Category: Mixed Media

Influence and Evolution Introduction: Carole Frève

Detail of Open Up to You by Carole Frève. Photo by tom Grotta

Detail of Open Up to You
by Carole Frève. Photo by Tom Grotta

Influence and Evolution: Fiber Sculpture…then and now, at browngrotta arts From April 24 – May 3, 2015 will include work by Canadian artist Carole Frève, who creates vessels of blown glass and knitted wire. “From 1995 until 1999 I worked with industrial wire nettings,” says Frève. “As I felt limited by these materials, I began to knit the wire. More or less at the same moment I began to explore the technique of electro-formed copper. In 2000, I had the idea of electroforming my copper knitting

Open Up to You by Carole Freve Process Shot by Carole Freve

Open Up to You by Carole Frève Process Photo by Carole Fréve

to stiffen it and so to obtain a three-dimensional shape. Since then, I have explored several combinations of techniques to develop a personal artistic language.” Carol Fréve’s grandfather was a blacksmith in Quebec in the early 1900s, forging shoes for the horses that pulled copper from the mines. As Heather Ritchie noted in a 2007 article, ”Carole Frève: Interstices,” in Glass Quarterly, Carole was the only one of his grandchildren who would follow in his footsteps, taking up “a manual trade and working with the fire,” mixing copper and fired glass. Frève first

Carole Freve Listen To Me. Photo by Tom Grotta

Carole Frève Listen To Me. Photo by Tom Grotta

studied Industrial Design and after graduating in 1992, she completed a three-year glass program and Espace Verre in Montreal. Each of Frève’s vessels conducts, “a converasation with a semblance of itself,“ in Ritchie’s terms, “a conversation between what is and what appears to be; between what we are and the image we project…” Freve’s vessels of glass and knitted copper will be featured in Influence and Evolution, which opens at 3pm on April 24th. The Artists Reception and Opening is on Saturday April 25th, 12pm to 6pm. The hours for Sunday April 27th through May 3rd are 10am to 5pm. To make an appointment earlier or later, call: 203-834-0623.

Influence and Evolution Introduction: Gizella K Warburton

Gizella K Warburton Basket

Gizella K Warburton, Corpus Vessel IV, textile, mixed media, stitch, 5” x 14” x 14”, 2015. Photo by Tom Grotta

Gizella K Warburton is another of the artists whose work will be included in Influence and Evolution: Fiber Scuplture…Then and Now at browngrotta arts in Wilton, Connecticut from April 24th – May 3rd. Warburton creates unique objects — framed, hanging and sculptural artworks and installations, including works on slate and weathered wood grounds, printed and woven elements, and sculptural forms and vessels. She has a BA Hons (First Class), Printed, Woven & Constructed Textiles from Manchester School of Art and a Postgraduate Certificate in Arts Practice with the University of Derby. In addition to making exhibition work, Warburton has been commissioned to deliver numerous creative learning projects in partnership with Galleries and Museums and Heritage organizations. This includes roles as both practicing artist and Creative Agent with government- led initiatives such as Creative Partnerships. She has undertaken the “Artists Professional Development Programme: Developing Arts for Health” at Staffordshire University, which she credits with enriching her insight and understanding of the creative process, and its connections and impacts on human health and wellbeing.

Gizella Warburton Basket Detail

Gizella Warburton,
Corpus Vessel VI, textile, mixed media, stitch, 6” x 13.5” x 13.5”, 2015. Photo by Tom Grotta

Mark making is an intrinsic part of Gizella K Warburton’s practice: shadowed, scratched, stained, scarred, pierced, wrapped and stitched. The materiality of cloth, paper, thread, wood and paint connects her work to an innate human urge to make marks, to decipher the meaning of our physical and emotional landscapes, and the transient nature of the warp and weft of our lives. She describes the slow tactile intimacy of stitching as “a mantra.” Warburton has always found ancient and humble textiles and primitive vessel forms particularly compelling; the raw and worn simplicity of the weaving, stitching, binding and repairing bearing the patina of our human histories. She is drawn to materials that suggest a fragile balance; strength and legacy, yet with susceptibility to wear and tear, which she permeates with their own intrinsic tactile qualities. A

Gizella K Warburton Installation

Gizella K Warburton, Notes on Pale Board I-VI, textile, mixed media, stitch, weathered board, 19.5” x 81.5” x 2.25”, 2013
Ritual Form III, textile, mixed media, stitch, weathered slate, 9.25” x 11.5” x 11.5”, 2013. Photo by Tom Grotta

series of Warburton’s fabric vessels and mixed media textiles on weathered board will be featured in Influence and Evolution, which opens at 1pm on April 24th. The Artists Reception and Opening is on Saturday April 25th, 1pm to 6pm. The hours for Sunday April 27th through May 3rd are 10am to 5pm. To make an appointment earlier or later, call: 203-834-0623.

Art Event: browngrotta arts at art on paper in New York City, March 5 – 8, 2015

Karyl Sisson, Straw Skyline vintage paper drinking straws and polymer, 14.375” x 32.5” x 3”; 2013, Tom Grotta

Karyl Sisson, Straw Skyline
vintage paper drinking straws and polymer,
14.375” x 32.5” x 3”; 2013, Tom Grotta

For three days this March, browngrotta arts will present inventive works made of handmade, recycled and commercial paper by artists from North America, Europe and Asia at art on paper, Pier 36, 299 South Street, in New York City. Many artists cut, fold or print on paper. The international contemporary artists whose work browngrotta arts will exhibit at art on paper take a more immersive approach to the medium, treating it as material – stacking, molding, carving and weaving it, as others would wood, linen, clay or marble.

Mary Merkel-Hess Basket

Llano (Deep orange )
23″H x 25 x 15
Reed and paper, 2012, photo by Tom Grotta

Toshio Seikiji of Japan and Chris Drury of the UK, for example, use paper like fabric — weaving, stitching and etching on newspapers, maps and other paper to create arresting assemblages. Others of the artists featured by browngrotta arts recycle to create their works, including Kazue Honma who creates object of Japanese telephone books, Dona Anderson who creates vessels of dress pattern paper and Korean artist, Jin-Sook So who creates collages using old Korean texts. Karyl Sisson’s striking New York skyline is composed of re-purposed paper straws. Hisako Sekijima of Japan and Sylvia Seventy from the US, mold paper pulp – in Seventy’s case, to create paper bowls populated with found and other objects. Scandinavians, Jane Balsgaard of Denmark and Merja Winquist of Finland, create three-dimensional sculptures. In Balsgaard’s case, she makes the paper she uses from materials gathered near her summer home in Sweden. American Mary Merkel-Hess uses gampi paper, papier-maiche and reed to create sculptural baskets forms and bas relief wall works.

Old Paperwork Untitled, Jin-Sook So Korean schoolbook pages burnt, handmade wooden platter, gold leaf, silver leaf, painted acrylic color, 35.5” x 43.25” x .75”, 2014, Photo by tom grotta

Old Paperwork Untitled, Jin-Sook So
Korean schoolbook pages burnt, handmade wooden platter, gold leaf, silver leaf, painted acrylic color, 35.5” x 43.25” x .75”, 2014, Photo by tom grotta

Working alongside its Beneficiary Partner, The Brooklyn Museum, and its Presenting Partner, The Wall Street Journal, art on paper will focus on “the notion of what a work on paper can be”, says its director, Max Fishko. The fair, art on paper, is at Pier 36, 299 South Street, New York, New York. There is a preview on Thursday, March 5th from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and a VIP party that night from 8 to 10:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday the Fair opens at 11; Friday and Saturday it closes at 7 p.m.; Sunday at 6 p.m. For more information and to purchase tickets to the preview and party, visit: For more information on browngrotta arts’ exhibition, call Tom Grotta at browngrotta arts: 203-834-0623 or visit

Sylvia Seventy Basket

18ss PUZZLES, Syllvia Seventy
molded recycled paper, wax, jigsaw puzzle pieces, waxed shaped paper pieces, wire, beads, thread, 3.25″ x 11″ x 9.75″, 2011, photo by tom grotta

John McQueen: Established Artist Award Exhibition Opens in New York

John McQueen talking about his piece Teeter at the opening of TOO: Melinda R. McDaniel and John McQueen, the exhibition opening

John McQueen talking about his piece “Teeter” at the opening of TOO: Melinda R. McDaniel and John McQueen, the exhibition opening

Last May, John McQueen was surprised to learn he had been awarded the second annual Established Artist award (for artists over 40 years old) from the Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy, New York. McQueen, who has lived in the area for more than a dozen years, was pleased, telling Amy Biancolli of The Time Union, “You don’t know you’re up for it, so [it’s] the idea that I’m just here by myself, making stuff, and no one else in the Capital Region would even know – and suddenly I’m recognized.” Recognition has come from elsewhere before now, however. McQueen’s work is found in dozens of museums and private collections, including the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, the Racine Museum of Art in Wisconsin and the Philadelphia Art Museum in Pennsylvania. He is a Fellow of the the American Craft Council and a winner of the Master of the Medium award from the James Renwick Alliance, Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American Art, Washington D.C.

attendees viewing "Same Difference" by John McQueen

attendees viewing “Same Difference” by John McQueen

TOO: Melinda R. McDaniel and John McQueen, the exhibition that accompanies the award, opened on Friday, January 30th at the Arts Center. McDaniel is the winner of the companion Emerging Arist award for 2014. In TOO, the two artists work in repetition within their chosen materials, meticulously creating pieces that concentrate on form and texture. McQueen’s three-dimensional works are made of natural

John McQueen Reading from his piece "Bird Brain" at TOO: Melinda R. McDaniel and John McQueen

John McQueen Reading from his piece “Bird Brain” at TOO: Melinda R. McDaniel and John McQueen

materials — twigs, bark, cardboard — he prides himself on not needing to go the arts supply store. In Too, his several-part sculpture, Teeter, includes shingles from a lake house and a hand, originally created as the mold for another project. Raillery is made of the corrugated cardboard that surrounded a Murphy bed. McQueen’s works invoke word and world associations. Some of these are made by the viewer, others are there in the artist’s intent. In Same Difference, for example, the juxtaposition of detailed sculptures of the Hindu god, Ganesh, a bonsai and a sump pump is visually engaging. When McQueen explains the simple and smart connection amongst the three —all soak up water, through a trunk, root system or a pump — the work can be appreciated on additional level. For Bird Brain, one is initially awed by the form — a book of cursive words created of tiny willow twigs tied with waxed linen — then challenged to decipher the names, like “Frogmouth,” and “Lyre bird.”

You have until March 31st to see TOO: Melinda R. McDaniel and John McQueen, Or see browngrotta arts’ online folio of the John McQueen works in the exhibition at:

Catalog News – Of Two Minds: Artists Who Do More Than One of a Kind


Of Two Minds: Artists Who Do More Than One of a Kind Exhibition Catalog Cover

Of Two Minds: Artists Who Do More Than One of a Kind Exhibition Catalog Cover

Hot off the presses is our 42nd catalog, Of Two Minds: Artists Who Do More Than One of a Kind. The 76-page full-color volume features 87 images of work by 25 international artists in textiles, glass and mixed media. The introductory essay, Transcendence: Language, Universality and the Plastic Arts was written by  Elisabeth R. Agro, the Nancy M. McNeil Associate Curator of American, Modern and Contemporary Craft and Decorative Arts at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. “Artists retain their own language of making and identity within but share a universal nonverbal language that communicates formation, movement, attitude and meaning,” she writes. In Of Two Minds: Artists Who Do More Than One of a Kind,  “[a]rt and language are intertwined as conveyances of communication.” Order a copy for $35.00 plus tax and shipping from browngrotta arts at

Process Notes: Marian Bijlenga, Musings on 30 Years of Work To Date; 30 More to Go

photo by Marian Bijlenga

Marian Bijlenga PortraitDutch artist, Marian Bijlenga, recently compiled this group of miniatures reflecting 30 years of her artistic career, which she reckons is just a halfway point. Below she talks about her process, adapted from an interview by Manufactured Design By Architects (MDBA). The Spanish firm creates spaces that stir emotions and locates decorative elements and furniture to suit. It sources artists, like Marian Bijlenga, who inspire its work and interviews them at MDBY. MDB Architects.


Blue Holes, DetailI studied at the textile design department of Rietveld Art Acdaemy in Amsterdam (1977-1982), but I developed the techniques I use myself. When I studied textiles, I began by learning to weave, but for me, weaving was too slow. It took a lot of time before you could start, and I did not like the technique. I was looking for a more direct way of working. I took the threads held by the loom and began instead to make drawings, stiffening the fiber by dipping it in glue. 1986-1994.AMeander DetailIt was a much freer technique. But glue and thread are not very durable, so I was looking for a material that was stiff on its own, and discovered the horsehair. The fiber provides the necessary strength and flexibility to construct embroidered compositions of lines and dots.
JAPAN 3 DetailMy work is less preplanned and more of a natural process: it grows. The production may seem as painstaking as weaving, but it is the immediacy of the process that is important to me. I make one element and give it a place on my wall, and then I make another element, so the work grows until I like it. The work itself is meticulous, but I see the construction of each individual element as just the beginning. After I have the pattern pinned on my wall, then the real work starts. In the beginning, it is like playing. Then, finally, I use water-soluble fabric and make a drawing on it, so I know how to attach the pieces. Then I use monofilament to attach the small pieces to each other, and finally it all becomes one big piece. You only need some pins at the top of the piece to hang it on the wall. When seen with the right amount of natural light, the work seems to float just in front of the wall, defying gravity.

Palimpsest 1, DetailMuch of my early work was inspired by calligraphy, but I explored the positive and negative, abstracted shapes created by calligraphic forms, instead of its narrative possibilities, It is very interesting when I cannot read the words — the rhythm of the writing, the space between the letters and the connections between the lines. It is still a source of inspiration, but my work has grown more abstract. Nature is more important than writing. Small circles, ovals and streaks grow into compositions that map positive and negative space.
 I am fascinated by dots, lines and contours, by their rhythmical movements and the empty spaces they confine. The shadow on a white wall is an essential part of my work. By leaving some space between my structure and the wall, the object is freed from its background and interacts with the white wall. I need the silence of a white wall.
COLOR DOTS SPRING ZEELAND DetailAdvice I’d give to others: Be guided by what happens around you. Don’t try too hard to direct, plan, master everything. For me, it is more important to be led by what crosses your path, the accidental encounter, things that happen outside yourself.

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


Aura, 2006 artwork and photo by Anda Klancic

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

Growth, 2002 by Anda Klancic, photo by Tom Grotta

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

Looking Forward/Looking Back: Dona Anderson

20da Re-Tire, Dona Anderson, tire chain, netting and window screen, 8.5″ € x 16.25″ €x 14.5″ , 2011

“Wow, 25 years in the art business is pretty remarkable. Not only that—it’s successful. One of the challenges I enjoyed (among many) was your request for work for Stimulus: art and its inception. Finding my “Stimulus” was fun for me. Walking through my neighborhood everyday, I took care to find that special something that appealed to my imagination. When I saw a rusty piece of metal wire tweaking out from a pile of dirt, my heart soared with possibilities. No one even knew what it had been until I cleaned it—a tire chain I turned into a basket. This is only one of the many opportunities you have provided for your artists over the years. I am grateful for all of them — including your encouragement, enthusiasm and innovative marketing experience!”
Dona Anderson
September 2012

25 at 25 at SOFA NY Countdown: Sue Lawty

CALCULUS Detail, Sue Lawty

At SOFA NY 2012, browngrotta arts will exhibit stone drawings and weavings of lead and linen by UK artist Sue Lawty. Lawty’s constructed pieces and drawings in two and three dimensions explore repetition and interval in raffia, hemp, linen, lead, stone or shadow.

While an artist in residence at the the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in 2005, Lawty collaborated on a project “Concealed-Discovered-Revealed” with the theme of structure and landscape. Lawty used the opportunity to explore and extend her textile vocabulary by creating a large site-specific stone drawing Order, that moved beyond the constraints of a frame. The 6-meter linear pieced drawing of fine stones wavered along the wall’s surface, like a woven structure. Eventually, Origin was removed to The Haymarket Hotel in London.

15sl CALCULUS, Sue Lawty, natural stones on gesso, 78.75″ x 118″, 2010

At SOFA NY, browngrotta arts will exhibit a more recent stone drawing by Lawty, Calculus. At first glance, Calculus appears simple — like a painting of many dots of many sizes.  On closer inspection, you realize that the 2 meter by 3 meter surface actually contains hundreds, perhaps thousands, of tiny stones, each smoothed by the sea and hand sorted to create what Emma Crichton-Miller has called a “beautifully choreographed march past the ignored.” Calculus is the Latin word for small stone as well as the name of a branch of mathematics based, like Lawty’s work, on the sum of infinitesimal differences. Lawty’s work  has appeared in numerous exhibitions in the UK and abroad, including the International Triennial of Tapestry in Lodz, Poland; the Bankfield Gallery and Museum in Halifax, UK; the Victorian Tapestry Workshop in Melbourne, Australia and the Cheney Cowles Memorial Museum in Spokane, Washington.  On Friday, April 20th from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Lawty will present a lecture at SOFA NY, Rock – Linen – Lead,  about her work and her engagement with remote landscape, geology and the passage of time.





Who Said What: Josef Albers

Josef Jose“If one says Red—the name of color—and there are fifty people listening, it can be expected that there will be fifty reds in their minds. And one can be sure that all these reds will be very different.”

—Josef Albers