Monthly archives: April, 2012

Art News: Paperworks: material as medium — Takaaki Tanaka

Visitors to Paperworks: medium as message at the Flinn Gallery, at the Greenwich Public Library (May 10th – June 21st) will see Takaaki Tanaka’s show-stopping work, A Hardened Nest, at the entrance to the exhibition. A Hardened Nest was created by arranging threads tightly in space and then covering these threads with a paper fiber mixture which, once dried, hold its given shape in space. Combining prepared units, the artist has built a substantial wall of what he refers to as “nests,” which, he notes, are a fundamental starting point for many species of animal life. “I am interested in the way that fiber made from paper, a material harvested from plants, can take on a completely different aspect when it hardens to form a new shape inspired by the natural world,” says Tanaka. “The shapes become emotional shapes,” he says, that illustrate themes of nature, sense of touch and communication.” Tanaka’s work was featured in the exhibition and catalog for Fiber Futures: Japan’s Textile Pioneers at the Japan Society in New York 2011.

Exhibition News: Paperworks: material as medium opens in Greenwich on May 10th

UNTITLED, Naomi Kobayashi, kayori thread, paper, 99″ x 54″ x 5″, 2006, photo by Tom Grotta, courtesy of browngrotta arts

Paper holds a powerful place in the history of human interaction, marking our milestones with birth certificates, marriage licenses and diplomas, maintaining our collective Paperworks: material as medium at the Flinn Gallery at the Greenwich Public Library, Greenwich, Connecticut from May 10th through June 21st, curated by Kelly Eberly and Barbara Richards and browngrotta arts, celebrates paper in another guise – as a medium for art.

The work of more than 30 international artists inspired by and created from paper is featured in Paperworks. In them, paper has been stitched and plaited, carved and stacked, used as pulp to be molded and reformed, while newspapers, telephone books and dress patterns have been repurposed as vessels and sculpture. The  artists in Paperworks treat varieties of paper their material as others would wood, linen, clay or marble.

OVER EASY, Dona Anderson, paper armature covered with pattern paper as surface design. Frame (cover) is rounds reeds strengthened with pattern paper, polymer and black paint 10″ x 14″ x 14″ , 2011. photo by Tom Grotta, courtesy of browngrotta arts

Several of the artists in Paperworks create structures of recycled papers. Wendy Wahl of the US uses pages of old encyclopedias to create an arbor of arches while Kazue Honma of Japan creates vessels from Japanese telephone books and Japanese artist Toshio Sekiji weaves wallworks newspapers from around the world. The exhibition includes constructions by the late US artist Ed Rossbach made of cardboard and newpaper and vessels made of dress pattern paper by US artist Dona Anderson.

34ts COUNTERPOINT 8, Toshio Sekiji, Korean newspapers; black urushi lacquer 28″ x 25″ x 4″, 2009, photo by Tom Grotta, courtesy of browngrotta arts

For Jane Balsgaard of Denmark, Naomi Kobayashi of Japan and Pat Campbell and Mary Merkel-Hess of the US, handmade and gampi paper create semi-translucent, ethereal objects that seem capable of floating. In Balsgaard’s case, the paper she uses is made from materials gathered near her summer home in Sweden. Mary Merkel-Hess uses gampi paper, papier-maiche and reed to create baskets, softly lit sculptures and wall works. Other artists, including Sylvia Seventy from the US, use molded paper pulp to create art, including in Seventy’s case, molded paper bowls populated with found and other objects.

brazilian palm, banana leaves, morbærbark paper, 11″ x 24″ x 9.5″, 2010, photo by Tom Grotta, courtesy of browngrotta arts

In conjunction with Paperworks: material as medium there will be a Curator’s Walkthrough on May 12th at 2 p.m. and an Artist’s Talk by artist Wendy Wahl on June 10th at 2 p.m. The Flinn Gallery is in the Greenwich Library, 101 West Putnam Avenue, Greenwich, CT 06830. An opening reception will be held May 10th from 6-8. For more information call: 203.622.7947.

Upcoming: Events at SOFA New York this Week

Lectures, artist booth visits and more.  This week’s events include:

Sue Lawty, John McQueen and Norma Mnkowitz

April 19th

Opening – SOFA NY

VIP Cardholders Preview       5:00 – 9:00 pm       Invitation Only
Public Preview Gala*               7:00 – 9:00 pm       $100.00
* Available online in advance and at the door beginning at 5:30 pm
Park Avenue Armory
browngrotta arts: 25 at 25 at SOFA NY
browngrotta arts booth 208

April 20th

1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Artist booth visit
John McQueen
browngrotta arts booth 208

Detail of BODY LANGUAGE, by John McQueen

Meet with fiber artist and basketmaker John McQueen.
McQueen is one of 25 artists highlighted this year by
browngrotta arts.
2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Sue Lawty – rock-linen-lead
browngrotta arts booth 208

Sue Lawty working on a stone drawing

Lawty charts the journey of her understated and abstract works which are strongly influenced by a comprehensive engagement with remote landscape, geology and the passage of time. Seeking “an essential stillness,” Lawty’s constructed pieces and drawings in two and three dimensions explore repetition and interval in raffia, hemp, linen, lead, stone or shadow. 
4 p.m. to 5 p.m. 
Sue Lawty
browngrotta arts booth 208
Fiber and mixed media artist Sue Lawty will sign copies of her book, SUE LAWTY: rock-raphia-linen-lead.

April 21st
1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Artist booth visit Norma Minkowitz

browngrotta arts booth 208

Detail of Remembrance by Norma Minkowitz

Meet with fiber and mixed media artist Norma Minkowitz.
Minkowitz is one of 25 artists highlighted this year by
browngrotta arts.

25 at 25 at SOFA NY Countdown: Carolina Yrarrazaval

Silk, Carolina Yrarrazaval, Photo by Tom Grotta


Chilean artist Carolina Yrarrázaval is one of the 25 artists whose work browngrotta arts will feature at SOFA NY. Throughout her career, Yrarrázaval has investigated and adapted traditional textile techniques from diverse cultures, especially Pre-Columbian techniques.
indigo wall sculpture

Matrix II-201011 by Chang Yeonsoon, indigo dyed abaca fiber26.75” x 26.5 “x 10”, 2010

“Abstraction has always been present as an aesthetic aim,” she says, “informing my choice of materials, forms, textures and colors.” She works with simple proportions, guided by an intuitive sense and avoiding the use of mathematical formulas. This simplification and freedom from conceptual constraints combine says the artist, “to reveal a language that conjures up other impressions, such as emptiness and the need for austerity and sensuality, silence and aloneness.”Yrazzával’s work has ben exhibited in the National Museum of Fine Arts, Santiago Chile; Interamerican Bank Gallery, Washington, D.C.; Pre-Columbian Arts Museum, Santiago, Chile; Le Recoleta Cultural Center, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Central Museum of Textiles, Lodz, Poland (International Triennial of Tapestry); Graz, Austria (International Textile Symposium); Goethe Institute, Santiago, Chile; Montevideo, Uruguay (Latin American Mini-Textile Exhibition); Valparaiso, Chile (Concurso de Arte Joven); Havana, Cuba (IIIrd Havana Biennial) and the Chilean Consulate Gallery, New York, New York.

25 at 25 at SOFA NY Countdown: Masako Yoshida

Kuu #441 Masako Yoshida (detail), photo by Tom Grotta

Sculptures of bark by Masako Yoshida are among the works that browngrotta arts will feature at SOFA NY. The constructions Yoshida envisions are built by interlacing sheets of walnut bark with string made of nettle. “I consider myself a member of society who wants to make works that open into the new world earnestly, one step at a time,”  Yoshida finds that her work provides her “a means of release, allowing the truth to emerge and open the mind. In the process, I ask myself, ‘what is my connection to society?'” Yoshida has studied basketmaking with noted teacher and artist, Hisako Sekijima.

11my Kuu#441, Masako Yoshida;, walnut and maple, 20.5″€ x 12″€ x 4.25″€, 2007-2010, photo by Tom Grotta

She graduated from Musashino Art University, majoring in textiles and has since worked there as instructor. She has also taught at Tamagawa Institute. Her work has been exhibited at the Nagoya Trade and Industry Center (In Our Hands) Japan; Iwasaki Museum of Art, Yokohama, Japan; Megro City Museum, Japan; Takashimaya Department Store (Amu Kumu solo exhibition); Tachikawa, Japan; Nuno Annex Exhibition (solo, traveling exhibition); Wayne Art Center, Pennsylvania (Green for the Get Go).


25 at 25 at SOFA NY Countdown: Chang Yeonsoon

Matrix II-201011 Detail, Chang Yeonsoon, photo by Tom Grotta


“Encountering the real self through meditation is at the core of my work,” explains Korean artist Chang Yeonsoon. Yeonsoon is one of the artists that browngrotta arts will feature at SOFA New York. She was Artist of the Year at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul in 2009. Four works from Yeonsoon’s Matrix series will be displayed at SOFA. The works in the series “derive from the oriental perspective that observes the human mind and body as unified. These fiber artworks  represent my own Korean formative language. In them, I minimize my body while my mind fills with abstract ideas. To transform the abstract idea into a three-dimensional structure requires a 12-step process that includes starching, ironing, cutting and sewing sparsely woven abaca fiber after dyeing it with indigo. The process of production involves an extreme level of concentration and a training of mind and body. As the work emerges, I feel myself being purified as I become one with the abaca fiber.”

Matrix Series by Chang Yeonsoon, photo by Tom Grotta

Yeonsoon’s work has been exhibited extensively in Asia and the US, including at  the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea (artist of the year exhibition); Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois; Insa Art Center, Seoul, Korea; Dowaru Gallery, Fukuoka, Japan; Museum of Ewha Women’s University, Seoul, Korea; Art Center for The Foundation of Korean Culture & Arts, Seoul; Moyer Arts & Crafts Center, Seoul, Korea; Museum of Arts & Crafts, Itami, Japan; Pittsburgh Arts Center, Pennsylvania; Daegu Convention Center, Korea; Honolulu Academy of Arts, Hawaii; Marronnier Art Center, Seoul, Korea; Cheongju Crafts Center, Korea; Korea Economic Daily, Seoul, Korea.

25 at 25 at SOFA NY Countdown: Deborah Valoma

The work


The work of Deborah Valoma, artist and Associate Professor of Textiles and Graduate Fine Arts at the California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco and Oakland, California will be featured in browngrotta arts‘ display at SOFA New York. Valoma has dedicated her artistic and academic career to the medium of textiles—to advancing its historical legacy, cultural meanings, and artistic potential.In 1978, Valoma graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California at Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology. In 1995, she earned a Master of Fine Arts in Textiles with High Distinction from CCA.  Valoma served as CCA’s Director of Fine Art from 2008 to 2011. She will return to the position of  Chair of the Textiles Program at CCA , which she heldfrom 2005 to 2008, this Fall. “Intensely research based,” Valoma says, “my creative work hugs the edges of tradition, simultaneously upholding age-old custom and unraveling long-held stereotypes of the genre.” At SOFA, browngrotta arts will display Femininity, in which Valoma reworks – literally — Sigmund Freud’s observation that women have made few contributions to civilization except as weavers, and that only because of an obsession with their pubic hair. “As I painstakingly wove Sigmund Freud’s infamous quote letter by letter,” Valoma explains, “my hands caressed the words in an ironic, yet fierce, gesture of unwriting.”

27dv FEMiNINITY Deborah Valoma waxed linen, compter aided weave structure, hand woven, stitched 33′ x 2.5″, 2008

Valoma’s work has been exhibited at the Textile Museum, Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art ; De Young Museum of Art, San Francisco, California; Blanden Memorial Art Museum, Iowa; Gulbenkin Foundation, Lisbon, Portugal; Oliver Art Center, California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland; North Carolina State University Museum, Raleigh; Hoffman Gallery, Oregon School of Arts and Crafts, Portland; Ginza Art Space, Tokyo, Japan; and Montclair State University, New Jersey .

25 at 25 at SOFA NY Countdown: Klaus Titze

Klaus Titze, TURNING TORSO, photo by tom Grotta

Klaus Titze is one of the artists whose work will be displayed by browngrotta arts at SOFA NY.  The German artist now makes his  home in Denmark.  “Living on the Danish island of Møn,” he says,  “I am fascinated by the white chalk cliffs falling dramatically towards the Baltic Sea.  Chalk slides expose fossils formed in many kinds of shapes.” Inspired, Titze designs and creates works in a special twisting technique he has developed in which willow is twisted to create thick “ropes.” He then covers the willow with concrete, evoking the illusion of fossils in chalk. The ultimate step in the process is burning the willow to imprint this unique structure into the concrete, which acts as a shell. By firing the willow until it almost disappears, Titze creates structures that highlight sculptural and architectural elements. Concludes Art Aurea online magazine, “The unusual baskets thus created have been deprived of their age-old function, presenting themselves instead as breathtaking, independent works of art….The feminine shape, contrast to the coarse structure.”

2kt Klaus Titze TURNING TORSO willow, burnt fiber cement 29″ x 13.5″ x 13.5″, 2011, photo by Tom Grotta

Titze’s work has appeared at Grønbechs Gard, Bornholm, Denmark (solo exhibition); Roskilde City Hall, Denmark; Grassi Museum Leipzig, Germany; the National Crafts Council, Kilkenny, Ireland; Trapholt Museum, Kolding, Denmark; Landart Lolland-Falster, Denmark; Munich, Germany; Wayne Art Center, Pennsylvania. He received the Best One-of-a-Kind Object, award at the Arts and Crafts Fair, Copenhagen, Denmark and the Bavarian State Prize, Meister der Moderne, Munich, Germany.

25 at 25 at SOFA NY Countdown: Grethe Sørensen

RUSH HOUR SHANGHAI Detail, Grethe Sorensen, photo by Tom Grotta


Grethe Sørensen of Denmark is one of the artists whose work will be featured by browngrotta arts at SOFA NY.  Eighteen large weavings by Sørensen were  the subject of a dramatic installation at the Round Tower in Copenhagen, Denmark earlier this year. The works for the exhibition,  Traces of Light: A Sensory Image of City Light, began with an unfocused camera that created images of a poetic universe based on headlights, traffic lights, shops and advertising signs, Sørensen transformed thse images into Jacquard weavings. The granular colored spots that result,  the artist explains, may be “conceived as a picture of the throbbing life of the city seen on cellular level, or as a visual expression of another dimension.” Works from the Traces of Light series will be featured at SOFA NY.

RUSH HOUR SHANGHAI, Grethe Sorensen, handwoven cotton, 28″ x 38″, 2011, by Tom Grotta

Sørensen’s work has been exhibited in numerous corporate, public and private venues, including the Museum for Applied Art, Copenhagen, Denmark; Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Paris, France; Maison de la Culture d’Arlon, Luxembourg; (Nordic Textile Triennials); South Jutland Museum of Art, Tønder, Denmark; Institute for Industrial Design, Warsaw, Poland; Museum of Art, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Museum of Decorative Arts and Design, Ghent, Belgium; Lane Municipal Gallery, Erfurt, Germany; Museum of Art, Ein Harod, Israel; Nagoya, Japan; North Dakota Museum of Art, Grand Forks; Maison de la Culture d’Arlon, Luxembourg;  Academy of Art & Design, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China and Trondor Engineering in Norway.

25 at 25 at SOFA NY Countdown: Jin-Sook So


At SOFA NY,  browngrotta arts will present the work of Korean artist Jin-Sook So who will attend the exposition in New York. Since 1984, So has been using transparent steel mesh cloth, which she burns, paints, electroplates  in gold or silver, sews and shapes to create sculptural and wall pieces. In creating Steel Mesh Untitled, which will be exhibited at SOFA, So was inspired by Korea’s landscape. She has been an artist-in-residence at the Youngeun Museum outside of Seoul for the last year.

46jss Steel Mesh Untitled Jin-Sook So, steel mesh, gold-leafed and painted acrylic, charcoal, ink colors, electroplated, 17.75″€ x 16.5″€ (each), 2011, photo by Tom Grotta

So’s work has been exhibited extensively in the US and abroad, including at the Röhsska Arts and Crafts Museum, Göteborg, Sweden; Nationalmuseum, Osaka, Japan; Skissernas Museum, Lund Sweden; Brooklyn Museum, New York; National Museum, Stockholm, Sweden; Museum of Arts and Design, New York, New York; Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pennsylvania; Kulturhuset, Stockhom, Sweden; Museé d’Angers, France; Kwang-Ju City Museum, Korea; Lane Municipal Gallery, Erfurt, Germany; Savaria Museum, Szombathely, Hungary; Academy of Arts & Design, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China.