the use of the book and characters in other works of art – music and film. There is an American film version of the book starring Audrey Hepburn and a much better Russian film version which runs to 8 hours or so. We and our fellow classmates were captivated and the writing was, of course, superb. We read the new translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. I am not exactly recommending War and Peace, but if you would like to be submersed for awhile, able to ignore the news and unable to engage in topical conversation, I do recommend choosing it or another of the ‘great books’ as a way to take the focus off your regular life. I am now considering TheIdiotDostoyevskiThe Idiot by Dostoyevski (the favorite book of Pope Francis) or Joseph and His Brothers by Thomas Mann, which my daughter gave me a few years ago. Either way, I know I am in for the perfect escape.” Look for more recommendations in our next post.


November 26th: Our Online Exhibition Opens With an Offer for CyberMonday

On Monday, November 26th, browngrotta arts will present an online version of our 25th anniversary exhibition,Retro/Prospective: 25+ Years of Art Textiles and Sculpture at browngrotta.com. The comprehensive exhibition highlights browngrotta arts’ 25 years promoting international contemporary art. Viewers can click on any image in the online exhibition to reach a page with more information about the artists and their work.

“Some works in Retro/Prospective: 25+ Years of Art Textiles and Sculpture reflect the early days of contemporary textile art and sculpture movement,” says Tom Grotta, founder and co-curator at browngrotta arts. “There are also current works by both established and emerging artists, which provide an indication of where the movement is now and where it may be headed.”

Since Monday the 26th is CyberMonday this year, sales of art, books, catalogs, videos or dvds placed online or by telephone that day will be discounted 10% (excluding tax and shipping). In addition, bga will make a donation to the International Child Art Foundation for each sale made from November 24th through December 31, 2012. Visit browngrotta.com. For more information call Tom at 203.834.0623 or email us at art@browngrotta.com.


Art Event: Wendy Wahl Speaks at the Flinn Gallery, Greenwich, Connecticut, Sunday, June 10th

Wendy Wahl works on her installation “Uncovered Grove” at Newport Art Museum. The show will run through February 3, 2008. (photo by Jacqueline Marque)

This Sunday at the Flinn Gallery in Greenwich, at 2 p.m. artist Wendy Wahl will speak about her works of recycled encyclopedias and industrial paper. Wahl is one of 31 artists whose work is included in Paperworks: material as medium at the Flinn, curated by Kelly Eberly, Barbara Richards and Rhonda Brown and Tom Grotta of browngrotta arts in Wilton, Connecticut.

26ww SEEDS(of knowledge) WB vol.18/19 Wendy Wahl World Book encyclopedia pages on inked panel 21.25″ x 34.25″ x 1.625″, 2011

“I love the materiality of books,” says Wahl. Her “branches” of encyclopedia pages reference a medium in transition. Wahl began working with encyclopedias in 2005, though she had created works of industrial paper before that. Her works of repurposed encyclopedias address a set of ideas including accessibility and accumulation, synthesis and sustainability. Installations from this series have appeared at the Newport Art Museum and the Bristol Art Museum in Rhode Island and the Fuller Craft Museum of Art in Brockton, Massachusetts.

FlinnGallery installation of Paperworks: material as medium

“Digital media has led such artists as Wendy Wahl to re-evaluate the potency of the printed word,” Akiko Busch wrote in an essay in the catalog The 10th Wave III, “Wahl finds different ways to reconfigure the pages of the Encyclopedia Britannica; the leaves may be stacked into forms that suggest an alternative forest of knowledge or tightly scrolled and packed within a frame, making for a composition that suggests a cabinet of hidden knowledge, those archives of information that are at once visible and concealed, at hand and remote.”

26ww Seeds(of knowledge) WB vol.18/19, Wendy Wahl, World Book encyclopedia pages on inked panel, 21.25” x 34.25” x 1.625”, 2011, photo by Tom Grotta

Wahl ‘s work can be found in the permanent collection of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum (New York, NY) and the American Embassy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan (through the Art in Embassies Program). She has exhibited throughout the world at venues such as the Contemporary Jewish Museum (San Francisco, CA), the Newport Art Museum (Newport, RI), the University of Wollongong (Australia), and the International Textile Convention (Kyoto, Japan). Her work is regularly reviewed on the Encyclopedia Britannica Blog.

PAPERWORKS Installation at the Flinn gallery

The Flinn Gallery is open daily from 10 – 5 pm on Monday – Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; 10-8 on Thursday and 1-5 on Sundays. The Gallery is sponsored by the Friends of the Greenwich Library. It is located on the second floor of the Greenwich Library at 101 West Putnam Avenue, Greenwich, CT 06830. For more information contact the Gallery, 203-622-7947; email: curator@flinngallery.com or browngrotta arts, 203-834-0623; email: art@browngrotta.com.


Books Make Great Gifts 2011: Artist Recommendations

This year we asked the artists we represent just one question:

What was the most enjoyed/most inspirational book you read this year?? Here are their wide-ranging replies:

Nancy Moore Bess and her friend, artist Sharon McCartney share studios with for occasional “play dates” that involve hours of restorative art chat, small handwork and book sharing. It was Sharon, Nancy says. who introduced me to the exhibition catalogue, El Anatsui at the Clark (Clark Art Institute). “I had seen ads for his work,” adds Nancy, “but the catalog was more than glorious photographs – it placed his current work in the larger context of his entire career/life. Known now for his monumental ‘fabrics’ with metals and Nigerian liquor bottle caps, his earlier work with wood, found metals, steel sheets, etc. was equally exciting for me. I love rust! I was extremely sorry to have missed the exhibition which was installed in the Stone Hill Center at the Clark Museum, but delighted to have access to the book.

Sharon loved a book that Nancy owned, Boro, by Amy Sylvester Katoh, who lives and works at the Blue & White shop in Tokyo. When she tried to order it, she found a different book that Nancy recommends,  Boro: Rags and Tatters from the Far North of Japan by Yukiko Koide and Kyoichi Tsuzuki (Aspect). Both books illustrate the traditional practice of reusing rags and stitching them into clothing and household textiles. Amy’s book concentrates on mostly indigo fabrics which she collects. Both books include impressive photographs with the closeup images really illustrating how the fabrics are used. “Sharon and I both do a great deal of top stitching,” Nancy says, “she on her fabric constructions (she is the queen of French knots!) and I on my experimental paper work. The variety of garments in her book and the variety of fabrics really inspires me to get to the book store!!”

“I have one great book to add,” writes Gyöngy Laky, “though only peripherally art related:
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, illustrated by Ellen Forney (Little, Brown; National Book Award) . This is a semi-autobiographical novel by award-winning author, poet and film-maker, Sherman Alexie.  Alexie has been named one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists and has been lauded by The Boston Globe as “an important voice in American literature.” He is one of the most well-known and beloved literary writers of his generation, with works such as Reservation Blues and War Dances. He also wrote the screenplay for the film, Smoke Signals, based on a short story from his book, Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.   In his novel, Alexie tells the heartbreaking, hilarious, and beautifully written story of a young Native American teen, Arnold, as he attempts to break free from the life he was destined to live.  Arnold’s drawings illustrate the book.”

Kate Hunt’s suggestion was a CD, rather than a book, Souvenirs, featuring opera star Anna Netrebko. The Independent says she is, “in a word, sensational . . . Netrebko’s strength is not just in the mobility of her voice and the razzle-dazzle of her upper register’s big-money notes – no, it’s the fullness and beauty of the middle voice that singles her out . . . properly overwhelming. For once, fullness of heart is truly matched in fullness of sound.”

Mutsumi Iwasaki enjoyed,「朝鮮陶磁図録」(tyousen toji zuroku), a book on ancient Korean pottery that accompanied last year’s exhibition of Korean Ceramics – 50 Years After the Death of Muneyoshi Yanagi at the Japan Folk Crafts Museum in Tokyo.

Lawrence LaBianca recommends The Last Place on Earth by Roland Huntford (Modern Library) and Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific by Raft (Simon & Schuster) by Thor Heyerdahl. Both are true accounts of heroism and determination and creative reasoning used to reach historic goals in exploration — Huntford in the South Pole and Heyerdahl in the South Seas..

Sue Lawty, wrote to us about Edward R. Tufte’s Envisioning Information (Graphics Press), a book I bought for Tom a few years ago.  Sue bought the book, which covers wide-ranging systems, patterns or logic for presenting information from mathematics to maps, a couple of weeks ago in London as a present for her nephew, but now she wants a copy of her own. “It stimulates thinking,” writes Sue.  “For example, in the micro/macro design of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, artist Maya Ying Lin had the vision of ordering names chronologically (resolutely resisting pressure for a more pedestrian telephone directory-type listing) thus, within the overwhelming density of 58,000 named dead, the unique loss of each individual is retained. I know I need this book on my shelves to dip into at sly moments and be informed by.”

“I read a good book called The Craftsman by Richard Sennett (Yale University Press),” Mary Merkel-Hess  wrote. “It is a broad-ranging analysis of what it means to do good work. His definition of a craftsman extends beyond those who work with their hands to include everyone who wants to do a job well. So many references to literature, sociology, society — it was fascinating.” Mary also enjoyed Architecture of Silence: Cistercian Abbeys of France, photographs by David Heald which contains marvelous photos of stone buildings and their simple but inspiring interiors and the catalog from Stimulus: art and its inception (browngrotta arts). “[S]peaking of inspiring, thanks for the Stimulus catalog! It’s great!”

For Lija Rage, her most-enjoyed book this year was Haroun and the Sea of Stories (Penguin), the first work by Salman Rushdie after The Satanic Verses (Random House Trade Paperbacks). She’s also been reading about Chinese culture in preparation for her next exhibition.

“The most important book this year is for me,” writes Heidrun Schimmel, “is the catalog of the Venice Biennial, 54.Esposizione Internazionale d´Arte Illuminations. I visited most of the exhibitions in Venice for three days and of course there are many ‘pros’ and ‘cons.’ But this year the catalog is very good and there is an English edition, The Venice Biennale. 12th International Architecture Exhibition. People meet in architecture (Marsilio Editions). In Munich now you can see two wonderful exhibitions with works of Ellsworth Kelly. In Pinakothek der Moderne you see 60 drawings of plants (through January 8th) http://www.pinakothek.de/en/kalender/2011-10-07/14412/ellsworth-kelly-plant-drawings. And the catalog is an inspirational artwork for itself! But there is only a German edition.”

Karyl Sisson reports that, “Sometimes I just need to laugh.  Tina Fey’s Bossypants (Reagan Arthur Books) did it for me.”

Wendy Wahl, writes that, “It is with pleasure I sing the praises for a book that is pure joy to consume in a vicarious living sort of way. Rosamond Bernier has written Some of My Lives, A Scrapbook Memoir (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). The author’s voice comes alive as she tells the stories of her amazing life’s experiences with leading personalities of the 20th century in the world of art and music. She has lead such a vivid and unique life; the book is fabulous armchair travel.” (Full disclosure: my day job is with this publisher’s parent.)

Sensual Relations by David Howes (University of Michigan) is Deborah Valoma’s recommendation.

Randy Walker  found Portraits of the Mind: Visualizing the Brain from Antiquity to the 21st Century by Carl Schoonover (Abrams) to be inspirational. His wife bought the book for her sister, who is a Doctoral student in Psychology, but when Randy saw the images in the book, he nabbed it and his wife had to buy another one for her sister.

Lena McGrath Welker loved Jane Urquhart’s  Sanctuary Line (MacAdam/Cage Publishers).


Quiz: Sleight of Hand: Can You Identify these Remastered Materials?

Sleight of Hand, currently on exhibit at the Denver Art Museum, celebrates artists, including Lia Cook and Norma Minkowitz, who create works of art that challenge viewers’ perception, through their innovative use of materials and textile techniques. There are a several other artists represented by browngrotta arts who do the same. Inspired by the concept, we created a quiz.  See if what you can guess about the materials and methods used to create the works in these images. The short answers appear at the end. You can click on each answer to see a larger version on our website (but not until you’ve made a guess!).

Ed Rossbach, Axel Russmeyer, Sue Lawty, Adela Akers, Karyl Sisson, Kazue Honma, Tomiko Kawata, Kate Hunt, Dani Marti, Merja Winqvist, Heidrun Schimmel, Wendy Wahl, Toshio Sekiji, Simone Pheulpin, Heidrun Schimmel

 

Answer Key:
a) Ed Rossbach – plastic tubing
b) Axel Russmeyer – bobbins with thread
c) Sue Lawty – woven lead
d) Adela Akers – linen, horsehair, paint and metal wine foil
e) Karyl Sisson – cloth measuring tapes
f) Kazue Honma – Japanese strapping tape, tannin
g) Tamiko Kawata – safety pins on canvas
h) Deborah Valoma – woven copper
i) Dani Marti – marine rope — polypropylene and nylon
j) Merja Winqvist – florist paper
k) Kate Hunt – newspaper, gold leaf, burnt plaster
l) Wendy Wahl – industrial paper and yarn
m) Toshio Sekiji – newspapers from Japan. China and Korea
n) Simone Pheulpin – folded cotton
o) Heidrun Schimmel – heavily stitched cotton, large sewing needle

 


Sneak Peek: Wendy Wahl’s branches at SOFA New York 2010

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Next month, Rhode Island-based artist Wendy Wahl will exhibit branches, an imposing interactive sculpture constructed from discarded and deconstructed Encyclopedia Britannicas inside the Park Avenue Armory in New York for the Sculpture, Objects and Functional Art (SOFA) exposition. From April 15th through the 19th, branches will flank SOFA’s entrance inside the Armory and stand approximately nine-feet high, six-feet deep, and eleven-feet wide. Viewers will be encouraged to move through the sculpture, whose form and materials will serve as a contemporary reflection on the ancient idea of the Tree of Knowledge, “We are thrilled to have Wahl frame this year’s edition of SOFA New York with her provocative work that will doubtlessly energize veterans and newcomers alike,” added Mark Lyman, President, The Art Fair Company and Founder/Director of SOFA.

“I love the materiality of books,” explains Wahl, “and branches is a tribute of sorts to a medium in transition. It’s a wonderful opportunity to continue my exploration at SOFA in New York City—the center of the rapidly changing publishing industry. I want the fair’s audience to think about how they get their knowledge and to question their relationships to the natural world. What are the connections between nature and language? How does the existence of a multitude of new ways to communicate alter our understanding of meaning and significance?” The installation will continue a series that Wahl began in 2005, which addresses a set of ideas including accessibility and accumulation, synthesis and sustainability. Previous installations in the series have appeared at the Newport Art Museum and the Bristol Art Museum in Rhode Island and the Fuller Craft Museum of Art in Brockton, Massachusetts.

“Digital media has led such artists as Wendy Wahl to re-evaluate the potency of the printed word,” Akiko Busch wrote last fall in an essay in the catalog The 10th Wave III, “Wahl finds different ways to reconfigure the pages of the Encyclopedia Britannica; the leaves may be stacked into forms that suggest an alternative forest of knowledge or tightly scrolled and packed within a frame, making for a composition that suggests a cabinet of hidden knowledge, those archives of information that are at once visible and concealed, at hand and remote.”

Wahl’s work is represented by browngrotta arts of Wilton, Connecticut. The gallery will feature other examples of Wahl’s work in its SOFA New York 2010 installation in booth 204. Wendy Wahl ‘s work can be found in the permanent collection of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum (New York, NY) and the American Embassy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan (through the Art in Embassies Program). She has exhibited throughout the world at venues such as the Contemporary Jewish Museum (San Francisco, CA), the Newport Art Museum (Newport, RI), the University of Wollongong (Australia), and the International Textile Convention (Kyoto, Japan).

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SOFA NY, Art Installation, Wendy Wahl, Encyclopedia Britannica


Sneak Peek: Artpalmbeach, January 14th -19th

Palm-Beach-Ad.jpgWe’re leaving the ice and snow (sigh) for sunnier climes next week, where browngrotta arts will join more than 50 other galleries exhibiting at the Palm Beach County Convention Center at Artpalmbeach, art + photography + design. The fair opens on January 15th and lasts through the 19th. A theme of this year’s Artpalmbeach,  art + photography + design is “going global.” As always, browngrotta arts will do its part; we are exhibiting the work of artists from 15 countries. Our installation in Booth 204 will include some of the highlights of this fall’s 10th Wave III exhibitions as well as new works by several artists including a significant wall sculpture by Ritzi Jacobi; pieces made of fish scales by Marian Bijlenga and new works of repurposed encyclopedias by Wendy Wahl. We’ll present the work of two artists in Palm Beach for the first time: We’ll present the work of two artists in Palm Beach for the first time: Jennifer Falck Linssen of the US and Carolina Yrarrázaval of Chile. US Artist Norma Minkowitz will be at the booth on Monday, January 18th from 2-4 p.m. to discuss her work; Dawn MacNutt of Nova Scotia will be at the booth to discuss her work on Tuesday, January 19th, from 2-4 p.m.