Category: SOFA

25 at 25 at SOFA NY Countdown: Masako Yoshida

Kuu #441 Masako Yoshida (detail), photo by Tom Grotta

Sculptures of bark by Masako Yoshida are among the works that browngrotta arts will feature at SOFA NY. The constructions Yoshida envisions are built by interlacing sheets of walnut bark with string made of nettle. “I consider myself a member of society who wants to make works that open into the new world earnestly, one step at a time,”  Yoshida finds that her work provides her “a means of release, allowing the truth to emerge and open the mind. In the process, I ask myself, ‘what is my connection to society?'” Yoshida has studied basketmaking with noted teacher and artist, Hisako Sekijima.

11my Kuu#441, Masako Yoshida;, walnut and maple, 20.5″€ x 12″€ x 4.25″€, 2007-2010, photo by Tom Grotta

She graduated from Musashino Art University, majoring in textiles and has since worked there as instructor. She has also taught at Tamagawa Institute. Her work has been exhibited at the Nagoya Trade and Industry Center (In Our Hands) Japan; Iwasaki Museum of Art, Yokohama, Japan; Megro City Museum, Japan; Takashimaya Department Store (Amu Kumu solo exhibition); Tachikawa, Japan; Nuno Annex Exhibition (solo, traveling exhibition); Wayne Art Center, Pennsylvania (Green for the Get Go).


25 at 25 at SOFA NY Countdown: Chang Yeonsoon

Matrix II-201011 Detail, Chang Yeonsoon, photo by Tom Grotta


“Encountering the real self through meditation is at the core of my work,” explains Korean artist Chang Yeonsoon. Yeonsoon is one of the artists that browngrotta arts will feature at SOFA New York. She was Artist of the Year at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul in 2009. Four works from Yeonsoon’s Matrix series will be displayed at SOFA. The works in the series “derive from the oriental perspective that observes the human mind and body as unified. These fiber artworks  represent my own Korean formative language. In them, I minimize my body while my mind fills with abstract ideas. To transform the abstract idea into a three-dimensional structure requires a 12-step process that includes starching, ironing, cutting and sewing sparsely woven abaca fiber after dyeing it with indigo. The process of production involves an extreme level of concentration and a training of mind and body. As the work emerges, I feel myself being purified as I become one with the abaca fiber.”

Matrix Series by Chang Yeonsoon, photo by Tom Grotta

Yeonsoon’s work has been exhibited extensively in Asia and the US, including at  the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea (artist of the year exhibition); Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois; Insa Art Center, Seoul, Korea; Dowaru Gallery, Fukuoka, Japan; Museum of Ewha Women’s University, Seoul, Korea; Art Center for The Foundation of Korean Culture & Arts, Seoul; Moyer Arts & Crafts Center, Seoul, Korea; Museum of Arts & Crafts, Itami, Japan; Pittsburgh Arts Center, Pennsylvania; Daegu Convention Center, Korea; Honolulu Academy of Arts, Hawaii; Marronnier Art Center, Seoul, Korea; Cheongju Crafts Center, Korea; Korea Economic Daily, Seoul, Korea.

25 at 25 at SOFA NY Countdown: Deborah Valoma

The work


The work of Deborah Valoma, artist and Associate Professor of Textiles and Graduate Fine Arts at the California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco and Oakland, California will be featured in browngrotta arts‘ display at SOFA New York. Valoma has dedicated her artistic and academic career to the medium of textiles—to advancing its historical legacy, cultural meanings, and artistic potential.In 1978, Valoma graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California at Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology. In 1995, she earned a Master of Fine Arts in Textiles with High Distinction from CCA.  Valoma served as CCA’s Director of Fine Art from 2008 to 2011. She will return to the position of  Chair of the Textiles Program at CCA , which she heldfrom 2005 to 2008, this Fall. “Intensely research based,” Valoma says, “my creative work hugs the edges of tradition, simultaneously upholding age-old custom and unraveling long-held stereotypes of the genre.” At SOFA, browngrotta arts will display Femininity, in which Valoma reworks – literally — Sigmund Freud’s observation that women have made few contributions to civilization except as weavers, and that only because of an obsession with their pubic hair. “As I painstakingly wove Sigmund Freud’s infamous quote letter by letter,” Valoma explains, “my hands caressed the words in an ironic, yet fierce, gesture of unwriting.”

27dv FEMiNINITY Deborah Valoma waxed linen, compter aided weave structure, hand woven, stitched 33′ x 2.5″, 2008

Valoma’s work has been exhibited at the Textile Museum, Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art ; De Young Museum of Art, San Francisco, California; Blanden Memorial Art Museum, Iowa; Gulbenkin Foundation, Lisbon, Portugal; Oliver Art Center, California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland; North Carolina State University Museum, Raleigh; Hoffman Gallery, Oregon School of Arts and Crafts, Portland; Ginza Art Space, Tokyo, Japan; and Montclair State University, New Jersey .

25 at 25 at SOFA NY Countdown: Klaus Titze

Klaus Titze, TURNING TORSO, photo by tom Grotta

Klaus Titze is one of the artists whose work will be displayed by browngrotta arts at SOFA NY.  The German artist now makes his  home in Denmark.  “Living on the Danish island of Møn,” he says,  “I am fascinated by the white chalk cliffs falling dramatically towards the Baltic Sea.  Chalk slides expose fossils formed in many kinds of shapes.” Inspired, Titze designs and creates works in a special twisting technique he has developed in which willow is twisted to create thick “ropes.” He then covers the willow with concrete, evoking the illusion of fossils in chalk. The ultimate step in the process is burning the willow to imprint this unique structure into the concrete, which acts as a shell. By firing the willow until it almost disappears, Titze creates structures that highlight sculptural and architectural elements. Concludes Art Aurea online magazine, “The unusual baskets thus created have been deprived of their age-old function, presenting themselves instead as breathtaking, independent works of art….The feminine shape, contrast to the coarse structure.”

2kt Klaus Titze TURNING TORSO willow, burnt fiber cement 29″ x 13.5″ x 13.5″, 2011, photo by Tom Grotta

Titze’s work has appeared at Grønbechs Gard, Bornholm, Denmark (solo exhibition); Roskilde City Hall, Denmark; Grassi Museum Leipzig, Germany; the National Crafts Council, Kilkenny, Ireland; Trapholt Museum, Kolding, Denmark; Landart Lolland-Falster, Denmark; Munich, Germany; Wayne Art Center, Pennsylvania. He received the Best One-of-a-Kind Object, award at the Arts and Crafts Fair, Copenhagen, Denmark and the Bavarian State Prize, Meister der Moderne, Munich, Germany.

25 at 25 at SOFA NY Countdown: Grethe Sørensen

RUSH HOUR SHANGHAI Detail, Grethe Sorensen, photo by Tom Grotta


Grethe Sørensen of Denmark is one of the artists whose work will be featured by browngrotta arts at SOFA NY.  Eighteen large weavings by Sørensen were  the subject of a dramatic installation at the Round Tower in Copenhagen, Denmark earlier this year. The works for the exhibition,  Traces of Light: A Sensory Image of City Light, began with an unfocused camera that created images of a poetic universe based on headlights, traffic lights, shops and advertising signs, Sørensen transformed thse images into Jacquard weavings. The granular colored spots that result,  the artist explains, may be “conceived as a picture of the throbbing life of the city seen on cellular level, or as a visual expression of another dimension.” Works from the Traces of Light series will be featured at SOFA NY.

RUSH HOUR SHANGHAI, Grethe Sorensen, handwoven cotton, 28″ x 38″, 2011, by Tom Grotta

Sørensen’s work has been exhibited in numerous corporate, public and private venues, including the Museum for Applied Art, Copenhagen, Denmark; Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Paris, France; Maison de la Culture d’Arlon, Luxembourg; (Nordic Textile Triennials); South Jutland Museum of Art, Tønder, Denmark; Institute for Industrial Design, Warsaw, Poland; Museum of Art, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Museum of Decorative Arts and Design, Ghent, Belgium; Lane Municipal Gallery, Erfurt, Germany; Museum of Art, Ein Harod, Israel; Nagoya, Japan; North Dakota Museum of Art, Grand Forks; Maison de la Culture d’Arlon, Luxembourg;  Academy of Art & Design, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China and Trondor Engineering in Norway.

25 at 25 at SOFA NY Countdown: Jin-Sook So


At SOFA NY,  browngrotta arts will present the work of Korean artist Jin-Sook So who will attend the exposition in New York. Since 1984, So has been using transparent steel mesh cloth, which she burns, paints, electroplates  in gold or silver, sews and shapes to create sculptural and wall pieces. In creating Steel Mesh Untitled, which will be exhibited at SOFA, So was inspired by Korea’s landscape. She has been an artist-in-residence at the Youngeun Museum outside of Seoul for the last year.

46jss Steel Mesh Untitled Jin-Sook So, steel mesh, gold-leafed and painted acrylic, charcoal, ink colors, electroplated, 17.75″€ x 16.5″€ (each), 2011, photo by Tom Grotta

So’s work has been exhibited extensively in the US and abroad, including at the Röhsska Arts and Crafts Museum, Göteborg, Sweden; Nationalmuseum, Osaka, Japan; Skissernas Museum, Lund Sweden; Brooklyn Museum, New York; National Museum, Stockholm, Sweden; Museum of Arts and Design, New York, New York; Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pennsylvania; Kulturhuset, Stockhom, Sweden; Museé d’Angers, France; Kwang-Ju City Museum, Korea; Lane Municipal Gallery, Erfurt, Germany; Savaria Museum, Szombathely, Hungary; Academy of Arts & Design, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China.

25 at 25 at SOFA NY Countdown: Naoko Serino

4ns Generating-4 detail, Naoko Serino, photo by Tom Grotta

At SOFA NY browngrotta arts will present two dramatic works of jute by Japanese artist Naoko Serino. “Jute is attractive as it is, transient but also solid,” explains Serino. “Transforming jute into a fibrous material, I feel that the possibilities of expression have opened up and been induced, and eventually a three-dimensional expression is born, containing both light and air.” In creating  Generating-3, which will be displayed at SOFA New York, Serino was inspired by a Philodendron selloum bud and flower that she tended for 22 years before it bloomed, for just one day. Serino was taken by its strength and beauty.

4ns Generating-4, Naoko Serino, jute, 39″ x 39″ x 6.5″, 2012, photo by Tom Grotta

Generating-4, a standalone sculpture of jute that is more than three feet high will also be displayed at SOFA NY. “When my inner memory is stimulated,” Serino says, “I turn the fundamental illusion into a ‘shape’ and  I am able to enjoy interacting with shapes far beyond my imagination.” Serino’s’s work was included in the Fiber Futures: Japan’s Textile Pioneers exhibition which traveled from Japan to the Japan Society in New York last year. her work has also appeared in the Museum Rijswijk,  Haag, the Netherlands; Kajima Ki Building, Tokyo, Japan; Church of San Francesco, Como, Italy; Musée des Beaux Arts, Tournai, Belgium;  Gwangju Art Museum,Korea;  Academy of Arts & Design, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China;  Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan; Urasoe Museum, Okinawa, Japan;  and St. Amandsberg Chapel, Ghent, Belgium.


25 at 25 at SOFA NY Countdown: Hisako Sekijima

Intersection IV detail by Hisako Sekijima, photo by Tom Grotta

Japanese artist Hisako Sekijima is one of the 25 that browngrotta arts will promote at SOFA New York this year.   Sekijima has led the sculptural-basketry movement in Japan through her experimentation. She has expanded beyond her mastery of traditional techniques to offer new approaches to volume, mass, and space and new insights on the work of earlier times and ancient peoples. As Nancy More Bess has observed, Sekijima  is one of a distinguished few fiber artists, like Arai, Larsen, Liebes, McQueen, Rossbach–  who can be acclaimed as having changed perspectives on fiber.( “Hisako Sekijima: Explorer of Fiber Boundaries,” Nancy Moore Bess, Fiberarts, Summer 2002), “Sekijima has moved against popular current for more than 20 years…” Bess wrote.

523hs Intersection IV, Hisako Sekijima, walnut, plaited14.5″€ x 19″€ x 3.75″€, 2006, photo by Tom Grotta

“She was the exception–in Western terms, the renegade. Although now respected by many in Japan, sought after as adviser and authority, she remains outside the formal hierarchy of traditional basketry there. Her recognition, for now, comes from other highly regarded artists, her former students, collectors who earnestly vie for her newest work, gallery owners, and art authorities (including Jack Lenor Larsen, Rupert Faulkner, and Janet Koplos).” Sekijima’s work was included in the Fiber Futures: Japan’s Textile Pioneers exhibition which traveled from Japan to the Japan Society in New York last year.  Sekijima’s work has also been exhibited at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan; Yokohama Museum of Art, Japan; Victoria & Albert Museum, London, England; Museum of Arts and Crafts, Hamburg, Germany; Wakayama Prefectural Museum of Modern Art, Japan; Racine Art Museum, Wisconsin; Academy of Design, Kuopio, Finland and the Bellevue Art Museum, Washington.


25 at 25 at SOFA NY Countdown: Heidrun Schimmel

Day and Night Detail by Heidrun Schimmel, photo by Tom Grotta

Day and Night by German artist Heidrun Schimmel is one of the works that browngrotta arts will exhibit at SOFA NY in April. Schimmel is interested in the connection between fiber/fabric/textile and the human being. Mythologically, she notes, thread is connected to human existence. Its length and quality are metaphors for the duration and character of our lives, thus the expression, “…hanging by a thread…” Schimmel takes her ideas from the special characteristics of textiles, such as softness, flexibility, fragility. Her  working process is very simple: she stitches by hand using white cotton thread on transparent black silk or cotton fabrics. From the tensions between the multiple thread layers result deformations: the work itself finds its final form through the combination of control and chance.This focus on “material as matter” results in forms that cannot be projected in advance. Day and Night was specifically influenced by the work of Japanese designers Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto whose work has inspired Schimmel since the 1980s.

29hsc Day and Night Heidrun Schimmel, white cotton thread, black transparent silk fabric, 71″€ x 34″€ x 7″€, 1995/2010, photo by Tom Grotta

Schimmel’s work has been exhibited in numerous venues in Europe Asia and the US, including the Institute of Modern Art, Nuremberg, Germany; Williamson Art Gallery and Museum, Birkenhead, England; Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pennsylvania; Museum of Arts and Design, New York, New York; Sonje Museum of Contemporary Art, Kyongju, Korea; Quinta Isabela Museum, Valencia, Venezuela; Central Museum of Textiles, Lodz, Poland; and the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, England.

25 at 25 at SOFA NY Countdown: Lija Rage

Animal, Lija Rage, photo by Tom Grotta

At SOFA NY this April, browngrotta arts will introduce the work of Latvian artist Lija Rage. Rage’s work is influenced by different cultures that she plunges into with the help of literature. Rage says she is  particularly interested in drawings of ancient cultures on the walls of caves in different parts of world; Eastern culture with its mysterious magic, drawings of runes in Scandinavia, Tibet and the mandala, Egyptian pyramid drawings. “World culture,”she says, “seems close and colorful to me due to its diversity.” For Rage’s work Animal, one of two that browngrotta arts will display at SOFA NY, Rage was inspired by prehistoric cave drawings. These drawings illustrate myths, Rage explains, “not only about our past, but about masculine and feminine, about pagans and Christians, about God and good and evil and about the eternal meaning of human existence.” Rage used silk and copper threads in Animal, to illustrate the mystical effect that cave drawings have on her.

Animal, Lija Rage, silk, metallic thread, flax, 46″ x 65″, 2006 photo by Tom Grotta

Rage’s work has been exhibited in numerous venues including the Decorative + Applied Art Museum, Riga, Latvia; Contemporary Art Museum, Liege, Belgium; Cheongju, Korea; Artist Union of Latvia Art Collection, Riga; Art Museum of Oulu, Finland; Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester, England; Exhibition Hall Arsenals, State Museum of Art, Riga, Latvia; Beauvais, France; Artist Union Gallery Riga Latvia ; Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design, Tallinn, Estonia; Riga Gallery, Latvia; Kaunas, Lithuania; UNESCO Exhibition Hall, Paris, France.
Rage received the Special Prize in the 5th Cheongju International Craft Biennial and the Grand Prix, at the Baltic Applied Art Triennial.