Monthly archives: May, 2024

A Lasting Legacy – Dorothy Liebes and artists at browngrotta

Rhonda Brown

Hommage á Dorothy Liebes: Mariette Rousseau-Vermette
Hommage á Dorothy Liebes I & 2, 1948-49 I, Mariette Rousseau-Vermette, silk leather, aluminum, flourescent tubing (including some materials obtained from Dorothy Liebes) 54″ x 15″ x 15″ (each), 2001. Photo: Tom Grotta

Dorothy Liebes (1897 – 1972) was an influencer before the term was coined. Known as the “mother of modern weaving,” and initiator of “The Liebes Look” she served as a national arbiter of interior design and fashion trends reaching thousands of people through print magazines, television, film, and significant collaborations with architects and corporations from Frank Lloyd Wright to Dupont. Liebes created luminous, jewel-toned fabrics, often incorporating nontraditional materials and metallic threads.

Life Magazine, Dorothy Liebes

Her influence extended well beyond influencing consumer trends. She impacted the careers of numerous artists – some who only met her and studied her work and others who worked in her studios in San Francisco and New York.

Rossbach, plaited Metal Foil Baskets
120-121r Tribe of Baskets IV, Ed Rossbach, plaited metal foil, 14” x 3” x 3”, 13.5” x 3.5” x 3.5”, 1970. Photo by Tom Grotta

Ed Rossbach met Dorothy Liebes only in passing, but her influence on his work was marked. In 1940, after he had finished college, he visited an International Exposition at Treasure Island in California and saw the decorative arts exhibit that Dorothy Lieber had installed there. “I didn’t know anything about Dorothy Liebes, naturally,” he told Harriet Nathan in 1983. (Charles Edmund Rossbach, “Artist, Mentor, Professor, Writer,” an oral history conducted in 1983 by Harriet Nathan, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 1987, p. 14.) “I saw these contemporary textiles and weavings and wrote in my diary that I would like to learn how to weave so that I could weave upholstery.” Years later, when Rossbach had moved to the Bay Area, he visited Liebes’s studio. He recounted being awestruck by the things she inserted into her warp, by her whole personality, and how she interacted with those who worked for her. (Lia Cook, “Ed Rossbach: Educator,” in Ed Rossbach: 40 Years of Exploration and Innovation in Fiber Art, Lark Books and Textile Museum, 1990.) Liebes “had a sense of [her] own importance,” he said later, in an interview with the Archives of American Art. (Oral history interview with Ed Rossbach, 2002 August 27-29. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.) Like Liebes, Rossbach would become known for incorporating non-traditional materials into his work.

Three other artists whose work is shown by browngrotta arts in Wilton, Connecticut – Sherri Smith, Glen Kaufman, and Mariette Rousseau-Vermette — were among Liebes’s studio alumni  — their experiences with the designer were evident throughout their artistic careers

1ss Linde Star, Sherri Smith, plaiting, discharge; cotton webbing, 34″ x 37″, 1976. Photo by Tom Grotta

Artist and educator, Sherri Smith, went to work in Dorothy Liebes’s studio after she completed MFA in weaving and textile design at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan in 1967. From there she went to Boris Knoll Fabrics, where she headed the Woven Design Department. Smith was well situated for her first major museum success — the inclusion of her piece Volcano No. 10, 1967 in MoMA’s Wall Hangings curated by Mildred Constantine and Jack Lenor Larsen in 1969.

Portrait of Glen Kaufman, courtesy of Glen Kaufman estate

Glen Kaufman spent a year at Liebes’s New York studio from 1960 to 1961, after a Fulbright in Scandinavia. Kaufman was also a Cranbrook graduate. There he created handwoven pile rugs among other items. At the Liebes studio, he and Harry Soviak, a Cranbrook classmate, concentrated on carpet designs and created pillows in “wild colors.” The pair would try to “out-Dorothy Dorothy Liebes,” making pillows using Liebes’s daring color combinations and metallic yarn, Kaufman told Josephine Shea in an oral interview in 2008. He recalled that the designer “had this reputation of being the arbiter of interior taste. And she would put together things like red and pink and orange, which were absolutely out in left field,…”  (FN4 Oral history interview with Glen Kaufman, 2008 January 22-February 23, Josephine Shea.)

Glenn Kaufman Banner
500gk Banner, Glen Kaufman, silk, wood, 76″ x 41″ x .75″, 1960s. photo by Tom Grotta

Kaufman’s work from the early 60s like Banner, paired vibrant colors. In others, like Herringbone, Odd Man In and Polymaze, Kaufman continued to explore carpet making techniques. Over time, however, he adopted a more muted palette. Liebes remained enthusiastic but bemoaned the color change. In her essay for Cooper Hewitt exhibition on Liebes and her legacy, Erin Dowding quotes a 1967 letter from Liebes to Kaufman in which the designer writes about seeing his works, “which I thought were wonderful. I missed color, though, and I’m sure you do too.” (Glen Kaufman essay by Erin Dowding, Cooper Hewitt Museum).

Portrait of Mariette Rousseau-Vermette
Mariette Rousseau-Vermette. Photo by Tom Grotta

Mariette Rousseau-Vermette’s experience with Dorothy Liebes was perhaps the most formative. The details of the year she worked in Lieben’s California studio have been compiled and generously shared with us by Anne Newlands. Newlands is the author of Weaving Modernist Art: the Life and Work of Mariette Rousseau-Vermette and the guest curator of an upcoming retrospective of Rousseau-Vermette’s work at the Musée National des Beaux-arts du Quebec in Quebec City in 2025.  

After graduation from the École des beaux-arts in Montreal in 1948, Mariette, then Rousseau, later Rousseau-Vermette, looked to the United States to further her education, unlike fellow students who travelled to France. She was inspired by a 1947 issue of Life magazine in which an article titled “Top Weaver” introduced her to the innovative Dorothy Liebes studio in San Francisco. Years later, she described the impact: “The article blew me away — this magnificent woman was radically changing textiles in the United States, she was returning them to art. For her, textures, colours, techniques had no limits.” (Mariette Rousseau-Vermette, public lecture, Musée du Québec, 23 August 1992. Translation by Judith Terry. Cited Anne Newlands.) In addition to Liebes’s innovations with non-traditional weaving materials, Rousseau-Vermette said she was captivated by Liebes’s “prophetic instinct for trends in color.”

Mariette Rousseau-Vermette maquette
Mariette Rousseau-Vermette maquette for stairwell commission. Photo by Tom Grotta

After graduation, despite the fact that she spoke little English at the time, Rousseau traveled to San Francisco for two reasons: to secure a job or an internship at the Liebes studio and to study at the California College of Arts and Crafts in nearby Oakland. Her mornings were spent at the college in Oakland, and in the afternoons she waited patiently in the reception area of the Liebes studio, her thick sample books from the École des beaux-arts on her lap, trying to convince the studio to hire her. With a determination that would become legendary, Rousseau-Vermette returned daily and finally Dorothy Liebes relented, saying that she could not pay her (although later she would), but that she would let her work. (Material on Mariette Rousseau-Vermette. Cited by Anne Newlands.)  “Try — Do not be afraid — Make ‘research’ a pleasure – Share with others. These are the ‘gifts’ I received during my stay in Dorothy Liebes’s studio.” Rousseau-Vermette wrote. “At the end of the 1940s, Dorothy Liebes’s endless energy and joie de vivre, and the friendship among her thirteen assistants, started me on the path that became my way of life.” (Mariette Rousseau-Vermette, “Fiber-Optic and Other Weavings,” in Wiredbrowngrotta arts, 2001.)

Roy Thompson Hall ceiling by Mariette Rousseau Vermette
Roy Thompson Hall. Building designed by architect Arthur Erickson; ceiling sculpture by Mariette Rousseau-Vermette. Photo by Tom Grotta

Like Liebes, much of Rousseau-Vermette’s career was devoted to creating textile works on commission to mediate architectural spaces, notably, The Royal Bank of Canada in Toronto, Exxon in New York City and Arthur Erikson’s Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto. Working with architects was central to Leibes’s practice. As Alexa Griffith Winton has noted, “Liebes encountered architectural blueprints and quickly learned to read them.” (“’None of Us is Sentimental’: About the Hand: Dorothy Liebes, Handweaving, and Design for Industry,” Alexa Griffith Winton,The Journal of Modern Craft, Volume 4—Issue 3, November 2011, pp. 255.) Rousseau would follow suit; her most preferred commissions would be those that involved collaborations with architects. Her files were thick with blueprints and architectural drawings. Where buildings were hard and cold, Liebes’s textiles were warm and soft says. Like Liebes, Rousseau-Vermette’s brilliance came from building and bridging a tension between textiles and architecture. (“How the Mother of Modern Weaving Transformed the World of Design,” Sonja Anderson, Smithsonian Magazine, July 19, 2023.)

Brilliant coloration also featured in Rousseau-Vermette’s work and she utilized unique materials as Liebes’ did. Canadian architect, Arthur Erikson, wrote of a series of color fields of luscious color and texture composed vertically or horizontally of combed wool that he commissioned for a building in Vancouver, B.C. “I found the simplicity of her work blended perfectly with the simple structural expression of the building, the building transformed through the artist’s eye.” (Arthur Erickson, “Introduction,” in Wiredbrowngrotta arts, 2001.)

626mr Elégante, Mariette Rousseau-Vermette, wool, optical fiber, metallic thread, mylar, 48″ x 48″, 2000. Photo by Tom Grotta

In the 1990s, Rousseau created a series innovative weavings, like Elegante, that incorporate optical fiber. Another work from 2001, Hommage á Liebes, incorporates silk, leather and fluorescent tubes, some of it material that Rousseau-Vermette had sourced from Liebes. In its title, the student explicitly credits the mentor as an impetus for her work. Liebes also influenced the way in which Rousseau-Vermette would manage her studio. Like Liebes, Rousseau-Vermette created detailed cartons and maquettes for each of the 644 tapestries she created in her career. Her meticulous notes are now in the archives of the National Gallery of Canada. She was motivated by Liebes’s success as an independent owner-operator, holding as she did a singular place in the male-dominated business world.

Dorothy Liebes exhibit at the Cooper Hewitt
Dorothy Liebes exhibit at the Cooper Hewitt. Photo by Tom Grotta

Want to know more? Liebes’s life and design have received renewed attention in the past year as a result of the expansive exhibition at the Cooper Hewitt in New York, with many resources available online. A lush volume accompanied the book, both entitled, A Dark, A Light, A Bright: the Designs of Dorothy Liebes.


Art into Words into Food into Art

For our Spring exhibition, our accomplished chef and close friend Max Fanwick worked up some foods that embodied themes from Discourse: Art Across Generations and Continents. Max’s cuisine is thoughtful and inventive. For Discourse, he looked at themes that emerged as we curated the exhibition and translated them into exciting canapés and desserts. For us it was a treat, to eat and to see our words and thoughts transformed into edible art. Here are some of the highlights — bites paired with the artworks that inspired them. They embody Discourse’s overarching aim to celebrate connections and contrasts.

Tomato Soup
photo by Carter Grotta

Generational and Geographical Correlations: Tomato Soup Spheres with a Grilled Cheese Crouton
Max’s Musings: Few flavors better resonate across the generations than grilled cheese and tomato soup. This modern take captures all the flavor in  modernized bite.

Margareta Ahlstedt-Willandt weaving
1awm Nåky Vision II, Margareta Ahlstedt-Willandt, fabric, 20″ x 19″ x 2″, 1950’s. Photo by Tom Grotta

Art Inspiration: Discourse paired work like Nåky Vision II from the 1950s by Margareta Ahlstedt-Willandt of Finland and On Balance by Blair Tate from the US made 70 years later for generational resemblance The exhibition also paired Słońce Szafirowe, (Sapphire Sun) by Zofia Butrymowicz of Poland and Tracking Nasca Patterns by James Bassler of the US for cross-continental comparison.

Unstructured Gyoza
photo by Carter Grotta

Structural Explorations: Unstructured Gyoza
Max’s Musings: What makes a dumpling? The shape? The wrapper? The flavor? If you remove the structure, we have all come to recognize what does it become?

Complex Plaiting sculpture by Norie Hatekayama
10nh.1 Complex Plaiting Series, Norie Hatakeyama, plaited paper fiber strips, 9.5″ x 18″ x 16″, 2001. Photo by Tom Grotta

Art Inspiration: Perhaps no work in Discourse presented more of a structural mystery than the complex plaiting works by Norie HatakeyamaNaoko Serino’s ethereal works of jute raised many eyebrows, too. 

Salmon Tartare on Lotus Crisps
photo by Tom Grotta

Reading Between the Lines: Salmon Tartare on Lotus Crisps
Max’s Musings: In Japan lotus root represents good things to come. If you read between these lotus root lines, you will find the good thing to come is salmon tartare.

Who? in twigs by Gyöngy Laky
204L Anticipation, Gyöngy Laky, apple, trim screws 18.5” x 50” x 2”, 2023. Photo by Tom Grotta

Art Inspiration: There were many messages between the lines in the works in Discourse. In Anticipation, Gyöngy Laky asked “Who?” a question, she says, “that underlies the search for a way forward to a better day.” Laura Foster Nicholson reflects on man’s role in the environment, in Rural Road, Freight Train which depicts a train slicing through the Midwestern landscape.

baklava cheesecake
photo by Carter Grotta

Weaving Emotion into Art: Filo Threads Woven into Cheesecake Bites
Max’s Musings: This take on baklava cheesecake creates a nostalgic flavor profile known to make people so emotional they will make a special journey  just for a bite. 

Gold wall hanging by Aby Mackie
4am We Can All Be Saved, Aby Mackie, mixed media, cotton, 76.25″ x 60″ x .2″, 2023. photo by Tom Grotta

Art Inspiration:  Works in Discourse often provoked viewers on an emotional level. Our engagement with fiber art is deeply personal. Our first memories are of cloth — fuzzy blankets, soft towels — and they remain strong ones. Aby Mackie sources and recycles used clothing and linens from flea markets in Spain, fabrics laden with memory. She gilds this repurposed material in works like We Can All Be Saved 13, asking viewers to consider what creates value.

Floating Ice Cream
photo by Tom Grotta

Technical Departures: Flaming Ice Cream
Max’s Musings: Ice cream in a chocolate crust is lit on fire which is as big a technical departure as we could fit into one bite.

paper knot sculpture by Shoko Fukuda
7sf Knothole III, Shoko Fukuda, knotted paper, 4″ x 8″ x 4″, 2023. Photo by Tom Grotta

Art Inspiration: Discourse also highlights the wide range of technical innovations and experiments that fiber art has featured since its inception, including work by several artists who make vastly different uses of paper. Scrolling of encyclopedia pages by Wendy Wahl from the US, knotted paper objects  by Shoko Fukuda of Japan, sculptural works of rice paper by Pat Campbell and paper cord by Mary Merkel-Hess from the US, and woven paper patchworks by Eva Vargö of Sweden were all included.

The diversity of the works in Discourse made for an engaging exhibition. Max’s Musings were an inspired interpretation. 

You can find the works in Discourse  exhibition on Artsy and you can purchase a full-color catalog at browngrotta.com.


Five Days Remain to See Discourse at browngrotta arts in Wilton, CT

from left to right: works by Hiroko Sato-Pijanowski, Aby Mackie, Tim Johnson, Jane Balsgaard, Gyöngy Laky, Gizella Warburton, Margareta Ahlstedt-Willandt photographed through a basket by John McQueen. Photo by Tom Grotta

Join us this week, through Sunday May 12, at 6 pm to see our Spring Art in the Barn exhibition, Discourse: art across generations and continents. Traffic has been steady, including a guided tour for 15 people on Tuesday, but we still have slots available for gallery appointments and drop ins.

Viewers will enjoy 150+ works by more than 60 artists from 20 countries. Many people take two trips through the space to ensure they have not missed anything.

While here they learn more about works in the show including Irina Kolesnikova’s Spectator, a filmstrip- like group of woven portraits of her alter ego. She places him in discomfiting situations.  “Sometimes the events happening around him are frightening,” Kolesnikova says, “he wants to go away, to run far away. But curiosity makes him come back again, secretly observing, trying to memorize all impressions.”

Irina Kolesnikova Spectator weaving
28ik Spectator, Irina Kolesnikova, handwoven flax, silk, wood, 58.5″ x 43.25″ x 1″, 2013. Photo by Tom Grotta

James Bassler’s This Old House, is another work that encourages viewers to take a closer work and consider its inspiration and origins. “Over a year ago, a friend gave me a book, Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson,” Bassler writes. “It  caused me to begin yet another weaving of a flag, which includes references to the textile traditions of Africa.  In my early days of learning how to weave, the late 60s and early 70s, I wove many samples, and after weaving, experimented with batik and dyeing.  After all these years, those woven samples — maybe eight or ten of them —  were sewn together to become the surface on which the flag would eventually, after about a year, emerge.”

James Bassler Flag weaving
20jbas This Old House, James Bassler, multiple cotton and silk warps, patched together, multiple sisal, silk, linen, agave, ramie wefts, synthetic and natural dyes. batik plain and wedge-weave construction
27” x 42”, 2024. Photo by Tom Grotta

Same Difference by John McQueen draws appreciative comments (“That’s clever!” “I get it.”) when people learn its backstory. It’s comprised of three items on pedestals made of sticks tied with waxed linen — a wooden sump pump, the skeleton of a bonsai tree, and a representation of the elephant god Ganesh made of tied twigs. The items seem to have been chosen randomly, but they are not. Each draws water from the ground and uses it to slake thirsty crops and people, trees and animals.

John McQueen Same Difference three willow sculptures
21jm Same Difference, John McQueen, wood, sticks, bonsai, 54” x 60” x 24”, 2013, photo by Tom Grotta

Wendy Wahl’s work in Discourse explores inversion  a reversal of position, order, form, or relationship — and requires people to take a closer look. Wahl writes that she reassembles encyclopedia pages because of their symbolism, conceptual reference, and unique paper quality.  “My interactions with these materials,” she writes, “are meditative. These pieces are created by deconstructing the books, rolling and pinching the individual parts, and, like a puzzle, fitting them to the panel. The interconnected spiral elements become the picture plane that explores dimension, direction, texture, color, and reflection.” 

44ww Inversion, 2023/24, Wendy Wahl, encyclopedia britannica pages, wood panel, 40″ x 30″, 2024. Photo by Tom Grotta

The evocative forms of Rachel Max’s work draw viewers in for inspection and introspection. Over the last few years, Max has been making forms that explore notions of infinity and time. The title for her piece in this exhibition, Caesura, came to her while she was making it. “I was thinking about the composition, working out where the weave should become less dense and where one section would end and another begin. I wanted to create a visual interruption, my equivalent to a break in music or a pause. In poetry, I discovered,  this is called Caesura.”

Sculptural blue basket form by Rachel Max
13rm Caesura, Rachel Max, woven cane sculpture, plaited and twined, dyed, 11” x 16.5” x 8”, 2023-24. Photo by Tom Grotta

There are dozens of works to discover at Discourse: art across generations and continents and five days remaining to join us. Hope we’ll see you!

Schedule a visit
Times to visit Discourse: art across generations and continents can be scheduled on POSH

Exhibition Details:
Discourse: art across generations and continents
Through May 12, 2024
browngrotta arts
276 Ridgefield Road, Wilton, CT 06897

Gallery Dates/Hours:
Wednesday May 8th through Saturday, May 11th: 10am to 5pm (40 visitors/ hour)
Sunday, May 12th: 11am to 6pm [Final Day] (40 visitors/ hour)
Schedule your visit at POSH.

Safety protocols: 
POSH reservations strongly encouraged • No narrow heels please 

Catalog:
A full-color catalog, browngrotta arts’ 59th, Discourse: art across generations and continents, with an essay by Erika Diamond, Artist | Curator | Associate Director of CVA Galleries | Chautauqua Institution, will be published by the browngrotta arts in May 2024 in conjunction with the exhibition.

Upcoming:
browngrotta arts will present a talkthrough of slides from Discourse on Zoom, Art on the Rocks: art art talkthrough with a twist, on Friday, June 11th at 7 pm EST.


Discourse Opens on Saturday – Who’s New?

Discourse:art across generations and continents opens in just three days at browngrotta arts, Wilton, Connecticut (May 4 – 12). The exhibition includes works by five artists whose work we have not shown before: 

Crystal Planet by Neda Al-Hilali
1na Crystal Planet, Neda Al-Hilali, plaited color paper, acrylic, ink drawing, paper, 43″ x 49″ x 2.5″, 1982. Photo by Tom Grotta

Neda Al-Hilali was born in Czechoslovakia in 1938 and lived in Baghdad before moving to Southern California in 1961. She trained as an artist in Europe, and extensively at the University of California Los Angeles, including with Bernard Kestler. In the 1960s, she created flat weavings and knotted hangings, called “Rope Art,” by Life magazine December 1, 1972. Those were followed by room-sized installations, cascades of paper, and works of aluminum modules and others of pieced paper. Her career, the Los Angeles Times wrote, “moved into painting and sculpture with intelligent disregard for confining labels.” Al-Halili’s work will be included in the upcoming exhibition at the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Subversive, Skilled, Sublime: Fiber Art by Women in Washington, D.C. in May.

Nåky Vision II by Margareta Ahlstedt-Willandt
1awm Nåky Vision II, Margareta Ahlstedt-Willandt, fabric, 20″ x 19″ x 2″, 1950’s. Photo by Tom Grotta

Finnish textile artist Margareta Ahlstedt-Willandt (1888 -1967) was a founder of an artistic weaving company. Ahlstedt-Willandt founded an Agency and Weavery for the Decorative Arts in 1924 which employed a dozen people. Its products were sold not only in Finland, but also abroad. Ahlstedt-Willandt was awarded prizes in many international exhibitions of applied art and design. She received several awards including a silver medal at the art and industry exhibitions in Barcelona in 1929 and in Milan in 1933 and a gold medal at the Paris World Exhibition in 1937. In 1930, she had a solo exhibition at the Museum of Applied Art Arts (now the Design Museum) in Helsinki. Her memorial exhibition was held at the Design Museum in 1988.

Cosmic Series by Yvonne Pacanovsky Bobrowicz
1ypb Cosmic Series, Yvonne Pacanovsky Bobrowicz, Knotted monofilament, gold leaf, 25″ x 20″ x 7″. Photo by Tom Grotta

Awarding-winning artist, Yvonne Bobrowicz (1928 – 2022) was known for her cascading, light-transmitting sculptures made of synthetic monofilament. Bobrowicz was concerned with interconnections — interconnectedness and continuum. The artist told the Senior Artists Initiative in Philadelphia in 2003, “My work has been combining natural materials with synthetics, relating opposites, randomness and order — dark, light, reflective, opaque, and light absorbent, incorporating gold leaf, reflecting sculptures of monofilament, reflective and alchemically symbolic — unifying them in a variety of densities, scale, and configurations.” Her interest in interconnections is an ideal artist for inclusion in Discourse. Bobrowicz studied with Marianne Strengell at the Cranbook Academy of Art and with Anni Albers at the Philadelphia Museum and School of Industrial Art, now University of the Arts. In the 1980s, she collaborated with renowned architect Louis Kahn. She taught weaving and textiles at Drexel University for more than 30 years. She was the recipient of a Pew Fellowship and a grant from the Leeway Foundation.

From the Tranquility series by Mika Watanabi
1mwa From the Tranquility series, Mika Watanabi, kozo fiber, 1993-94. Photo by Tom Grotta

Mika Watanabe is a contemporary multi-media artist and art educator. Watanabe creates sculptural objects using natural paper fiber and body parts of animals and humans (nails, snake shed, hog guts, etc). She has created installations using various unique objects. Her work has been exhibited by local, national, and international contemporary arts and crafts galleries and museums, including in the 2005 traveling exhibition Intertwined: Contemporary Baskets from the Sara and David Lieberman Collection. Watanabe holds a Masters of Fine Arts from the California College of Art in Oakland and a Bachelor’s of Arts in Fine Arts, Crafts, Industrial Design Arts from Musashino Arts University in Tokyo Japan.

1hsp Oh! Precious, Hiroko Sato-Pijanowski, anodized aluminum foil, mizuhiki, canvas, 40.75” x 44.75” x 3.625”, 1980s. Photo by Tom Grotta

Japanese jewelry designer, artist, author, and educator, Hiroko Sato-Pijanowski, was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1942. She received an MFA in 1966 from the Cranbrook Academy of Art, in Michigan, began teaching Metalsmithing in 1986 at The University of Michigan, and continued until 2001 when she retired as Professor Emeritus. Sato-Pijanowski is credited with introducing Japanese materials and techniques to American metal working. In the 80s, Sato-Pijanowski (sometimes with her husband, Eugene Pijanowski), made a series of oversized, wearable works out of paper cord and foils using a technique called mizuhiki. “In making my paper cord jewelry,” Sato-Pijanoowski wrote in 2017, I realized that form can have meaning beyond mere abstract beauty. The contrasts between this organic material and its artificial metallic color, and between the traditional applications of paper cord and these abstract designs, comment on the evolution of man’s position in the universe. We are part of the natural world and of a historic and cultural world of our own making.” 

Join us for Discourse: art across generations and continents from May 4 to May 12th. Reserve a time at POSH.


Art Assembled – New This Week in April

April was all about highlighting new artists and gearing up for our upcoming exhibition Discourse: art across generations and continents (May 4 – 12, 2024). With just three short days until launch day, the exhibition, and all the featured artists, have been at the forefront of our minds! In case you missed any of our artist highlights from April, we’ve put together a recap for you. Read on for the full scoop!

Chiyoko Tanaka
4cht Grinded Fabric #3233, Chiyoko Tanaka, handwoven raw linen, ramie with brick, 17.25″ x 38.5″, 1988. Photo by Tom Grotta

To kick off the month, we featured the remarkable artwork of Chiyoko Tanaka. Tanaka’s art is a fascinating exploration of time, symbolized through the weaving of countless weft threads. Following the weaving process, Tanaka employs a unique technique she calls “grinding,” where the cloth is rubbed with specialized tools like bricks or white stones. This meticulous process adds depth and texture to her pieces.

Tanaka’s innovative approach has earned her numerous accolades, and we are honored to showcase her extraordinary work.

Mary Merkel-Hess
18mm.1 Seed Head, Mary Merkel-Hess, bamboo and paper, 11” x 9” x 9”, 1990. Photo by Tom Grotta

Next up in April, we turned our spotlight to artist Mary Merkel-Hess. Merkel-Hess is renowned for her captivating ‘landscape reports,’ intricate sculptural forms crafted from reed, bamboo, and paper, inspired by the serene natural landscapes of Iowa.

Merkel-Hess’s work has garnered high praise, notably becoming the first contemporary basket form to be acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. We’re thrilled to include her remarkable pieces in our upcoming exhibition, Discourse, launching this weekend.

 Ed Rossbach
78r Peruvian Tapestry, Ed Rossbach, printed weft, 20″ x 21″, 1972. Photo by Tom Grotta

Next, we highlighted the groundbreaking artwork of the late pioneer artist, Ed Rossbach. Renowned for his innovative approach to weaving, Rossbach fearlessly explored traditional techniques and unorthodox materials like plastics and newspaper. His visionary work transcended the boundaries of basketry, elevating it to a sculptural art form. Known for his imaginative flair, Rossbach infused his creations with unexpected imagery, including references to pop culture.

Rossbach’s iconic pieces will be featured in Discourse this weekend, adding to the rich tapestry of talent on display. We’re truly honored to showcase his groundbreaking work.

Yvonne Pacanovsky Bobrowicz
1ypb Cosmic Series, Yvonne Pacanovsky Bobrowicz, Knotted monofilament, gold leaf, 25″ x 20″ x 7″. Photo by Tom Grotta

We then turned our focus to the late, award-winning artist, Yvonne Pacanovsky Bobrowicz. Renowned in the art world for her mesmerizing sculptures crafted from synthetic monofilament, Bobrowicz’s work captivated audiences with its cascading and light-transmitting qualities. Her artistic vision was deeply rooted in the exploration of interconnections and continuum.

When reflecting on her creations, Bobrowicz expressed, “My work combines natural materials with synthetics, bridging opposites and exploring concepts of randomness and order.” Her pieces, adorned with elements like gold leaf and characterized by reflective surfaces, served as alchemically symbolic representations, unifying contrasting elements in various densities, scales, and configurations.

As expected, Bobrowicz’s exceptional artistry will be showcased in our exhibition this weekend, adding another layer of depth and intrigue to the collection.

 Lija Rage
7lr Home-II, Lija Rage, mixed media, wooden sticks, linen and copper, 53″ x 38″, 2020. Photo by Tom Grotta

Last, but certainly not least, we highlighted the work of artist Lija Rage. In her artistic process, Rage employs a unique approach, painting small sticks and wrapping them in copper wire, meticulously layering them through gluing and sewing until the artwork is brought to completion.

Rage’s pieces possess a timeless quality, distinguished by her vibrant color infusions that draw inspiration from the natural landscapes of Latvia, her home country.

Once again, Rage stands among the many talented artists featured in Discourse this weekend, contributing her distinctive vision and craftsmanship to the exhibition.

Thank you for reading and staying up to date on all our “New This Week” features in April. We hope to see you all in person at Discourse to see some of these works in person. Reserve your spot here.