Category: Exhibitions

Art Out and About: Exhibitions Here and Abroad

It’s a fall full of cultural attractions — across the US and abroad. Hope you can take in one or two!

Tamiko Kawata’s Self Portrait, 1996 and Vertical Wave, 1986

Tamiko Kawata: Beyond Edge, Beyond Surface
November 1- 28, 2023
Opening Reception November 1 6-8 p.m.
Pollock Gallery
Meadows School of the Arts
Southern Methodist University
Dallas, Texas–opening-reception/

The artist will create an onsite installation on October 29 – 30th

Weaving at Black Mountain College:
Anni Albers,Trude Guermonprez, and Their Students
through January 6, 2023
Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center
Asheville, NC

Weaving at Black Mountain College Installation. photo by BMCM+AC staff featuring The Weaver, painted on the weaving studio door by Faith Murray Britton in 1942.

Weaving at Black Mountain College: Anni Albers,Trude Guermonprez, and Their Students will be the first exhibition devoted to textile practices at Black Mountain College (BMC). Celebrating 90 years since the college’s founding, the exhibition will reveal how weaving was a more significant part of BMC’s legendary art and design curriculum than previously assumed.

BMC’s weaving program was started in 1934 by Anni Albers and lasted until the College closed in 1956. About 10% of all Black Mountain College students took at least one class in weaving. Despite Albers’s elevated reputation, the persistent treatment of textile practices as women’s work or handicraft has often led to the discipline being ignored or underrepresented in previous scholarship and exhibitions about the College; this exhibition brings that work into the spotlight at last. The exhibition will also feature work by selected contemporary artists whose work connects to the legacies of the BMC weavers: Kay Sekimachi, Jen Bervin, Porfirio Gutiérrez, Susie Taylor, and Bana Haffar. They’ve produced a catalog for the exhibition, too, that will be available October 31st. 

Folding Silences
through November 9, 2023
D21 Art Projects
Paeo Las Palmas
Providencia, Chile

Installation shot, Folding Silences exhibition. Photo by Jorge Brantmayer.

Through November 9th, the exhibition Plegando Silencios by international artist Carolina Yrarrázaval can be visited at gallery D21. The exhibition consists of a series of 12 tapestries that the artist has worked on in recent years experimenting with materials of plant origin, mainly with coconut fiber, which is intervened to obtain suggestive reliefs, textures, and transparencies that demand a new look at the artist’s work. The creative act of dyeing, folding, and incorporating raw material is transformed into the initial structure of a textile work that s, the gallery says, “seduces and incites the search for new sensations.”

Woven Histories: textiles and modern abstraction
through January 21, 2024
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Los Angeles, CA

Ed Rossbach, Damask Waterfall, 1977, LongHouse Reserve, © Ed Rossbach, photo © Charles Benton, courtesy The Artist’s Institute. Ed Rossbach, Lettuce Basket, 1982, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Gift of Dr. Milton and Martha Dalitzky (M.2021.163.1), © Ed Rossbach, photo © Museum Associates/LACMA.

Woven Histories sheds light on a robust, if over-looked, strand in art history’s modernist narratives by tracing how, when, and why abstract art intersected with woven textiles (and such pre-loom technologies as basketry, knotting, and netting) over the past century. Included are 150 works by an international and transhistorical roster of artists that includes Ed RossbachKatherine Westphal, Anni Albers, Dorothy Gill Barnes, Kay SekimachiLenore Tawney, and Sheila Hicks. The exhibition reveals how shifting relations among abstract art, fashion, design, and craft shaped recurrent aesthetic, cultural, and socio-political forces, as they, in turn, were impacted by modernist art forms. It is accompanied by a book of essays and images, that can be purchased at

Takaezu & Tawney: An Artist is a Poet
through March 25, 2024
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
Bentonville, AK

Portrait of Lenore Tawney and Toshiko Takaezu at browngrotta arts’ exhibition Lenore Tawney: celebrating five decades of work, 2000. Photo by Tom Grotta

Takaezu & Tawney: An Artist is a Poet debuts 12 new acquisitions to the Crystal Bridges collection that tell the story of a remarkable friendship between Toshiko Takaezu and Lenore Tawney. Curated by Windgate Curator of Craft Jen Padgett, the exhibition highlights how these two women shaped craft history in the US by expanding and redefining the possibilities of their preferred mediums: Takaezu in ceramics, Tawney in weaving. Takaezu and Tawney had a close relationship for decades, from 1957 until Tawney’s death in 2007. From 1977 to 1981, Tawney lived at Takaezu’s Quakertown, New Jersey, home and the two shared studio space.

through January 14, 2024
Victoria & Albert Museum
London, UK

Louise Gray 2011. For her iconic collection ‘Up Your Look’, photo by Michael McGurk

If you are a fan of tartan (as we are), the V&A’s exhibition is for you. Tartan offers a thrilling view of over 300 mesmerizing objects showcasing tartan’s timeless appeal and rebellious spirit across fashion, architecture, art and design. See tartan worn by Bonnie Prince Charlie, a Scottish soldier’s unwashed kilt from the trenches of WWI, and the Bay City Rollers trousers handmade by a lifelong fan.

And there is always our Artsy Viewing Room that you can visit without leaving home: Glen Kaufman: Retrospective 1980 – 2010.


Visit our Artsy Viewing Rooms

We are continuing our celebration of our Fall exhibition, Vignettes: one venue, three exhibitions in three Viewing Rooms on Artsy now through December 20, 2023. 

Glen Kaufman: Retrospective 1960-2010 on Artsy

The first of these, Glen Kaufman: Retrospective 1980 – 2010.viewable through November 6th, features 50 years of work by this master weaver and designer. The expansive collection of works in the Glen Kaufman Viewing Room include double weaves, macramés, a sculpture of polypropylene and collages of fabrics gathered from flea markets in Japan. Also included are woven works silk-screened with gold, silver or copper paste — a technique Kaufman pioneered to create elegant and eloquent works that blend Eastern and Western sensibilities. The work reflects his varied career, which included teaching at at the Cranbrook Academy of Art and University of Georgia, a Fulbright in Scandinavia, work at Dorothy Liebes’s New York studio, and time spent working in Japan over 14 years.

Works by Dorothy Gill Barnes from Dorothy Gill Barnes: in collaboration with nature. Photo by Tom Grotta

The second Vignettes Viewing Room, Dorothy Gill Barnes: in collaboration with nature, will begin on November 7th and run through November 28th. In this VR, you’ll find works by Barnes, a renowned sculptor, known for weaving bark, transforming natural materials, and for her experiments with glass artists, resulting in objects that mix glass and bark and branches in intriguing ways. Among Barnes’ innovations were “dendroglyphs,” markings she’d make on live tree bark, which she allowed to develop into readable scars for months or years before harvesting and using the resulting bark “drawings” in her works.

Installation of Abundance of Objects, one of the three Vignettes exhibitions. Photo by Tom Grotta

Last, but scarcely least of the the three Viewing Rooms will be An Abundance of Objects, which will run from November 29th through December 20th. The right object in the right space has the power to prompt memories, evoke feelings, and exert a palpable energy on one’s surroundings. An Abundance of Objects celebrates that power. You’ll see an eclectic collection of sculptures, ceramics, baskets, and mixed media works that inspire awe, admiration and, sometimes, sheer delight, Notable for its diversity — 80 objects in all — An Abundance of Objects celebrates the acquisition process.

040gk Kyoto Kawara IV, Glen Kaufman, yarn-dyed woven silk, copper leaf, 15″ x 14″ x 2.5″, 1995. Photo by Tom Grotta
11mg Anointed Rank, Mary Giles, waxed linen, wire, bone, paint, gesso, 10” x 31,” 1997. Photo by Tom Grotta

Hope you’ll visit the Artsy Viewing Rooms in October, November and December. Check out the catalogs we produced for each of these exhibitions at

Fall 2023 Art for a Cause — cARTie the Mobile Art Museum

Each year, we host two exhibitions at browngrotta arts — one in the Spring; one in the Fall. With each, we try to identify a nonprofit to promote as our Art for a Cause. Our hope is to bring the group visibility and donated funds. Previous Art for a Cause groups have included

cARTie bus
cARTie at Edgewood School. Photo courtesy of cARTie.

Americans for the Arts, Ports of Cause, The Woven Community, Connecticut Institute for Immigrants and Refugees, Sunflower of Peace, and the World Affairs Council.

We are excited to announce that this Fall our Art for a Cause organization is cArtie, the mobile art museum. browngrotta arts is pledging 5% of the profits from sales during our Fall in-person exhibition, Vignettes: one venue, three exhibitions (October 7 – 15th) to cARTie, a passionate nonprofit organization committed to empowering communities through art and education. By attending our exhibition and purchasing artworks, visitors directly support cARTie’s cause. Additionally, we are collecting cash and check donations made out to “cARTie,” onsite helping us make an even greater impact.

You can also contribute online or by mail. Send your checks to cARTie, 326 Navajo Loop, Shelton, CT 06484. Your contribution, whether through art purchases or donations, goes a long way to foster creativity and education. Join us in creating a brighter future for aspiring artists and learners.

cARTie bus students
cARTie-at-Northeast-Academy-(Clare-Murray). Photos courtesy of cARTie.

More about cARTie:

  1. cARTie is Connecticut’s first and only nonprofit mobile art museum bus committed to bridging inequities in education and arts access across the state. cARTie’s programming is focused on high-school student-artists, entire communities, and PreK-2 students with limited access to the arts in education. 
  1. cARTie ensures all young children positive and prolonged early introductions to museum-based learning and opportunities for developing critical and creative thinking dispositions. 
  1. cARTie will work with 5,000+ PreK-2 students this year and 27 elementary and pre-schools across the state with limited access to the arts in education (up from 17 last year and 7 the year before). cARTie visits these partners multiple times throughout the year, to help nurture students’ critical and creative thinking, as well as their museum habits of mind.

You can learn more about about cARTie on its website:

Schedule your visit to Vignettes: one venue, three exhibitions, and its three included exhibitions, Dorothy Gill Barnes: a way with wood; Glen Kaufman Elegant Eloquence; and An Abundance of Objects on Eventbrite.

Vignettes: one venue, three exhibitions
Vignettes: one venue, three exhibitions at browngrotta arts. Photos by Tom Grotta

Vignettes opens this week: Who’s New? Lissa Hunter

1lh The Gathering, Lissa Hunter, eleven-piece nesting basket set with handmade elements, 7” x 16”, 1994.

An Abundance of Objects, this Fall at browngrotta arts, will feature The Gathering, an interesting 1994 work made by Lissa Hunter, whose work we have not shown previously at the gallery. Hunter earned a BA in painting and an MFA in fibers at Indiana University. Choosing to work in both two and three dimensions has allowed Hunter to explore numerous materials and techniques and to push her art in many directions. “Lissa Hunter’s choice of materials is modest, yet impactful.  Raffia, paper, charcoal, clay, thread and an array of natural and found objects. These seemingly ordinary elements, devoid of intrinsic value or distinctive identity, serve as the foundation for her artistic process.Techniques such as coiling, drawing, hand building, sewing and mark making elevate these unassuming materials to a realm of significance,”explains Angela Truscott of FibreArts Take Two, in its recent video interview of Hunter.

1lh The Gathering, Lissa Hunter, eleven-piece nesting basket set with handmade elements, 7” x 16”, 1994.

In the 90s, Hunter would create coiled baskets, then coat them with handmade paper, apply acrylic medium, “age” them with watercolor, and add decorative elements. The result were baskets that resembled ancient artifacts. Janet Koplos and Bruce Metcalf, the authors of Makers: A History of American Studio Craft, observed thatHunter “was looking for spiritual embodiment, and Native American objects seemed a good model. But she labeled her borrowings, so to speak, by applying a tribal pattern in crochet so it was clear that she was quoting rather than copying the traditions.” The authors conclude that Hunter “demonstrates the satisfactions of making and repeating, the pleasures of materials and the symbolic importance of objects, charting a course between the Scylla of sentimentality and the Charybdis of illustration.”

lh The Gathering, Lissa Hunter, eleven-piece nesting basket set with handmade elements, 7” x 16”, 1994.

Hunter’s work can be found in the collections of the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Museum of Arts and Design, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Racine Art Museum, Wisconsin, and the de Young Museum, San Francisco, California, among others.

See works by Hunter — and 30+ other artists — at An Abundance of Objects, part of browngrotta arts’ Fall 2023 “Art in the Barn” exhibition, Vignettes: one venue; three exhibitions this October 7th through October 15th. Reserve a time to visit on Eventbrite.

Vignettes at browngrotta arts in October: Who’s New? Joe Feddersen

We are excited to be exhibiting two basketworks by Joe Feddersen in our upcoming exhibition An Abundance of Objects (October 7-18). 

Joe Feddersen's Agressive Attitude and Roll Call Baskets
1-2jfe Agressive Attitude, 2020, Roll Call, 2018, Feddersen,, twined wax linen, 10 x 5.75″ x 5.75″; 5.25″ x 4.5″ x 4.5″. Photo by Tom Grotta

Fedderson is a widely known, highly respected, multimedia artist and member of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation. His fine art prints, paintings, baskets, glass vessels, installations, and photography, are found in several prominent museum collections, including, that of the National Museum of the American Indian. He is one of six artists featured in Sharing Honors and Burdens at the Renwick Gallery at the Smithsonian through next March. The works in the Shared Honors and Burdens exhibition are culturally specific, yet communicate across cultural boundaries, weaving together stories of resilience, heritage, and shared experiences. 

Feddersen’s work has been featured in several solo and group exhibitions, and has been written about in a number of essays, catalogs, and books including a major retrospective and monograph titled Vital Signs at the Missoula Museum in Montana in 2008. “Arising from Plateau Indian iconographic interpretations of the human-environment relationship, Curator Rebecca J. Dobkins wrote in the exhibition notes, “Feddersen’s prints, weavings, and glass sculptures explore the relationships between contemporary urban place markers and indigenous design.” From the artist’s perspective, she says, Plateau basketweaving designs have resulted from generations of people living on the land and interpreting their relationship with the land through abstraction.

Detail Joe Feddersens aggressive attitude
Detail: 1jfe Aggressive Attitude, Feddersen, twined wax linen, 10 x 5.75″ x 5.75″, 2020. Photo by Tom Grotta

As he continued developing his Plateau Geometrics series, which was featured in Vital Signs, Feddersen decided he needed a fuller understanding of basketry and began learning from his friend Elizabeth Woody, an artist and poet who was a student of weaving. He returned to the Colville Reservation and talked, too, with renowned weaver Elaine Timentwa Emerson about basket designs. Dobkins writes, “For Feddersen, her assertion that design meaning was deeply rooted in location stood out above all else. In other words, the meaning of designs depends upon who the interpreter is and where he or she is from — a very local form of indigenous exegesis. To someone else, in the next valley, the same design may have a different meaning.” 

Feddersen has spoken about imagery he uses. In, Roll Call he told Cecile Ganteaume in his interview for the Archives of American Art (Oral history interview with Joe Feddersen, 2021 April 29 and May 6. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution) the imagery “is about the world around us” like “just stopping and thinking about what’s around you.” He cites a poem by William E. Stafford, called “Tracks.” The poet was on a train and saying, “Who’s around us?” On a fresh snow, you would see the tracks. And he would say, like, “Fox is here,” and so on. To Feddersen, it was “kind of who has survived.” And so he created the uniquely modern figures in Roll Call. “[W]e have like a television person here, and an android,” he said ,… “kind of a narrative about who’s here. And it also makes me think of those high school pictures, where they have the class pictures.”

Detail Joe Feddersens Roll Call
Detail: 2jfe Roll Call (small), Joe Feddersen, twined wax linen, 5.25″ x 4.5″ x 4.5″, 2018. Photo by Tom Grotta

You can see Small Roll Call in person at An Abundance of Objects at browngrotta arts October 7 through 15. Schedule your visit here

Can’t make the exhibition? You can see the works in the An Abundance of Objects catalog, available at

Vignettes is Less Than a Month Away: Who’s New? Kogetsu Kosuge and Aya Kajiwara

In our upcoming An Abundance of Objects exhibition (part of Vignettes: one venue, three exhibitions) October 7 – 15, we are pleased to include work by two well-known Japanese basketmakers, Aya Kajiwara and Kogetsu Kosuge.

Kogetsu Kosuge and Aya Kajiwara bamboo baskets
1kko Circular Flower Basket, Kogetsu Kosuge, bamboo, 17.5″ x 5″ x 3.75″, 2000’s; 1ka Spiral Pattern Basket, Aya Kajiwara, bamboo, 8″ x 11″ x 11″, 2007. Photo by Tom Grotta

In 2000, Aya Kajiwara became the first woman admitted as a full member of the Japan Art Crafts Association. She attended the Beppu Occupational School, the foremost art school with a bamboo curriculum, studying with teachers who themselves were pupils of Living National Treasure artists (those certified as “Preservers of Important Intangible Cultural Properties”). Kajiwara’s work follows the tradition of the hanakago, baskets made for holding flower arrangements for special ceremonial ikebana. In Ikebana, these baskets are viewed as sculptures, rather than utilitarian objects. Many of her titles allude to landscape or parts of nature. Her works are composed of very narrow splits of bamboo, Kajiwara’s work has been included in the prestigious Traditional Craft Arts Exhibition several times. 

Kogetsu Kosuge bamboo basket detail
1kko Circular Flower Basket Detail, Kogetsu Kosuge, bamboo, 17.5″ x 5″ x 3.75″, 2000’s. Photo by Tom Grotta

Kogetsu Kosuge, who died in 2016, was the son of Chikudo Kosuge, a well-known bamboo artist on the Island of Sado. As a boy, Kogetsu spent many hours in his father’s studio learning bamboo basketry. In 1972, the Niigata Governor commissioned the artist to create a basket as a gift to the Emperor of Japan and six years later he became a full member of the Japan Craft Art Association.

Aya Kajiwara bamboo basket detail
1ka Spiral Pattern Basket, Aya Kajiwara, bamboo, 8″ x 11″ x 11″, 2007. Photo by Tom Grotta

He primarily uses three techniques, hineri or twisted bamboo, the pine-needle pattern called matsuba-ami and masame-wari, in which lateral cuts are used to make narrow strips of bamboo. The artist told Tai Arts in 2009, that In each piece, he tries “to reflect my deeply held spiritual feelings and beliefs.” Among his prestigious awards are the Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry Prize at Japan’s Flower and Tea Ware Art Exhibition and the Niigata Nippo Prize at the 16th Prefectual Art Exhibition. 

See works by Kajiwara and Kogetsu — and many more — at An Abundance of Objects, part of browngrotta arts’ Fall 2023 “Art in the Barn” exhibition, Vignettes: one venue; three exhibitions this October 7th through October 15th. Reserve a time on Eventbrite. You can also order the catalog for An Abundance of Objects from our website: browngrotta.com, after October 6, 2023. 

Vignettes is Less Than a Month Away – What’s New? Ceramics by Karen Karnes Join Works by Toshiko Takaezu and Yasuhisa Kohyama

In An Abundance of Objects, this October 7th through the 15th, browngrotta arts will present a truly diverse group of eclectic engaging objects. Among them will be a series of ceramics by artists regularly shown at browngrotta, Toshiko Takeazu and Yasuhisa Kohyama, and two works by new-to-the-gallery artist Karen Karnes.

1kka Green-Lidded Vessel, Karen Karnes, salt-glazed stoneware, 10″ x 14″ x 14″, 1980’s. Photo by Tom Grotta

Karen Karnes is known for her functional, yet elegant forms — wheel-thrown pieces, salt-glazed pottery, cut-lidded vessels.  “Karen Karnes was a singular, powerful artistic voice in American studio pottery. She was the rare woman who was self-supported as a potter with no institutional affiliation,” wrote the New Orleans Museum of Art, Louisiana which has collected the artist’s work. Karnes attended Brooklyn College and graduated with a major in design. She studied ceramics practice in Italy, then returned to Alfred University in New York and began a graduate program in ceramics. She left to do a two-year residency at Black Mountain College, where she worked and studied alongside artists John Cage, Robert Rauschenberg, Bernard Leach, Shoji Hamada, Josef Albers, and Peter Voulkos. In 2020, the ASU Art Museum Ceramics Research Center recognized the artist’s extraordinary life’s work in the ceramic arts with a retrospective of her work. “Karnes has been a major influence on contemporary ceramic artists,” the museum wrote, “her creative vision spans more than 50 years of artistic excellence.”

Toshiko Takaezu glazed stoneware. Photo by Tom Grotta

At browngrotta arts we have been honored to exhibit the work of Toshiko Takaezu and Yasuhisa Kohyama for some time. Takaezu was an accomplished ceramist whose work has reached a new level of international prominence in recent years. Her work was featured in the prestigious Venice Biennial in 2022. The exhibition wrote that the Hawaiian artist’s skill in the art of ceramics was honed during an extended visit to Japan on which she explored her cultural roots. “Whether larger than a person or small enough to hold in one’s palm, her wheel-thrown or hand-shaped works from the 1960s on are rounded, richly decorated, hollow objects resembling ordinary pots but not intended to hold anything. Takaezu’s elongated or spherical works almost completely enclose an empty space that is inaccessible to the gaze and, like a soul in a body, makes them unique. Even when installed in groups, as in her series …, each preserves its own totemic identity.”  The artist’s will be featured in the upcoming, Toshiko Takaezu: Shaping Abstraction, at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts, and in a large-scale touring retrospective (and catalog) organized by The Isamu Noguchi Museum and Garden Museum in Long Island City, New York in 2024. An Abundance of Objects, will include four of Takeazu’s work. 

55yk Hajibito, Yasuhisa Kohyama, ceramic, 15.5″ x 10″ x 6″, 2023. Photo by Tom Grotta

Yasuhisa Kohyama’s masterful ceramics are inspired by the ancient Shigaraki, Jomon, and Yayoi ceramics of Japan. Kohyama has played a significant part in reviving the use of the traditional Japanese anagama wood-firing kiln. He was the first potter in his area to build such a kiln since the Middle Ages. Using the distinctive Shigaraki clay and a wood-firing kiln, he has created modern ceramic vessels and sculpture, which are vigorous and new, but timeless in their beauty. Kohyama shapes his asymmetrical forms using a piano string, thereby creating distinctive, rough surfaces. The clay with its nuggets of feldspar creates a tactile quality not often seen in contemporary work. No glazes are used, but the wood ash and the placement in the kiln produce an extraordinary array of colors and shading on the surface. In the Abundance exhibition, browngrotta arts will highlight Hajibito a new work by Kohyama.

See works by Karnes, Takaezu, and Kohyama — and 30+ other artists – at An Abundance of Objects, part of browngrotta arts’ Fall 2023 “Art in the Barn” exhibition, Vignettes: one venue; three exhibitions this October 7th through October 15th. Schedule your visit on Eventbrite.

Vignettes is Less Than a Month Away: Who’s New? Neil and Francine Prince and Willa Rogers

1fnp Sea Grass Vessel, Neil and Francine Prince, sea grass, waxed linen, 6″ x 8″ x 8″; 1wr Torrey Pine Needles, Willa Rogers, pine needles, cbbage tree, waxed linen, 4″ x 8″ x 8″

This week, more on An Abundance of Objects, part of Vignettes: one venue; three exhibitions, this Fall’s exhibition at browngrotta arts (October 7 – 15). Abundance will feature works by several artists not shown before at the gallery, including basketmakers Francina and Neil Prince of the US and Willa Rogers of New Zealand.

The Princes and Rogers create vessels made of pine needles among other materials. All civilizations have created baskets — ancient Romans, Japanese, and Chinese. They predate pottery and stone carvings. The earliest example of basketry, sections of twined baskets and sandals, was found in Utah, circa 7000 BCE. Native Americans have been masterful basketmakers for centuries. The Seminoles, for example, utilized a sea shell as a sewing needle to sew bundles of pine needles together with sisal or swamp grass.The technique of creating crafts from pine needles is known as coiling. 

1fnp Detail: Sea Grass Vessel, Neil and Francine Prince, sea grass, waxed linen, 6″ x 8″ x 8″

“Both Fran and I were initially (and are continually) attracted to the coiled fiber process by the repetitive rhythmic sequence,” Neil Prince was quoted in the catalog for The Tactile Vessel exhibition, curated by Jack Lenor Larsen at the Erie Museum in New York in 1989.  “The pure structural simplicity of our construction is described by the helix, a universal mathematical principal underlying galaxies as well as DNA. A basket created from a continuous helical coil of fibers represents a personal crystallization of space and time.” An Abundance of Objects will include Sea Grass Vessel by the Princes — made of sea grass and waxed linen. “We feel as though we’re preserving part of the natural life by using what’s available to us: locally available pine needles, sea grasses and palm blooms,” Prince said. John Vanco, then-Director of the Erie Museum described its collection which includes the Princes, as “small-yet-definitive,” containing “works by virtually every key artist who has made the basket a familiar form in late 20th century art.”

Willa Rogers New Zealand Basket Stamp 2002

Willa Rogers is a well-known basket artist from New Zealand who also works with locally sourced materials. Rogers creates her contemporary basketry using a range of plant fibers she collects — pine needles, flax, watsonia, nīkau, and phoenix palm, cabbage tree, and grapevine. The country issued an Art Meets Craft series of stamps that were published in New Zealand and Sweden that includes a Maori basket by Rogers.”Through her work, which is displayed in galleries throughout New Zealand, “ the issuers wrote, “she strives to convey ‘a feeling for history and for the unknown and unsung artists of past centuries.’” The Abundance exhibition includes a pine-needle basket by Rogers, from the collection of the late Dorothy Gill Barnes.

See works by Rogers and the Princes — and dozens of other artists— at An Abundance of Objects, part of browngrotta arts’ Fall 2023 “Art in the Barn” exhibition,  Vignettes: one venue; three exhibitions this October 7th through October 15th. Reserve a time on Eventbrite.

One Month Until Vignettes. Who’s New? Gary Trentham

At browngrotta arts, we have been collecting available works by basketmaker Gary Trentham for some time. In An Abundance of Objects, part of our Fall 2023 exhibition, Vignettes: one venue, three exhibitions, we will feature several of his vessels and a grouping of his quiver-like hangings. “I cannot imagine myself making an art statement except through the techniques, ideas, and forms of basketry,” Trentham was quoted in The Tactile Vessel (Erie Art Museum, New York, 1989), the publication for the eponymous exhibition curated for the Erie At Museum by Jack Lenor Larsen.

Gary Trentham Hanging Basket Collection
9-11, 1gt Hanging Basket-1-4, Gary Trentham, coiled linen, 59″(h), Photo by Tom Grotta.

Among the artist’s best-known works are hanging, three-dimensional forms in elongated cone shapes. Trentham won a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts while teaching at Auburn University in the late 1970s. He took a summer off from teaching and devoted his time to making baskets that were meant to be suspended in the air. A series of works, inspired by Native American arrow quivers, including Hanging Baskets 1-4, were the result. The long, slender forms also evoke cocoons, as if something might be growing within the mass of tiny waving filaments.

Gary Trentham Hanging Basket
1gt Hanging Basket, Gary Trentham, coiled linen, 54″ x 3.25″. Photo by Tom Grotta.

Trentham worked in natural materials, knotting linen tightly, coiling paper, and brushing jute until it resembles silky fur. “I like simple, neutral-colored materials that let my forms show; they give me a feeling of safeness,” Trentham said. He explored a variety of techniques. Jack Larsen and Mildred Constantine describe the 1980 White Basket in their seminal book, The Art Fabric: Mainstream as, “[a] coiled basket is hidden by hundreds of braids. Their wiry crispness contrasts sharply with the outer fringe of brushed fiber, The braid yarns are attached by looping around a coils before plaiting.”

Gary Trentham Art Linen Basket
5gt Untitled Linen Basket, Gary Trentham, braiding, coiling, oblique linen, 8″ x 13″ x 13″, (flat: 6″ x 22″ x 22″), 1997. Photo by Tom Grotta.

Trentham discovered basketry while studying at the University of Indiana in Bloomington. Joan Sterrenberg, who started the basketry program at Indiana, had studied with Ed Rossbach at the University of California, Berkeley. ” I knew immediately, when I was introduced to baskets by Joan Sterrenberg, that I had found my area,” Trentham said, “and I have never failed to be excited by it.”

Gary Trentham Artwork
4gt Untitled Basket, Gary Trentham, coiled and brushed jute basket, 6″ x 16″ x 17″, 1997

Trentham participated in several important exhibitions, including the International Tapestry Biennial in Lausanne, Switzerland and traveling exhibitions The Art Fabric: Mainstream and Interlacing: the Elemental Fabric.

Several examples of Trentham’s work are included in An Abundance of Objects, part of browngrotta arts’ Fall 2023 “Art in the Barn” exhibition this October 7th through October 15th. Reserve a time on Eventbrite.

Hope to see you there!

Save the Date: Vignettes at browngrotta arts is Two Months Away

If one art exhibition is good, three exhibitions must be outstanding. That’s the theory that undergirds Vignettes; one venue, three exhibitions, browngrotta arts’ Fall Art in the Barn event in Wilton, Connecticut. From  October 7 to October 15, 2023, the gallery will offer two rooms celebrating the work of renowned weaver, surface designer, and educator Glen Kaufman, two rooms devoted to noted basketmaker and sculptor Dorothy Gill Barnes and two additional rooms featuring objects — baskets, sculptures, ceramics — by three dozen international artists.

Glen Kaufman exhibition installation. Photo by Tom Grotta

Glen Kaufman’s art experience and influences were extensive — studying, then teaching, at Cranbrook Academy of Art, a Fulbright Scholarship in Denmark, a year as a designer in Dorothy Liebes’ New York studio, and study visits to the UK.  He landed at the University of Georgia where he headed the fiber program for 20+ years, spending one-half of each year in Japan for much of that time. The work in Glen Kaufman: Elegant Eloquence, dates from the 1960s through the 2020s. It includes double weaves, macramé works, and a freestanding cylindrical form from the 60s, collages, and works of indigo, shibori, and gold leaf on paper. Several of the works Kaufman created using a Japanese technique to apply gold and silver leaf atop intricately woven damask fabric, often in a grid, to reflect disappearing Japanese architecture will be displayed. Janet Koplos and Bruce Metcalf in Makers: A History of American Studio Craft (2010) describe Kaufman’swoven and printed work from Japan as “a concept and creation entirely his own.” Both through imagery and construction, these works combine East and West. 

Dorothy Gill Barnes exhibition installation. Photo by Tom Grotta

The works in Dorothy Gill Barnes: a Way With Wood, illustrate the full range of the artist’s engaging and innovative approach to natural materials. A Way With Wood contains several dozen works from the Barnes’ personal collection including early experiments in weaving bark and other materials. There are also “dendroglyphs” made from bark that Barnes had marked on living trees and later harvested after scars had formed, and later works in which wood and glass were combined in intriguing ways. 

Abundance of Objects installation: Mary Merkel-Hess, Gary Trentham, Gertud Hals. Photo by Tom Grotta

An Abundance of Objects, filling another two rooms, presents an eclectic collection of items of varied materials and techniques. Citing the authors of How to Live with Objects, Monica Khemsurov and Jill Singer, the exhibition encourages viewers to think about their connection to the objects that surround them — how they were discovered and made and the associations they arouse, meanings they radiate and feelings they trigger. Included are silk squares by Kiyomi Iwata, a mechanical, segmented “tree” that collapses and then stands with the turn of a crank by Lawrence LaBianca, woven “quivers” by Gary Trentham, and a sculpture made from a textile cast in bronze by Eduardo Portillo and Mariá Davilá.  

Here is the complete list of artists whose work we expect to include: Dail Behennah (UK), Hisako Sekijima (JP), Tim Johnson (UK), Polly Sutton (US), Stéphanie Jacques (BE), Judy Mulford (US), Gizella Warburton (UK), Mary Merkel-Hess (US), Simone Pheulpin (FR), Lawrence LaBianca (US), Lizzie Farey (UK), Joe Feddersen (US), Toshiko Takeazu (US), Gary Trentham (US), Nancy Koenigsberg (US); Markku Kosonen (FI), Tamiko Kawata (US), Christine Joy (US), Kosuge Kogetsu (JP), Kajiwara Aya (JP), Kyomi Iwata (US), Katherine Westphal (US), Dona Look (US), John McQueen (US), Jiro Yonezawa (JP), Gyöngy Laky (US), Noriko Takimaya (JP), Gertrud Hals (NO), Jeannet Leenderste (US), Naomi Kobayashi (JP), Karyl Sisson (US), Willa Rogers (NZ), Neil and Fran Prince (US), Jin-Sook So (KO), Lewis Knauss (US), Dawn Walden (US), and Keiji Nio (JP).

Catalogs will be published for each of the three exhibitions and can be ordered from browngrotta arts in October. The Opening & Artist Reception for Vignettes: one venue; three exhibitions will take place on October 7th from 11 -6. Reservations for the exhibition can be made on Eventbrite.

See you then!