Monthly archives: October, 2012

Hot off the Press: Our Largest Catalog Yet

The catalog for Retro/Prospective: 25+ Years of Art Textiles and Sculpture is an ambitious venture for us. Currently weighing in at 182 pages, it features a timeline of art textile events from the 40s to the present, including the Lausanne Biennials (1962 to 1995), Fiber/Revolution in Milwaukee in 1986, Beyond Weaving in Greenwich, Connecticut in 2006, and key dates for fiber pioneers like Dorothy Liebes, Lenore TawneyMagdalena Abakanowicz and Ed Rossbach. The catalog also includes two essays, one by designer Jo Ann Stabb, formerly on the design faculty at the University of California, Davis, on the emergence of contemporary textiles and fiber arts, the other by Lesley Millar, Professor of Textile Culture at the UK’s University of the Creative Arts, on recent developments in the field and what’s ahead. The catalog will be available in our online bookstore at for $55.00, plus shipping and  sales tax where applicable.


Looking Forward/Looking Back: Simone Pheulpin

Simone Pheulpin at work, photo courtesy of Simone Pheulpin

The material I use for my artworks is very simple: raw cotton bands that I still find from the Vosges – my native region in eastern France. This material, I make unrecognizable, modifying its structure and nature by forming a dense and regular stacking of thin folds that retain their shape thanks to pins. My sculptures become organic material, vegetable or animal, and I could not imagine that they now have often travelled around the world!

In the last three years, my sculptures have been exhibited and traveled at an incredible pace, in amazing places full of history such Venetian palaces, mansions in Paris and Brussels, Swiss chalets, or European palaces (such as the Hotel Plaza Athénée in Paris, the Hotel de la Paix in Geneva, the Fairmont Monte Carlo, the Conrad Brussels) and also in unique museums as Villa Empain in Brussels and the Museum of Contemporary Tapestry in Angers, in addition to the United States and Asia, specifically, South Korea and Japan. These worldwide exhibitions have allowed my artworks to join Public and Private Collections for which I am very proud!

Falaise 4 detail by SImone Pheulpin, photo by Tom Grotta

I am also very proud of my intergenerational cooperation with a young and talented artist, Jeremy Gobé, a graduate of Decorative Arts in Paris and winner of the 2011 Bullukian Award. Launched in September 2011, the Bullukian Award assists young artists with contemporary creation. The Award, which includes a scholarship, a workshop opportunity and the production of a catalog, was a resounding success, with more than 160 applications. The jury, chaired by Véronique Ellena, rewarded Jeremy Gobé for his exhibition project monuments hands. The Bullukian Foundation will host an exhibition of the artist in November and December 2012, and Jeremy Gobé will honor me, Simone Pheulpin, in this exhibition!

From the Vosges in France, around the world, my travelling while artworks makes me happy!

Simone Pheulpin
September 2012

Make a Day of It! Visit Retro/Prospective and Other Art Events Near Wilton, CT

If you plan to come to Wilton, Connecticut between October 26th and November 4th for browngrotta arts anniversary exhibition, Retro/Prospective: 25+ Years of Art Textiles and Sculpture, consider adding a stop at one of the other cultural venues in our area on your trip. There are several exhibitions to choose from — all within 30 minutes of browngrotta arts:

Flinn Gallery
Greenwich Library
9 x 9 x 3: New Visions
101 West Putnam Avenue
Greenwich, CT 06830
through November 28, 2012

Katherine D. Crone, Blades of Grass, Wood, Usuyou Gampish, nylon monofilament Digitally altered photograph, inkjet printed, bookbinding stitched

9 x 9 x 3: New Visions is an exhibition of works created by members of the Textile Study Group of New York to fit inside wooden boxes with 9” x 9” x 3” exterior dimensions. Juror for the exhibition was Janet Koplos, who is a contributing editor of Art in America, where she was senior editor for 18 years. Among the artists included in the exhibition are: Katherine D. Crone, Margaret Cusack, Jeanne Heifetz, Nancy Koenigsberg, Carole P. Kunstadt, Yasuko Okumura, Gail Resen, Lois Russell, Barbara Schulman, Naomi Tarantal, Charlotte Thorp, K. Velis Turan, Saaraliisa Ylital and Erma Martin Yost. The Gallery hours are: Sunday 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm; Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm and Thursday 10:00 am – 8:00 pm.

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

Wendell Castle
Wandering Forms— Works from 1959–1979
258 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT 06877
through February 20, 2013

Wendell Castle birdsyeye Maple Veneer and Mahogany Table, private Collection
photo by Tom Grotta

Celebrated American designer/craftsman Wendell Castle (b. 1932) has been creating unique pieces of handmade sculpture and furniture for over five decades. Castle, who has consistently challenged the traditional boundaries of functional design since the outset of his career, was instrumental in helping to shape the American studio furniture movement throughout the 1960s and 1970s. He remains one of the most important American furniture makers working today.”To be inventive and playful and produce furniture which is a complement to nature, rather than in contrast to it is my philosophy,” Castle wrote in the catalog for the exhibition, Fantasy Furniture, held at the Museum of Contemporary Crafts, New York, New York in 1966.”My idea is not to reconstruct or stylize natural forms, but to produce a synthesis or metamorphosis of natural forms.” The Aldrich Museum hours are: Tuesday to Sunday, 12 noon to 5 pm.

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
united states
Artist’s Projects
through February 24, 2013

united states is a semester of solo exhibitions and artist’s projects that approach both the nature of the United States as a country and “united states” as the notion of uniting separate forms, entities, or conditions of being. Timed to coincide with the 2012 American election season, united states is presented at a time when political and social divisions in this country are readily apparent, and polarization on many major issues is at an historical high. The Aldrich Museum hours are: Tuesday to Sunday, 12 noon to 5 pm.

The Wilton Historical Society
Building a Future From the Past: Architecture
224 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT 06897
through October 31, 2012

Architect David Ling holding, model of the browngrotta barn from the building a Future From the Past: Architecture exhibit ion. Photo by TomGrotta

This exhibition explores architects’ work to preserve antique homes while bringing them into the 21st Century. Among the homes included is browngrotta arts‘ home/office, designed by David Ling Architect, New York, New York. The Society’s hours are: Tuesday through Friday: 10 am to 4 pm; Saturday: 1 to 4 pm; 2nd & 4th Sundays of the month 1 to 4 pm.

browngrotta arts
Retro/Prospective: 25+ Years of Art Textiles and Sculpture
276 Ridgefield Road
Wilton, CT 06897
October 26 through November 4, 2012

Ray Series, Mary Merkel-Hess, paper, reed, 24″ x 24″ x 6″ each, 2012, photo by Tom Grotta

This exhibition features work by more than 70 artists, some are pioneers, some mid career and some new to the field of art textiles, while others work in wood and metal, porcelain, glass and clay. Artists’ reception and Opening: October 27th, 1 to 5 pm;’ hours October 26th and October 28th- November 4th: 10 am to 5 pm.

Looking Forward/Looking Back: Anda Klancic on the 2011 Miniartextil


Aura, 2006 artwork and photo by Anda Klancic

In 2011, Artist Anda Klancic  participated in the exhibition Energheia Miniartextil presenting the work Aura F & M in the former church of San Francesco in Como, Italy. The exhibition traveled to Milan, Venice and Montrouge in the suburbs of Paris. The excerpt below is from an interview with Olga Damiani in Arte & Arte, May 2012,, translated with the help of the artist, Google and browngrotta arts:

Growth, 2002 by Anda Klancic, photo by Tom Grotta

“It seems to me that in contemporary art, which rightly includes textile art, the value should be appreciated by the innovative content of the work, not by conformity with measures required and antiquated techniques. Miniartextil has the great merit of being able to pass these strict limits….I used optical fiber and fiber from the bark of palm for Aura F & M, but the research of artificial equipment and plant material, necessary for the  work, was not my main thought. The choice of suitable materials was conditioned by the demands of expression. With Aura F & M I have chiefly tried to express in form of an objective construction the theme Energheia, that was proposed for this Miniartextil. I wanted to show the vital energy in the human species: the light, connected across from man to the earth and the universe, has the rhythm of breath, feeling of life. By creating this strong expressive content, communications that I consider important for humanity, I thought about various properties and the quality of the work submitted at different levels. At the first level, I inserted the shape and movement of light, as a pleasant, fresh element, one that may fail to attract the viewer’s eye in a social environment where people are bombarded at every turn by visual and audio advertising and information disequilibrium. In the second level, I tried to arouse in the viewer memories of distant experiences and thoughts of wisdom forgotten in quiet, and in doing so to create mnemonic associations in the present. The choice of materials can also be understood as a metaphor: the products are technological, they represent rationality combined with artistic intuition inherent in organic materials, again, used in order to induce subconscious associations. The diversity of rhythms lighting the two bodies, with the sources of halogen light obscured at various points, also contributes to a second level of meaning. It creates a metaphor for everyday life, that man and woman are rarely both in the light at the same moment, opening a window on the primordial difference between the sexes.”

Looking Forward/Looking Back: John Perreault

Anda Klancic, Lenore Tawney, Lewis Knauss
photos by Tom Grotta

“It is, in fact, the haptic, or touchable, nature of fiber art that throws off most art critics: they are only comfortable with the optic, granting tactile values a very low position on the aesthetic totem pole. In fiber art one cannot avoid the haptic and the haptic/optic conflict or, more graciously, the haptic/optic interplay. How fiber art looks is only part of the picture.

Dani Marti, Carolina Yrarrázaval, Sherrie Smith

Thus it is awkward, to say the least, that the English language and most particularly the critical language, is haptic-poor. Poetry can sometimes make amends, but is in itself an extremely specialized discourse, prone to enthusiasm at the expense of illumination. In the past the art critical language has been applied to some rather outrageous art: Earth Art, Anti-Form, Performance, Body Art, Conceptual Art, Patterning and Decoration. From this it may be gathered that any material criterion for art has been dislodged. Futurism and Dada insisted that art could be made of anything. If a pile of dirt, in certain cases, can be art, then why not a pile of fibers? If art can be made on a printing press, then why not on a loom? If art can be made by tossing molten lead against a wall, then why not by knotting threads? If art can quote the great “crafts” traditions, why cannot present day explorations of these materials and techniques be art too?”

Marian Bijlenga, Eva Vargo, Carolina Yeonsoon
photos by tom Grotta

John Perreault
then-Visual Arts Director, The Cultural Center
Staten Island, New York
From “Fiber Art: Gathering the Strands,” Fiber r/evolution, Milwaukee Art Museum, 1986