Monthly archives: June, 2022

Hot Off the Presses! Gyöngy Laky: Screwing With Order Now Available

Rib Structure, 1988 and her book Gyöngy Laky: Screwing With Order, Assembled Art, actions and creative practice. Photo by Tom Grotta.

We are thrilled to report that copies browngrotta arts’ latest book, Gyöngy Laky: Screwing With Order, Assembled Art, actions and creative practicehave arrived in the US from our publishing partner arnoldsche art publishers in Stuttgart, Germany. Order a copy on our website: http://browngrotta.com. Designed by Tom Grotta, with text edit assistance from Laky and Rhonda Brown, and featuring Tom’s photography and that of several other photographers, the book examines the career of renowned textile artist and sculptor Gyöngy Laky from three perspectives. First, is Laky’s personal story of immigration and education narrated by arts and culture writer, Mija Reidel. Second, is an assessment of the evolution and impetus for Laky’s artwork by David M. Roth, editor and publisher of Squarecylinder, a San Francisco Bay Area online visual art magazine. Third, are images of forms, vessels and wall works, 249 pages, divided into seven sections: Drawings in Air, Grids, Vessels, Words & Letters, Signs & Symbols, Site Installations, and Abstractions.

Sun Stream, 1995 and Flat Figure, 1992

Laky has been described as a “wood whisperer.” Her highly individual, puzzle-like assemblages of timber and textiles helped propel the growth of the contemporary fiber-arts movement. Laky’s art reflects an extraordinary personal story: Born amid the bombings of World War II, escaping from post-war, Soviet-dominated Hungary to a sponsor family in Ohio, attending grade school in Oklahoma, studying at the University of California, Berkeley and in India, then founding Fiberworks Center for Textile Arts in the 1970s and fostering innovations as a professor at the University of California, Davis. And, since the late 60s, she has been creating individual works and installations in the US and abroad. 

Line, 1992 and Oll Korrect, 1998

Laky’s oeuvre, which reflects those experiences, “defies easy classification,” writes David M. Roth. “It draws on the history of indigenous people using found or harvested objects to create art and basic necessities; the 20th-century tradition of using found objects in collage,assemblage and sculpture; and the design and engineering principles that undergird contemporary architecture.“ Symbols and three-dimensional words feature in much of Laky’s work — using wood in this way, Roth posits, is akin to learning a foreign language, and Laky is conversant in more than a dozen,”becoming conversant in the dialects ‘spoken’ by each species.” Pieces like Line have been described as “cheeky.” Letters in works like Lag can be read in more than one way — in this case, as “Gal,” a statement on the hiring of women faculty at the University of California. “[It’s] an intellectual kind of play,” says Bruce Pepich, executive director and curator of collections at the Racine Art Museum, in Wisconsin.”It’s not a conventional sense of humor, but it’s the kind one gets from walking into various layers that exist in objects …You can take them at face value, but the more questions you ask, the deeper your engagement goes.” You can engage with more of Laky’s story and her art in Screwing with Order. The book provides insight into Laky’s studio practice, activism, and teaching philosophy, which champions sustainable art and design, original thinking, and the value of the unexpected.

Detail: Natura Facit Saltum, 2011 . Photo by Tom Grotta.

Material Matters: Horsehair

The works of art in our last exhibition, Crowdsourcing the Collective: a survey of textile and mixed media art utilized a abundance of unusual materials — hog gut, kibiso silk, seaweed and agave among them. Over the next several months, we’ll take a closer look at less-than-common materials and the artists who use them. This week: horsehair.

Marian Bijlenga, 33mb Korean Bojagi, horsehair and fabric , 22″ x 20″, 2017. photo by Tom Grotta

In the early 1990s, Dutch artist Marian Bijlenga’s drawing tool narrowed to a single material: horsehair. (Jessica Hemmings, Embroidery magazine, March/April 2008, pp. 22-27). The fiber provides Bijlenga the necessary strength and flexibility to construct embroidered compositions of lines and dots. Bijlenga uses textiles in her work, but textile application is not her real interest. She secures the horsehair in her works with embroidery, but she has said “for me it is not real embroidery. Sometimes my work is in an embroidery exhibition, but it could also be in a sculpture exhibition. For me it is not so important.” 

Marian Bijlenga working with horsehair

Bijlenga studied textile design but for her, weaving was too slow. “It takes a lot of time before you could start,” she says, “and I did not like the technique. I was looking for a more direct way of working.” Bijlenga took the threads held by the loom and began instead to make drawings, stiffening the fiber by dipping it in glue. ” I work with thread, fabric and horsehair, fishscales and parchment, materials which are soft, light, flexible and open to endless development.”

Marianne Kemp weaving horsehair. Photo by Tom Grotta

Marianne Kemp has developed a unique specialty in weaving with horsehair. She uses techniques that she has developed which enable her to mold, knot, curl, and loop the material — which she interweaves with linen, cotton, silk, or wool — in unconventional ways. “Through the different properties and qualities like texture, color, and the shining of horsehair, the end result can be shiny and smooth – organic and wild – flexible and stiff,” wrote Sam at TextileArtist.Org (https://www.textileartist.org/ marianne-kemp-horsehair-weaving/).

2mk Red Fody, Marianne Kemp, cotton, horsehair, acrylic, 56” x 19” x 8”, 2013. Photos by Tom Grotta

Some of her works are meditative in their repeat of patterns, others boisterous in their choice of bright colors. In 2001, Kemp created a small collection of designs based on her hand weavings with John Boyd Textiles, professional weavers of horsehair in the UK. She was excited to discover that it was possible to weave her design mechanically. Kemp spent three-and-a-half years in London, then traveled to Cape Town South Africa. With just one tail of horsehair and a loom borrowed from the local Weavers Guild of Cape Town, Kemp designed many interesting new weavings, including a large wall hanging, called Africa. “It was a great time, learning from local weavers and giving them workshops too, helping them discover new techniques,” Kemp told Sam at textileArtist.Org.

60aa Night Curtain, linen, horsehair, paint & metal. 38” x 36”, 2018. Photo by Tom Grotta

A third artist who works in horsehair is Adela Akers. Before Akers devoted her life to the arts, she completed studies to be a pharmacist, which influences her artwork. “There is a mathematical discipline in the way the work is constructed,” ​says Akers. “This mathematical sequence is in strong contrast to the organic process — handweaving — and materials — linen and horsehair — that bring the work to fruition.” In the 1970s, Adela Akers lived on the East Coast teaching at Temple University, but she has been creating art as a resident of Califonia for the last 25+ years. Drawing inspiration from African and South American textiles, Akers creates woven compositions of simple geometric shapes, bands, zigzags and checks. She incorporates horsehair into many of her weavings, adding texture and dimensionality. She also cuts metal strips —  from recycled California wine bottle caps — and stitches them into the woven linen strips that make up these works. Her techniques and materials produce images that change under different lighting conditions. In Night Curtain, the horsehair becomes a veil through which metal can shine through, reminiscent of stars peeping through a thin curtain of clouds in the night sky.

An butterfly of horsehair from Chile. Photo by Tom Grotta.

Finally, we were introduced this month to crin, a unique traditional form of horsehair art making from Chile by Caroline Yrarrázaval. When the artist visited bga in June, she brought us a beautiful example of that work. Artisans from a remote rural area of Chile create miniature flowers, animals, butterflies, birds, angels, and witches, woven out of crin de caballo, dyed or natural-colored horsehair. Their delicate creations are unique to this part of the world, largely due to their geographic and historical isolation. The horsehair weaving in Chile uses strands from the horses’ tails — thicker, longer and sturdier than that of their manes — combined with the imported vegetable fiber ixtle to keep the structure more firm and durable. The decorative pieces come almost exclusively from two neighboring rural villages, Rari and Panimavida, located 22 kilometers east of the town of Linares in the Andean foothills, roughly 300 kilometers south of Santiago. “Sitting in their doorways or under a tree, during the evening or between domestic tasks, some 150 women carry out the intricate labor of weaving the horsehair, a tradition that has been passed down for over two hundred years, using only their hands and a needle to finish off their creations,” wrote Maria Vallejos, for AARP International (Mariela Vallejos, “Tightly Woven Community,” AARP International, https://www.aarpinternational.org/the-journal/current-edition/tightly-woven-community). The horsehair used by Kemp and Akers, by contrast, comes from live horses overseas, mainly from the Far East, China and Mongolia.


Exhibitions of Interest — here and abroad

A list of engaging exhibitions in the East, South, the Midwest and abroad. Add them to your summer must-see list.

New York, New York 
Ernesto Neto: Between Earth and Sky
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery
Through June 
521 West 21st Street New York, NY 10011
t: 212 414 4144

https://www.tanyabonakdargallery.com/exhibitions/639-ernesto-neto-between-earth-and-sky-tanya-bonakdar-gallery-new-york/

Tanya Bonakdar Gallery Ernesto Neto's Earth Tree Life Love
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery Ernesto Neto’s Earth Tree Life Love, courtesy of Tanya Bonakdar Gallery

Ernesto Neto has become known for his immersive environments of vibrant color, fragrance and sound, and for his use of natural materials. This expansive exhibition features major installations. In the downstairs gallery is the culmination of Ernesto Neto’s ongoing exploration of the relationship between humans and the environment as inseparable entities. The cotton crochet carpet is made with spiral formations that represent the earth and the ocean, and the top of the sculpture represents the sky and leaves falling from a tree nd the ocean, and the top of the sculpture represents the sky and leaves falling from a tree, highlighting the cycle of nature. Viewers are able to take off their shoes, lie down on the carpet and gaze up to experience a moment of meditation and contemplate their connection with the natural world. On the second floor, Ernesto Neto has created a sculptural garden beneath the skylight that is comprised of spices, mulch, pebbles, soil, and plants. Neto will invite the public to plant the garden in a special presentation, where visitors can connect with the natural environment and one another.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Fiberarts International 2022

Various locations
Through August 20, 2022
5645 Butler Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15201
412-261-7003

At the End of My Rope, Adrienne Sloane
At the End of My Rope, Adrienne Sloane, 2019, knit cotton, rope, 57″ (top of the noose) x 14.5″
Photo by the artist.

The 24th juried exhibition at Fiberart International 2022 seeks to exhibit the best of contemporary art and invites submissions that ­­­reflect a wide range of works related to the fiber medium. Previous Fiberart Internationals have featured Yeonsoon Chang, Heidrun Schimmel and Simone Pheulpin. The jurors for this year’s exhibition are Jessica Hemmings, Argentinian artists Chiachio & Giannone and artist Nnenna Okore, who works the US and Nigeria. Among the works selected for this are At the End of My Rope, by Adrienne Sloane a fav of browngrotta arts.

New York, New York
Japan Society
Kazoko Miyamoto: To perform a line
Through July 10, 2022
333 47th Street
New York, NY 10017

Kazuko Miyamoto_Press_image_credits.docx Yoshiko Chuma in Kazuko Miyamoto: A Girl on Trail Dinosaur, 1979. © Kazuko Miyamoto. Courtesy of the artist and EXILE, Vienna

The Japan Society presents a solo exhibition Kazuko Miyamoto: To perform a line between through July 10, 2022. The exhibition is the first institutional survey of Miyamoto (b.1942, Tokyo), a relatively little-known but significant artist. The exhibition provides an overview of the artist’s work, moving from her contributions to the Minimalism movement through early paintings and drawings from the 1960s, and her increasingly spatial string constructions in the 1970s, to her conceptual experiments in performance, culminating in her kimono series from 1987 through the 1990s. There is a 3D tour on the Japan Society website that features more images of Miyamoto’s work: https://www.japansociety.org/arts-and-culture/exhibitions/kazuko-miyamoto

Tarrytown, New York
The Woman’s Work Exhibition
Lyndhurst Museum
Through September 26, 2022
635 South Broadway
Tarrytown, New York 10591

Sabrina Gschwandtner Quilt
Sabrina Gschwandtner Quilt, Shoshana Wayne Gallery. Women’s Work Exhibition catalog cover

This groundbreaking exhibition tracks the deep, pervasive, and continuing influence of the historic female domestic craft tradition in the practice of contemporary women artists and invites new investigations into the position of women in the contemporary art world. Historic works and contemporary pieces displaying their influence are placed side-by-side throughout the Lyndhurst mansion in the domestic setting and the exhibition gallery. This allows the Museum to establish the pervasiveness of the traditional influence among contemporary artists and show the broad diversity of traditional handcraft mediums employed. The exhibition is also a mini-retrospective of the emergence of women artists in the 1960s and 1970s including important early examples of works by some of the feminist pioneers of the time. These include objects and works by Judy Chicago, Faith Ringgold, Yoko Ono, Miriam Schapiro, Harmony Hammond, Sheila Hicks, Idelle Weber, Louise Bourgeois, Valerie Hammond, Kiki Smith, Elaine Reichek, and Jenny Holzer.

Jyväskyla, Finland
Artapestry 6
Central Museum of Finland
Through September
Alvar Aallon katu 7, 40600 
Jyväskylä, Finland

https://www.jyvaskyla.fi/en/museum-central-finland/current-exhibitions

hat’s it, Gudrun Pagter
That’s it, Gudrun Pagter, 2020, 228 x 252, cm, Photo: Atelier Egtved 

After stops in Sweden and Denmark, Artapestry 6 has arrived in Finland. The exhibition showcases works by 40 artists from 16 different countries., including Gudrun Pagter, Wlodmiericz Cygan, Nancy Koenigsberg and Helena Hernmarck. The exhibition is produced by the European Tapestry Forum (ETF). 

Durham, North Carolina
Beyond the Surface: Collage, Mixed Media and Textile Works from the Collection
Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
From June 16 – February 23, 2023
2001 Campus Drive
Durham, North Carolina 27705
https://nasher.duke.edu

Silvia Heyden, Hurricane, 20th century. Silk and linen, 80 3/4 × 94 1/4 inches (205.1 × 239.4 cm). Collection of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. Gift of Mary D.B.T. Semans and James H. Semans, M.D.; 1976.101.1. © Silvia Heyden Estate. Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion.

Since opening in 2005, the Nasher Museum has been dedicated to building a groundbreaking collection of contemporary art centered on diversity and inclusion. The museum’s emphasis is on artists historically underrepresented, overlooked or excluded from art institutions, with a particular focus on artists of African descent. In this effort, the museum supports global artists of extraordinary vision, whose works spark opportunities for thoughtful engagement. Beyond the Surface includes approximately 40 works, primarily from the Nasher Museum’s collection. With a focus on collage, mixed media and textile works, Beyond the Surface explores how artists bring together disparate materials and ideas to create artworks that engage with all audiences.

Enjoy — in person or online!


Art Assembled: New This Week in May

May was a busy month for the browngrotta arts family. Throughout May, we launched our spring exhibition, Crowdsourcing the Collective: a survey of textiles and mixed media art, and it was quite the success! Throughout the month, we introduced some exceptional art to you all. Just in case you missed it, we’re recapping it all here.

Blair Tate
16bt RePair, Blair Tate, linen, cotton rope and aluminum 83” x 58”, 2022. Photo by Tom Grotta.

this piece, RePair, was created by American artist Blair Tate. Tate has been exploring flat woven grids in her work since the 70s. When interviewed about her art, more specifically weaving, Tate said:

“In weaving there is a direct analogy between textile and text – the construction of fabric and the process of writing. Both have methodical underpinnings that provide the framework for development. Both woven strips and written sentences can be rearranged to re-contextualize, to forge relationships, to develop meaning.”  

James Bassler
14jb On Inca Time, James Bassler, four selvedge weaving (scaffold weave) handspun and commercial wool, silk, linen, ramie, sisal, cotton, natural and synthetic dyes, 43″ x 36.75″, 2019. Photo by Tom Grotta.

American textile artist James Bassler did not disappoint when it comes to On Inca Time. This piece was created with inspiration from Pre-Columbian Andean Cultures, which you can see displayed through the checkerboard pattern throughout the four-selvedge weave. For decades Bassler has applied ancient techniques and materials to create works with contemporary themes, and we remain in awe of the outcome!

Eduardo Portillo & Mariá Eugenia Dávila
22pd Océano Cósmico, Eduardo Portillo & Mariá Eugenia Dávila, silk, cotton,
alpaca, indigo and copper leaf, 59” x 31”, 2022. Photo by Tom Grotta.

Océano Cósmico was created by Venezuelan artists Eduardo Portillo & Mariá Eugenia Dávila

These artists’ work is often driven by their relationship with their surroundings and how their ideas can be communicated within a contemporary textile language. Océano Cósmico reflects their conception of an imagined Cosmos, “a parallel world that we still see in the midst of changing times.” They also aim to promote an understanding and appreciation of natural dyes as an element in textiles, their importance as a means to preserve and disseminate cultural values and as a medium of contemporary expression. 

Norma Minkowitz
95nm Mother Mine, Norma Minkowitz, Mixed media
(My Mother’s Gloves) and fiber, 6.5″ x 11.75″ x 8″, 1984. Photo by Tom Grotta.

This profound artwork comes from one of our favorite artists, Norma Minkowitz. This particular piece of work incorporates a pair of gloves her mother owned as a tribute. 

Pat Campbell
36pc Mandela IV, Pat Campbell, rice paper, reed and wood, 19.75″ x 14.5″ x 9.875″, 2012

This exceptional piece of art comes from American artist, Pat Campbell. Often, Campbell’s intricate, airy pieces are influenced by Japanese shoji screen, which is traditionally made of rice paper. When asked about the why behind the her medium of choice, Campbell said: 

“Paper is exciting to work with. It is a fragile material that can be easily ripped or torn,” said Pat Campbell.” It is a natural choice of material for my work. It provides the translucency I am seeking in constructions.”

We drop new art every week, so follow us on social media to keep up with the art we bring into the fold! To get your hands on some art of your own, checkout our exhibition: Crowdsourcing the Collective: a survey of textiles and mixed media art, which is available online until June 13.