Category: Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art

Dispatches: Norwalk, New Canaan, Ridgefield, CT

Norwalk Art Space. Photo by Tom Grotta

When our in-person exhibition of Japandí: shared aesthetics and influences closed earlier this month, we headed out to enjoy some art-related activities in our neck of the words. First stop, the new Norwalk Art Space. The vision of the late-Alexandra Davern Korry, a trailblazing M &A lawyer, educator, civil rights advocate, and philanthropist. Korry wanted to create a space that would serve as a free hub for the arts, promoting under-represented local artists, enhancing educational opportunities for under-served students, and providing the public a welcoming space to enjoy art and music.  The former church has been transformed into an attractive and light-filled gallery and features the exceptional Art Space Cafe which provides foods from local vendors like Hoodoo Brown Barbecue, Darien Cheese Shop and Cloudy Lane Bakery. We enjoyed the work of Robert Cottingham on exhibit through October 21st, and look forward to seeing what’s next.

Views of Grace Farms, New Canaan, CT. Photos by Tom Grotta.

Next stop: Grace Farms in New Canaan which was established with the idea that space communicates and can inspire people to collaborate for good. To realize this vision, Grace Farms Foundation set out to create a multipurpose building nestled into the existing habitat that would enable visitors to experience nature, encounter the arts, pursue justice, foster community, and explore faith. Approximately 77 of the 80 acres are being preserved in perpetuity as open meadows, woods, wetlands, and ponds. The architect SANAA’s goal was to make the sensuous River building become part of the landscape without drawing attention to itself. 

Temporal Shift by Alison Shotz and a view from the walking paths at Grace Farms in New Canaan, CT. Photos by Tom Grotta.

We enjoyed the architecture and the artwork, particularly Temporal Shift by Alyson Shotz, a site-responsive sculpture that reacts with natural light, but nature is the big star here. The walking paths are expansive— rocks, ponds and cattails. The property can accommodate large crowds — in many spots, we felt as if we had the paths to ourselves.

Tim Prentice, Stainless Steel Banner, 2009, in the sculpture garden of the Aldrich Museum, Ridgefield, CT. Photo by Tom Grotta.

We also took in an opening at the The Aldrich Museum in Ridgefield. We went, in particular, to see Karla Knight: Navigator. Knight has spent the last 40 years creating an impressive body of work that spans painting, drawing and photography, including a body of work she calls, “tapestries” which include reclaimed cotton cut from circa 1940s–50s seed and grain bags purchased on eBay. We wound up, however, most impressed by Hugo McCloud: from where I stand, curated by Richard Klein. McCloud’s career, says the museum, has been defined by “restless experimentation, an ongoing engagement with process, an exploration of the value of labor, a concern with disparities in social and racial economics, and with the nature of beauty.” He has integrated roofing metal, tar, and most recently single-use plastic shopping bags into his canvases in truly fascinating ways.

Hugo McCloud works, the Aldrich Museum. Photo by Tom Grotta.

Also on view at the museum is Tim Prentice: After the Mobile | Outdoor Installation and a painter, Elise Tarver, whose exuberantly colorful works we liked a lot.Adrienne Elise Tarver: The Sun, the Moon, and the Truth.


Make a Day of It – Other Venues to Visit on Your Way to Japandi at browngrotta arts

Coming to Wilton, CT to see browngrotta arts’ next exhibtion, Japandi: shared aesthetics and influences (September 25 – October 2)? We have four nearby exhibitions to recommend if you want to make a day of it.

Tim Prentice
Tim Prentice: After the Mobile (installation view), The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, March 29, 2021 to October 4, 2021, Courtesy of Prentice Colbert, Photo: Jason Mandella

1)Tim Prentice: After the Mobile
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
258 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT 06877
Tel 203.438.4519
6.2 Miles

https://thealdrich.org/exhibitions/tim

After the Mobile is a two-part solo exhibition by artist Tim Prentice (b. 1930), known for his innovative work in the field of motion in sculpture. Prentice has been a resident of Connecticut since 1975, and After the Mobile marks his first solo museum exhibition since 1999. The exhibition will feature 20 indoor works, five outdoor works, and a video portrait of the artist. The indoor exhibition is on view through October 4, 2021; the outdoor installation on view from September 19, 2021 to April 24, 2022. Interesting note: The title of the exhibition refers to Alexander Calder, a former Connecticut resident who in the 1930s adopted the term mobile at the urging of Marcel Duchamp to describe his balanced, moving wind-driven constructions. 

Carrie Mae Weems
Carrie Mae Weems, All the Boys (Profile 2), 2016, archival pigment on gesso board. Courtesy of Jack Shainman Gallery

2) Carrie Mae Weems: The Usual Suspects
Fairfield University Art Museum
Walsh Gallery
September 18 – December 18, 2021
Fairfield University Art Museum
1073 North Benson Road
Fairfield, CT 06824
203.254.4046
15.2 miles

https://www.fairfield.edu/museum/exhibitions/current-exhbitions/index.html

In Carrie Mae Weems: The Usual Suspects, Weems focuses on the humanity denied in recent killings of black men, women, and children by police. She directs our attention to the constructed nature of racial identity—specifically, representations that associate black bodies with criminality. Our imaginings have real—often deadly—outcomes. Blocks of color obscure faces just as our assumptions around race obscure individual humanity. Through a formal language of blurred images, color blocks, stated facts, and meditative narration, Weems directs our attention toward the repeated pattern of judicial inaction—the repeated denials and the repeated lack of acknowledgement.

3) Between the Ground and the Sky

Ashley Skatoff: Lost Ruby Farm, Norfolk, CT
Ashley Skatoff: Lost Ruby Farm, Norfolk, CT

Westport MoCA
Through October 17, 2021
19 Newtown Turnpike
Westport, CT 06880
Monday & Tuesday | Gallery Closed
Wednesday-Sunday | 12PM-4PM
Ph: 203.222.7070
(6.6 miles)

Between the Ground and the Sky through October 17, 2021 features photography from the Who Grows Your Food initiative, an intimate photographic journey celebrating the beloved farms and farmers associated with the Westport Farmers’ Market. The centerpiece of the exhibition is more than 50 large-scale photographs, both color and black and white, of local farms by Anne Burmeister and Ashley Skatoff, two local accomplished photographers. The photographs tell a compelling and visually arresting story of the importance of local farms and farmers.

On the Basis of Art: 150 Years of Women at Yale catalog

4) On the Basis of Art: 150 Years of Women at Yale
Yale University Art Gallery
September 10, 2021–January 9, 2022
1111 Chapel Street (at York Street) 
New Haven, Connecticut
203.432.0601
(35.2 miles)

https://artgallery.yale.edu/exhibitions/exhibition/basis-art-150-years-women-yale

On the Basis of Art: 150 Years of Women at Yale showcases and celebrates the remarkable achievements of an impressive roster of women artists who have graduated from Yale University. Presented on the occasion of two major milestones—the 50th anniversary of coeducation at Yale College and the 150th anniversary of the first women students at the University, who came to study at the Yale School of the Fine Arts when it opened in 1869—the exhibition features works drawn entirely from the collection of the Yale University Art Gallery that span a variety of media, such as paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints, photography, and video. 

Enjoy your trip ! We look forward to seeing you at Japandi.


On Your Way to browngrotta arts in May— Make a Day of It

Coming to Connecticut next week to see Adaptation: Artists Respond to Change at browngrotta arts in Wilton? Take in some of our other local sites on your way:

Frank Stella’s Stars, A Survey
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
258 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT 06877
Tel 203.438.4519

Frank Stella
Frank Stella’s Stars, A Survey, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, September 21, 2020 to May 9, 2021, left to right: Fat 12 Point Carbon Fiber Star, 2016; Flat Pack Star, 2016 (installation view), Courtesy of the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York and Aspen © 2020 Frank Stella / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Jason Mandella

Just up the street from browngrotta arts, at the Aldrich Museum is the highly acclaimed exhibition, Frank Stella’s Stars, A Survey. https://thealdrich.org/exhibitions/frank-stellas-stars-a-survey#frank-stellas-stars-a-survey-0 Much of the exhibition is outdoors — where you can go mask free if you are vaccinated!

They are open from 12-5 all days but Sunday. From 10 am on Saturday. You’ll need an appointment: https://thealdrich.org/visit
258 Main Street, Ridgefield, CT 06877

The Glass House
New Canaan, CT

LongHouse
Glass House. Photo by Tom Grotta

Philip Johnson’s glorious Glass House and grounds in New Canaan are open.You’ll need to book a tour. For information on visiting go to the website: https://theglasshouse.org.

Remembering Dave Brubeck
Wilton Historical Society & Museum
224 Danbury Road (Route 7)
Wilton, CT 06897
203-762-7257

Dave Brubeck

Our Wilton Historical Society & Museum, of which we are great admirers, is open to the public. The premier exhibition explores the life of longtime resident Dave Brubeck and his family. The Society also features several permanent galleries that feature tools and toys and furniture – all worth a look. More information on scheduling a visit here: http://wiltonhistorical.org/visit/

Let in, Let go
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT 06830-7157
Phone: 203.869.0376

Holly Danger
Holly Danger video projection installation at the Bruce Museum

The Bruce Museum in Greenwich hosts, Let in, Let go,  a multi-sensory video projection installation created by Holly Danger, a video artist based in Stamford, CT, who has brought experiential events and immersive installations to audiences around the world. Danger mixes analog and digital layers to create vibrant audiovisual collages, and projection maps the work into site-specific installations. Schedule your visit, here: https://brucemuseum.org/site/exhibitions_detail/let-in-let-go

Marilyn Minter: Smash
Westport Museum of Contemporary Art
19 Newtown Turnpike
Westport, CT 06880

MoCA’s current exhibition, Smash, is devoted exclusively to the videos of contemporary artist Marilyn Minter. Seeped in lush imagery oscillating between figuration and abstraction, Minter’s works encapsulate feminism, pleasure, voyeurism and notions of beauty, desire and chance. Minter is a contemporary American painter, photographer and video artist recognized for examining the relationships between the body and cultural beliefs about sexuality, desire, and pleasure. More information here:  https://mocawestport.org/exhibition/smash/

Adaptation: Artists Respond to Change
browngrotta arts
276 Ridgefield Road Wilton, CT 06897
203.834.0623
Make an appointment here:

Adaptation: Artists Respond to Change installation
Adaptation: Artists Respond to Change installation. Pictured works by Mary Merkel-Hess, John Garrett, Norma Minkowitz, Neha Puri Dhir, Paul Furneaux, Eduardo Portillo & Mariá Eugenia Dávila , Photo by Tom Grotta

Looking forward to seeing you next month!


Material Matters: Hot Mesh

Untitled Mesh A-Z by Eva LeWitt
Untitled Mesh A-Z by Eva LeWitt Aldrich Museum of Art in Ridgefield, Connecticut

What’s with Mesh? It’s been popular with our artists for sometime. But now we are seeing it in other contexts, too. At the Aldrich Museum of Art in Ridgefield, Connecticut, Eva LeWitt introduced a new material for her exhibition — coated mesh, most commonly used for filters, window screens, and even protective clothing, LeWitt investigates its lightweight and light responsive crosshatched woven surface (through April 5th). Spanning three of the four walls, LeWitt has suspended from the ceiling nine cumulative layers, color fields of tensile mesh, forming interlacing moiré effects that swell and pulsate. 


LeWitt favors materials that she can handle and maneuver alone in the studio: plastics, latex, fabrics, and vinyl—substances offered in an array of readymade colors and a variability of light absorbencies– to generate sculptures and installations that harmonize color, matter, and space, Employing strategies of accretion and repetition, she customizes her work to comply and adjust to the surroundings of a particular setting.


Then there is Katsuhiro Yamaguchi, in the collection at Tate modern, who work in a variety of materials. https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/yamaguchi-mesh-sculpture-t14164  In the 1960s Yamaguchi, incorporated various materials such as acrylic resin, light, wire-mesh, upholstery and wax, expanding his means of expression to include the environment of the ceiling and the walls.

Ruth Asawa's sculptures
Ruth Asawa’s sculptures displayed at the David Zwirner gallery in NYC

Ruth Asawa’s work in mesh is the subject of new-found appreciation https://www.latimes.com/home/la-lh-los-angeles-modern-auctions-realizes-record-auction-20140225-story.html. “Asawa began to crochet wire-mesh structures in 1948. The symmetrical structures themselves were intellectually rigorous, requiring discipline and technical precision. The resulting constructs were ethereal, fanciful, and vital.” The essence of Asawa’s art in wire has to do with transparency and interpenetration, with overlapping, shadow, and darkening” something looping wire mesh can evidence effectively.

Untitled I 2018, Jin Sook-So
59jss Untitled I, Jin Sook-So
steel mesh, folded, burnt and painted with gold, silver and acrylic
15.75″ x 15.75″ x 5.5″, 2018

Among our artists for Jin-Sook So, mesh is a like a zelig — an ordinary person who can change themselves to imitate anyone they are near. It can replicate the look of silk organza but when painted it looks like canvas. When electroplated and sculpted into forms it emits a burnished glow.

Detail of En Face, Agneta Hobin
9ah En Face, Agneta Hobin, mica and steel, 70” x 48”, 2007

Agneta Hobin is best known forr impressive works in which yellow mica has been woven into metal warp; the technique and materials are the artist’s unique choises which she has been developing for over ten years.

Untitled monofilament by Kay Sekimachi

Untitled
Kay Sekimachi
monofilament
57” x 14” x 14”, circa mid-70’s
Matrix II by Chang Yeonsoon
13cy Matrix II-201022
Chang Yeonsoon
indigo dyed abaca fiber
51.75” x 10 x 12.75”, 2010

In the 70s, Kay Sekimachi used a 21-harness loom, to create sheets of mesh-like nylon monofilament. She combined these to create ethereal, hanging quadruple tubular woven forms that explore ideas of space, transparency, and movement. Only 22 of these remarkable sculptures were made.

Chang Yeonsoon uses polyester mesh as a “frame” for layers of natural abaca fiber with striking results.. Yeon soon who is a leading contemporary textile artist in Korea was selected as finalists of the LOEWE Craft Prize 2018.

And, on a large scale, check out this building of mesh filled with cork https://www.dezeen.com/2020/

01/10/gharfa-pavilion-edoardo-tresoldi-studio-studio-studio-saudi-arabia/. It’s the product of Edoardo Tresoldi who has combined sound, projections, landscaping and fabric with his signature wire-mesh sculptures for Gharfa, a large site-specific pavilion in Riyadh.

Embrace the mesh!


Make a Day of It – Visit browngrotta arts and Other Art Venues This Weekend

Eva LeWitt, Untitled (Mesh A–J) (site-specific installation view, detail), 2019 Courtesy of the artist and VI, VII, Oslo. Photo: Jason Mandella

If you are coming to Artists from the Grotta Collection: a book launch and exhibition at browngrotta arts in Wilton, Connecticut this weekend, we suggest you take advantage of a few of the area’s other cultural offerings. Eva LeWitt (b. 1985) first one-person exhibition at the Aldrich Museum in Ridgefield, just a few miles (literally)up the road from bga. The artist’s largest exhibition to date, debuts a significant, new site-specific installation commissioned by The Aldrich. Says the Museum, “LeWitt’s sculptural practice explores the visual interconnection of color, matter, shape, light, and gravity. Using materials she can control and manipulate with supporting and opposing attributes – rigid/pliable, opaque/transparent, airy/substantial, and handmade/machine built – LeWitt creates exuberant configurations that vaunt a buoyant physical agency. LeWitt’s deft sculptural arrays wondrously wed industrial materials like Plexiglas, acetate, latex, and vinyl with hand-cast and hand-dyed polyurethane foams, sponges and rubbers to form soft, sensuous, and splendidly vibrant compositions.” The artist’s first publication, with an essay by exhibition curator Amy Smith-Stewart is available http://aldrichart.org/article/eva-lewitt


On Saturday, 30+ highly-skilled artisans from across the country will be presenting their hand-crafted contemporary and traditional furnishings and wearables at the 34th American Artisan Show at the Wilton Historical Society (224 Danbury Road, Route 7). The Historical Society is also just down the road from bga — in the opposite direction. Furniture, folk art, pottery, fine leather goods, Nantucket-style baskets, candles, Windsor chairs, art, tavern signs, fine jewelry, photography, and much more – will be available for purchase at the Show. The show is fittingly set in the Society’s charming 18th and 19th century buildings. Artisan demos on Saturday. 10:00 – 5:00. Admission is $10; under 18 free. Wilton Historical Society: http://wiltonhistorical.org/events/american-artisan-show/

Grace Farms in New Canaan


Another option is a visit to Grace Farms in New Canaan (365 Luke’s Wood) which was established with the idea that space communicates and can inspire people to collaborate for good. To realize this vision, Grace Farms Foundation set out to create a multipurpose building nestled into the existing habitat that would enable visitors to experience nature, encounter the arts, pursue justice, foster community and explore faith. The architect SANAA’s goal was to make the River building become part of the landscape without drawing attention to itself. Under the continuous roof are five transparent glass-enclosed volumes that can host a variety of activities and events, while maintaining a constant sense of the surrounding environment. It sits on 80 acres, most of which are being preserved in perpetuity as open meadows, woods, wetlands and ponds. It’s open six days a week and free to the public. https://gracefarms.org/faq/

Hope to see you Saturday and Sunday or Sunday. You can visit Artists from the Grotta Collection at browngrotta arts, 276 Ridgefield Road, Wilton, Connecticut from 10 am to 5 pm either day. http://www.browngrotta.com/Pages/calendar.php


Art in situ – Helena Hernmarck at the Aldrich Museum through January 13, 2019

Helena Hernmarck describes the yarn she sources from Sweden at the opening of Helena Hernmarck: Weaving in Progress. Photo by Tom Grotta, courtesy browngrotta arts

A unique view into Helena Hernmarck’s artistic practice is on exhibit at the Aldrich Museum up the road from us in Ridgefield, Connecticut for four more weeks. In addition to showing 20 tapestries created over 40 years by Hernmarck, the Museum has replicated a wall of her studio with a large photograph, installed one of the artist’s smaller looms and invited her and her assistant, Mae Coburn, to complete a weaving onsite. We were at the well-attended opening of the exhibition and particularly appreciated the portion of the exhibit that illustrates her process – from inspiration to drawing to yarn selection to final work. As the Museum describes it: “An inventory of the wool used in the process will be on view, along with a display of materials from the artist’s archive, including photographs, watercolors, drawings, prototype samples, and other ephemera that illustrate and inform Hernmarck’s process and the evolution of her career.”

Process documents–inspiration, drawings, color swatches — preparation for a Hernmarck tapestry. Photo by Tom Grotta, courtesy browngrotta arts

In creating a work, Hernmarck plots the amount of weaving she needs to complete each day on graph paper. She told CT Post in October that when first learning to weave, she knew she wanted to create large-scale works. “I decided that if I could weave one square meter a week, I could live on it. And it’s almost true. I made it coarser [using multiple strands] so I could go faster,” she told the newspaper. That bundling has set Hernmarck’s work apart. “Depending on how she twists the strands and what colors and thicknesses she chooses, she is said to be able to give her tapestries unprecedented depth and complexity. One critical essay described them as almost pointillist,” wrote Joel Lang, “Ridgefield weaver Helena Hernmarck and her loom preside over Aldrich exhibit,” CT Post, October 18, 2018.

Exhibition view from Helena Hernmarck: Weaving in Progress, at the Aldrich Museum, Ridgefield, CT. Photo by Tom Grotta, courtesy browngrotta arts.

Working at the Museum three to four days in a row has required a slight change in approach, Hernmarck says. “It is fun that so many are coming,” including textile enthusiasts and art classes, but hard to get the weaving done as planned while answering all the questions.

Don’t miss the opportunity to see Hernmarck’s art creation in action. The Aldrich is at 258 Main Street, Ridgefield, CT 06877, Tel 203.438.4519; general@aldrichart.org.

The in-residence days are:
November: 23, 24, 28, 29, 30
December: 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, 29
January: 2, 3, 4, 10, 11, 12

Behind the Scenes: Drop Off at Helena Hernmarck’s

We recently took a trip up to Helena Hernmarck’s studio to loan back a few pieces for her upcoming solo exhibition Helena Hernmarck: Weaving In Progress at the Aldrich Museum. Located in Ridgefield, Connecticut, Helena’s studio is only a few miles from browngrotta arts.

A perfectly organized wall of color expands the entire length of the south side of Hernmarck’s studio. The wall acts as a storage for skeins of wool Hernmarck uses in her tapestries. The different skeins are precisely organized by their unique colors and tones, making it easier for Hernmarck to find a specific color when needed. Hernmarck is very particular about the quality of the materials she uses in her work. All the wool she uses is
rya wool, sourced from a specific breed of heirloom sheep in Sweden. The wool is also custom-dyed and spun to her specifications at a family-run spinning mill in Sweden, the place Hernmarck called home before emigrating to Canada, the UK and then settling in the US. Hernmarck has worked with browngrotta arts for more than 20 years, her work is included in 11 of browngrotta arts’ catalogs, including Helena Hernmarck and Markku Kosonen from 1994. Her commissions are found in dozens of corporations, museums and private collections.

Watching Hernmarck work leaves one in awe. Using a technique of her own invention, she is able to conjure details from our visual world, such as sunlight on waters and sails swelling in the wind. Every one of Hernmarck’s tapestries begin with an image, which is then blown up into her desired weaving size. From there, Hermarck plots her working plan on graph paper and produces a certain number of linear inches or feet per day so her commissions are completed on time. This technique allows Hermarck to capture even the smallest details in her weavings. Hernmarck’s attention to detail and her ability to portray subtle color variations, reflections and shadows are extraordinary. From a distance, Hermarck’s weavings look as if they are a single printed blown up photograph. On closer inspection, however, the thousands of strings of wool dissolve into interlaced pieces of warp and weft.


While visiting her studio, we also discussed her upcoming solo exhibition at the Aldrich Museum. Hernmarck never expected the Aldrich Museum’s invitation. “I did not expect to hear from them, after 38 years in town,” explains Hernmarck. “It was so positive that they were interested to show a textile artist in action. Things are changing…”Textiles have gained tremendous notoriety in the art world in recent years. Collectors, museums and art-lovers are becoming more aware of their allure.

Weaving In Progress will be the first solo exhibition of Hernmarck’s work in the United States since 2012. Given that the Aldrich is in Hernmarck’s hometown makes the exhibition all the more special. To be recognized for her accomplishments there is significant for Hernmarck. “It has been said that you can never be a prophet in your own land,” she explains.

In addition to presenting a variety of her work, Hernmarck herself will also be a part of the exhibition. During the exhibition, Hernmarck and her assistant Mae Colburn will create a work in situ, weaving three days a week in the exhibition space. The final work will be 55 inches wide and 40 inches tall, created on a five-foot-wide loom.“My assistant will be weaving with me as she is still in the learning curve,” Hernmarck says. Hernmarck’s aim for the exhibition is simple and direct. She hopes that “visitors will be inspired to do things with their hands and to get away from their computers” in this increasingly technology-focused world.