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Art Assembled: New This Week in August

There are few things we enjoy more than introducing you all to the brilliant art of the artists we have the honor to work with. This month, we showcased the work of artists: Heidrun Schimmel, Caroline Bartlett, Sue Lawty, Zofia Butrymowicz, and Włodzimierz Cygan. Read on to see what these artists have been busy creating!

Heidrun Schimmel
1hsc Behind the Lines of Thread, Heidrun Schimmel, cotton, steel, paper, 55″ x 74″ x 3.5″, 2004. Photo by Tom Grotta.

This German artist, Heidrun Schimmel, consistently impresses us with her detailed, handstitched artwork. Her ideas often stem from the soft, unstable and flexible qualities of the textile materials she works with. For the realization of her ideas, she stitches white cotton thread by hand onto transparent silk; which she has noted to be the simplest material and simplest technique: the stitch.

When asked about her process, Schimmel stated:

“Stitching by hand exclusively, I take my ideas from specific qualities of the thread and the stitching process. Behind the Lines of Thread shows the so-called “left side” of the thread lines. The tensions between these thread lines protect the “right side,” which the viewer cannot see. Each piece has its own individual shape and at the same time it enters into a relationship with all the other parts. “

Caroline Bartlett
21cb Every Ending has a New Beginning, Caroline Bartlett, hand-painted and mono-printed, stitched and manipulated linen, cotton threads 30” x 96”, 2021. Photo by Tom Grotta.

Up next, we have the innovative work of UK textile artist, Caroline Bartlett. With textiles at the core of her practice, Bartlett’s artwork is often created in reference to historical, social and cultural associations. Bartlett’s practice is driven by questions – for example around the tensions between personal recollection and the public ways of remembrance and the potential of materials and objects to trigger recollection and association.

“As age and experience expand, I find myself more aware of how I work,” said Caroline Bartlett. “I continue to actively need fresh challenges while knowing and recognizing limitations of self and the art world in general. Again the push/pull. No room for complacency.”

What a profound lens into her creative practice!

Sue Lawty
Sue Lawty 30sl Tacitum II hemp and linen on cotton warp 11.75” x 8.5” x 1″, 2022. Photo by Tom Grotta.

Tacitum II was created by acclaimed artist, Sue Lawty. Lawty is an England-based artist who is widely known for her meticulous exploration of the mediums she works with.

She has charted the journey of her understated and abstract works – stating that they are strongly influenced by a comprehensive engagement with remote landscape, geology and the passage of time.

Lawty’s work is rooted in the emotional, spiritual, and physical engagement with land through construction and repetitive structure, and the inspired creation behind her pieces shows!

Zofia Butrymowicz
7zb Marco, Zofia Butrymowicz, wool, 37″ x 34″, 1966. Photo by Tom Grotta.

This next piece holds a special place in our hearts as it comes from the late Zofia Butrymowicz. Butrymowicz has been recognized globally for her innovative works in the ‘60s and ‘70s – often using thread she spun herself in Poland during the post-war period when supplies were in a great shortage.

This work is made from wool sourced from Canadian artist, Mariette Rousseau-Vermette. Back in 1969, Butrymowicz visited Canadian weaver, Mariette Rousseau-Vermette and her husband, painter and ceramicist, Claude Vermette, outside Montreal where the couple lived and worked. Zofia stayed with the Vermettes for several months, using Mariette’s looms to create tapestries that were displayed with Claude’s ceramics at a local gallery.

To create this piece, Zofia “painted” the weavings made from Canadian wool with colors and shadings of yarns, including only a shimmering suggestion of a shape, often a circle, as she had done in other tapestries, but the glisten and sumptuousness of the yarn from Rousseau-Vermette used in this particular piece sets it apart from her other works.

19wc NOW, Włodzimierz Cygan, wool, sisal, 124″ x 62″, 2000. Photo by Tom Grotta.

Last, but not least, we highlighte the work of Włodzimierz Cygan. Cygan is known globally for his textile innovations. Growing up, Cygan lived in a city in Poland called Łódź, which has very strong textile traditions that inspired him to create the works of art you see today.

“When trying to determine why the means of artistic expression in tapestry was becoming archaic,” said Cygan, “I realized that one of the reasons might have to do with the custom of treating the threads of the weft as the chief medium of the visual message. . . . These observations led me to wonder how the artistic language of textiles might benefit from a warp whose strands would not be parallel and flat but convergent, curved or three dimensional ….”

As a result of these explorations, in some of Cygan’s works, the warp changes direction, enabling the weaving of circles or arcs.

We hope you enjoyed learning about these prominent contemporary artist.s If you like what we have highlighted this month, keep your eye out for more – we keep them coming every week.

In the meantime, mark your calendar for our upcoming Art in the Barn event, Allies for Art: Work from NATO-related countries (October 8-16, 2022), it’s an event you won’t want to miss! Click here for more information and to reserve your spot.


Art as Far as the Eye Can See — Global Sourcing for Handcrafted Works

Happily, craft is resurgent, appreciation at a high point. The focus at browngrotta arts is art — one-of-kind, museum-quality art works made with attention to the hand and technique. But we are also advocates of adding handcrafted and mindfully made items to enhance every aspect of one’s life. 

From The Grotta Home by Richard Meier: a marriage of architecture and art: plates: Edgar and Joyce Anderson, Richard Meier, James Makins, William Wyman, Lenore Tawney; centerpiece: Andreas Fabian; flatware (front): John Horn. Photo by Tom Grotta

We were involved with The Grotta Home by Richard Meier: a marriage of architecture and art (Arnoldsche Art Publishers, Stuttgart, Germany, 2019) — the book and the lives it chronicles. The book tells the story of Sandy and Lou Grotta who created, as Glenn Adamson explained, “a place for living with things, as well as looking at them, a place where craft can be appreciated for all its qualities: not just its stylistic and conceptual aspects, but how it feels in the hands.” (“A Vessel for Living,” The Grotta Home, p. 146). From tableware to pillows and throws, baskets for storage, and handmade furniture, clothing and even walking sticks, the Grottas chose things they loved to fit into a home they loved. When the Grottas began acquiring craft items 60 years ago it was a challenge to find working craftspeople — they did a lot of research. Today, however, thanks in part to the internet, it is easier to find such work. “Helped by this ease of distribution, a whole new generation of artisans is emerging,” says Adamson,”whose commitment to form and function recalls (and in many cases is directly inspired by) the great work produced in America in the 1950s and 1960s.”

Here, we suggest some sources that have caught our attention — but there are so many more. Use this as just a suggestive first step … set off on an exploration of your own, the journey, as the Grottas found, was more than half the fun.

Computer science, computing, student crafts, weaving at Berea College. which offers an academic program involving craft products. Photo by Crystal Wylie

Contemporary furniture and housewares brand, Design Within Reach, profiled Berea College in February. The College, in Kentucky, was founded by an abolitionist minister in 1855, was the first interracial, coeducational college in the South. It’s now tuition-free via a work-study arrangement, featuring a crafts program in which students create weaving, woodworking, and ceramics products that are then sold to help support the school. Remarkably, no student pays tution. In 2018, the College invited industrial designer Stephen Burks to collaborate. “Today, student craft is no longer just a factory of student labor,” he told DWR, “as it had been for nearly 100 years, but is transitioning into an academic program producing open-ended products.” The Crafting With Diversity collection is the result. Sold exclusively through DWR, it offers crafts interpreted in a modern way – for example, the Community Basket, fashioned from white oak bands joined together by sturdy aluminum links, or the striking Pixel table linens made of handwoven cotton. The full proceeds from all sales of the Crafting Diversity Collection will benefit Berea College. 

DWR has also partnered with Bolé Road Textiles which creates modern reinterpretations of traditional Ethiopian weaving motifs using heritage craft techniques. To realize her vision, founder Hana Getachew, born in Addis Abba and now in New York, enlists a network of Ethiopian weaving collectives and emerging women-led businesses in this growing handwoven industry. The resulting textiles are a testament to Ethiopia’s generational weaving traditions, its centuries-old craft techniques, and Getachew’s ambition to preserve and develop this rich legacy. “My long-term vision is to transform the industry into something that young weavers aspire to enter,” says Getachew. “I’d like to see handweaving be admired and considered a skilled and valuable profession. It needs to be treasured and recognized for what it is: an art form.”

The Selvedge Marketplace — a portion of its ARTISANS 2021.

The artisan marketplace offered by selvedge magazine is a global A to Z — Argentina to Zambia — source for consciously created works. There are portraits of the artisans and talks and  videos on the selvedge website. You’ll find dozens of objects that interest and delight there — from exuberant baskets by Baba Tree Basketry in Ghana and Canada to exquisite sweaters created by Maria Abdala Zolezzi, Knitwear & Weaving from Argentina.

A US craftsman that we’ve been watching for several years is Doug Johnston who creates coiled baskets and bowls.

Torse set by Doug Johnston, 2013. Photo by Doug Johnston Studio

Another comprehensive source for purposefully created design is the The Citizenry. The company believes our personal spaces, “deserve designs with a soul, a story, and a purpose.”  They travel to various countries, establishing sustainable relationships with artisans working only local materials. They site their commitment to providing fair wages, happy working environments, and sustaining grants to enable their artisan partners are able to take  their businesses to new places and to offer high-quality handmade goods at reasonable prices.

The Grottas often wondered, “Why doesn’t everyone live surrounded by handcrafted things?” Adamson agrees that it is a good question. “After all, buying handmade doesn’t have to be all that expensive. It provides satisfaction on levels beyond the purely aesthetic. And incidentally, it provides support to people who bring beauty into the world.” In a society awash with cheaply made, disposable objects, Adamson adds, the Grottas’ commitment to craftspeople and their creativity is worth replicating. 


Material Matters: Cultivating Cardboard

Cardboard is a popular medium for contemporary artists. New materials like cardboard were introduced to art making from the very beginning of the 20th century. The introduction of new materials (and techniques) and heretofore non-art materials helped drive change in art during the entire century.

Robert Rauchenberg, National Spinning / Red / Spring (Cardboard), 1971. The Menil Collection, Houston; available through Creative Commons licensing.

Perhaps the best known of the artists to incorporate cardboard was Robert Rauschenberg. “Rauschenberg has said he tries ‘to act in that gap between’ art and life, and there’s probably nothing more quotidian than a cardboard box. He uses them ‘as is,’ with their stains, tears, marks and worn labels revealing their history and creating a patina of wear and age. But he’s far from precious with the boxes, denting, tearing, flattening, crushing and combining them,” wrote Kelly Klaasmeyer, “Robert Rauschenberg: Cardboards and Related Pieces,” Houston Press, May 10, 2007. You can learn more about Rauschenberg’s use of cardboard in this YouTube discussion between Susan Davidson, curator at Guggenheim and RRF Board member and David White, curator at Robert Rauschenberg Foundation (RRF) and Board member. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoiDZKRKZxM Robert Rauschenberg: Cardboards and Gluts, by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. 

More Fiber, Ed Rossbach, mixed media, 14″ x 9″ x 9″, 1987. Photo by Tom Grotta

Artists who work in textiles have tried on cardboard, too. Ed Rossbach was a pioneer in the field of textile art, creating nonfunctional baskets and sculptures from an extensive array of materials including cardboard cereal boxes, plastic tubing, and newspaper. “He was the first to use plastic tubing in works of art, the first to use such throwaway materials as newspaper and cardboard,” according to Rebecca A.T. Stevens, a consulting curator at the Textile Museum in Washington, D.C. His work redefined conventional notions about materials for fiber and textiles and the beauty in the discarded.

Teeter, John McQueen, table, shingles, stick, cardboard, 86″ x 54″ x 12″, 2014. Photo by Tom Grotta
Raillery, John McQueen, cardboard, 40” x 77” x 12”, 2014. Photo by Tom Grotta
A Saw, John McQueen, cardboard, 11″ x 10″ x 34″, 2011. Photo by Tom Grotta

John McQueen’s three-dimensional works are created from the materials he finds near his rural New York State farm, including twigs, bark, flowers, weeds, and vines—anything that comes from the earth, and increasingly, manmade materials like cardboard and plastic that he wants to draw attention to. McQueen prides himself on not needing to go the arts supply store. His several-part sculpture, Teeter, includes cardboard, 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. And, to accompany Man’s-Naturehe created a three-dimensional chainsaw of cardboard.

21ar Black on Cardboard, Axel Russmeyer, sphere from polyester thread card board bobbins over a solid wood sphere, tan and dark gray ribbon, 4″ x 4″ x 4″, 2009. Photo by Tom Grotta

Axel Russmeyer ties cardboard thread-covered bobbins to create spheres, which reference textile making and the spheres that he makes from tiny glass beads. Lewis Knauss used cardboard-framed photographic slides in Old Technology Landscape. Still others use it to direct their work — Dorothy Liebes made sample shades of gold lurex glued to cardboard. Gyöngy Laky creates templates of letters and symbols of cardboard from which she builds her works of wood.

Wayne White, an Emmy-winning set designer for PeeWee’s Playhouse summarizes the attraction — cardboard has a “hard aesthetic” and a “tendency to do awkward things.” (“The Magic of Cardboard – Artist Spotlight,” Pactivate,com, June 3, 2021.)

Cardboard art even made international news this month, as Chicago school children created a 784-foot Ukranian flag from cardboard cereal boxes https://www.fox32chicago.com/news/chicago-high-school-students-attempt-to-set-world-record-for-largest-mosaic-made-out-of-cereal-boxes?taid=62f4468958b19d0001fadd0a&utm_campaign=trueanthem&utm_medium=trueanthem&utm_source=twitter. Using yellow and gold cardboard from 5000 boxes (Corn Pops and Rice Krispies), they’ve created a record-breaking-sized mosaic of the Ukrainian flag while raising funds for humanitarian causes in the Ukraine.


Dispatches: A Visit to Vancouver

Rhonda spent five great days in Vancouver last month. Here’s her report:

The artistic experiences began as soon as I disembarked at Vancouver International Airport. A rainforest experience has been recreated there, complete with birdsong, framed by a dramatic First Nations’ sculpture in the air. 

The visual feast continues outside. Like any good buffet, the offerings are numerous and varied — natural beauty vies with and public art everywhere one looks.

There are exciting and colorful murals on buildings large and small. Vancouver hosts an annual Mural Festival: https://vanmuralfest.ca. This year’s will last 11 days and sponsor 30 murals in eight neighborhoods. I came across a group of muralists near Stanley Park, protected by a Do Not Disturb the Artist sign. 

The architecture of Vancouver is wildly diverse —a combination of modern architectural styles, ranging from the 20th century Edwardian style to the 21st century modernist style. Arthur Erickson was a pioneer of the West Coast style which sought to integrate the natural environment into building design. Major stylistic influences were International Style, open space plans of Japanese architecture, the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and the work and talks given in Vancouver by Californian Richard Neutra. Erickson, Canada’s most influential architect, often worked with browngrotta arts’ first artist, Mariette Rousseau-Vermette, including the Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto and the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC. 

Elsewhere, Granville Island, Stanley Park, the Waterfront — artful window displays, imaginatively painted buildings abound — even the concrete sidewalks are artful with their leaf imprints.

Intentional art offerings are just as voluminous. The most impressive of these is Erikson-designed Museum of Anthropology on the campus of the University of British Columbia. It’s dramatic Great Hall is under earthquake abatement, but the Museum’s collection of 46,000 objects (which you can see online http://collection-online.moa.ubc.ca) is more than enough reason to make a visit. (The Niobe Japanese Gardens and Treewalk both within walking distance are two more.)

The Museum is a pilgrimage for fiber fans — cases and cases of baskets and woven items from First Nation peoples and other geographic areas in the Multiversity Galleries. Ancient objects join ones as modern as a fish made from recycled fishing nets.

And then there’s the food, the walkability, the concern with sustainability and the friendliness of absolutely everyone. People stop and ask to help as soon as you pull out a map! Put it on your travel list — Vancouver is a must see!

Photos: Rhonda Brown


Art Assembled: New This Week in July

Things certainly don’t slow down in the summer over here at browngrotta arts, and July was a testament to that. This month, we’ve introduced you all to works by Lewis Knauss, Shoko Fukuda and Laura Foster Nicholson in our New This Week series. Read on to see what impressive work these artists have been busy creating.

Lewis Knauss
35lk Fire Fright, Lewis Knauss, hemp, linen, acrylic paint, 14.5″ x 14″ x 1.5″, 2021. Photo by Tom Grotta.

This colorful piece was created by American artist Lewis Knauss. This particular work was inspired by the environment; more specifically, fires and climate change that has occurred as an impact of over consumption of fossil fuels.

Knauss uses his work as a tool to explore his memories of place and his surroundings in a meaningful way.

Shoko Fukuda
2sf Bound Corners, Shoko Fukuda, ramie, monofilament, plastic, silicone, 5.5″ x 4.75″ x 5.5″, 2021

This complex and ethereal artwork comes from Shoko Fukuda. Fukuda is a basketmaker and Japanese artist that’s been making monumental strides in the art world for over a decade. Often, her work features materials like sisal, ramie and raffia.

She has said she’s interested in “distortion” as a characteristic of basket weaving:
“As I coil the thread around the core and shape it while holding the layers together, I look for the cause of distortion in the nature of the material, the direction of work and the angle of layers to effectively incorporate these elements into my work,” said Fukuda. “The elasticity and shape of the core significantly affect the weaving process, as the thread constantly holds back the force of the core trying to bounce back outward.”

Laura Foster Nicholson
Laura Foster Nicholson, 22lf CMA CGM, wool, mylar, cotton, 27.5” x 68”, 2021. Photo by Tom Grotta.

Last, but not least, we introduce you to the unique textile artwork of Laura Foster Nicholson. This American artist is known for her powerful hand woven tapestries that feature whimsical, engaging imagery. Much like the work of Lewis Knauss, Nicholson’s work is often created with the state of the world in mind – including theme’s of how climate change and over consumption is impacting our world today.

With fall quickly approaching, we want to give you all plenty of warning that we have some very exciting exhibitions in the works for you all. Keep your eyes pealed and follow along to see what impressive artwork we bring into our fold in the months to come!


Art Assembled: New This Week in May

May was a busy month for the browngrotta arts family. Throughout May, we launched our spring exhibition, Crowdsourcing the Collective: a survey of textiles and mixed media art, and it was quite the success! Throughout the month, we introduced some exceptional art to you all. Just in case you missed it, we’re recapping it all here.

Blair Tate
16bt RePair, Blair Tate, linen, cotton rope and aluminum 83” x 58”, 2022. Photo by Tom Grotta.

this piece, RePair, was created by American artist Blair Tate. Tate has been exploring flat woven grids in her work since the 70s. When interviewed about her art, more specifically weaving, Tate said:

“In weaving there is a direct analogy between textile and text – the construction of fabric and the process of writing. Both have methodical underpinnings that provide the framework for development. Both woven strips and written sentences can be rearranged to re-contextualize, to forge relationships, to develop meaning.”  

James Bassler
14jb On Inca Time, James Bassler, four selvedge weaving (scaffold weave) handspun and commercial wool, silk, linen, ramie, sisal, cotton, natural and synthetic dyes, 43″ x 36.75″, 2019. Photo by Tom Grotta.

American textile artist James Bassler did not disappoint when it comes to On Inca Time. This piece was created with inspiration from Pre-Columbian Andean Cultures, which you can see displayed through the checkerboard pattern throughout the four-selvedge weave. For decades Bassler has applied ancient techniques and materials to create works with contemporary themes, and we remain in awe of the outcome!

Eduardo Portillo & Mariá Eugenia Dávila
22pd Océano Cósmico, Eduardo Portillo & Mariá Eugenia Dávila, silk, cotton,
alpaca, indigo and copper leaf, 59” x 31”, 2022. Photo by Tom Grotta.

Océano Cósmico was created by Venezuelan artists Eduardo Portillo & Mariá Eugenia Dávila

These artists’ work is often driven by their relationship with their surroundings and how their ideas can be communicated within a contemporary textile language. Océano Cósmico reflects their conception of an imagined Cosmos, “a parallel world that we still see in the midst of changing times.” They also aim to promote an understanding and appreciation of natural dyes as an element in textiles, their importance as a means to preserve and disseminate cultural values and as a medium of contemporary expression. 

Norma Minkowitz
95nm Mother Mine, Norma Minkowitz, Mixed media
(My Mother’s Gloves) and fiber, 6.5″ x 11.75″ x 8″, 1984. Photo by Tom Grotta.

This profound artwork comes from one of our favorite artists, Norma Minkowitz. This particular piece of work incorporates a pair of gloves her mother owned as a tribute. 

Pat Campbell
36pc Mandela IV, Pat Campbell, rice paper, reed and wood, 19.75″ x 14.5″ x 9.875″, 2012

This exceptional piece of art comes from American artist, Pat Campbell. Often, Campbell’s intricate, airy pieces are influenced by Japanese shoji screen, which is traditionally made of rice paper. When asked about the why behind the her medium of choice, Campbell said: 

“Paper is exciting to work with. It is a fragile material that can be easily ripped or torn,” said Pat Campbell.” It is a natural choice of material for my work. It provides the translucency I am seeking in constructions.”

We drop new art every week, so follow us on social media to keep up with the art we bring into the fold! To get your hands on some art of your own, checkout our exhibition: Crowdsourcing the Collective: a survey of textiles and mixed media art, which is available online until June 13.


Hot off the Press: the Crowdsourcing the Collective: survey of textiles and mixed media art (our 53rd volume)

Crowdsourcing the Collective Catalog

We’ve made our reputation on documentation and photography of art at browngrotta arts (“Beyond Measure,” Glenn Adamson, Volume 50: Chronicling fiber art for three decades (browngrotta arts, Wilton, CT 2020)). Crowdsourcing the Collective: survey of textiles and mixed media artour 53rd volume, is the latest of our efforts. 

Lia Cook Spread

In an essay titled “State of the Art: where we are/how we got here” the catalog takes a look at fiber and art textiles today, as these art forms bask in renewed popularity. It also sheds some light on where fiber art has come from — featuring work that ranges from 1982 to 2022. The 42 artists featured in the exhibition (from 13 countries), are both a part of that legacy and a reflection of fiber’s current state.  In the 1960s, Adela Akers was creating large-scale weavings; by the 1970s, her works were noted for their spare designs and darker colors — brown, black and maroon. Gyöngy Laky has been a force since founding Fiberworks in the 1970s, a prestigious textile gallery and academic program in Berkeley, California. Lia Cook and Naomi Kobayashi participated in the prestigious Lausanne Biennials of International Tapestry in the 1970s; Laky in the 1980s. Artists in the exhibition who began exhibiting in the 2000s continue this legacy. Stéphanie JacquesRachel Max and Neha Puri Dhir all claim textile artist pioneers as an influence — Ed Rossbach and Claire Zeisler for Jacques;  Anni Albers and Ruth Asawa for Dhir and Max.

Adela Akers Spread
Shuko Fukuda Spread

The catalog also includes the artists’ perspectives in their own words in “State of the Artist: how we are working/what’s front of mind?” and in the comments on their individual works. Not surprisingly, their preoccupations vary. For some, like Lewis Knauss and Laura Foster Nicholson, it’s the environment in the large sense — fires and climate change and the impacts of over consumption. For Lia Cook, and her garden, it’s more immediate. For still others, like Caroline Bartlett and Polly Barton, an abstract consideration is underway on the power of thread as a medium to reflect the fragility and connectivity of our world, and the cross fertilization of the senses as expressed in fiber. 

Laura Foster Nicholson spread

Crowdsourcing the Collective: survey of textiles and mixed media art is in full color, 148 photographs, 42 artists from 13 countries. You can obtain your copy at browngrotta.com. Learn more about the exhibition by joining our Zoom presentation on June 3rd at 5 pm EST, Art of the Rocks: an exhibition walkthrough with spiritsWe will talk about the works in Crowdsourcing the Collective and toast the artists with a curated cocktail by our own mixologist, Max Fanwick @DudeWhoCooks.

Marianne Kemp Spread

Exhibition Updates – Venice, DC, LA, and Yorkshire

We’ve got updates — and images — from exhibitions that include browngrotta artists and friends. 

Toshiko Takaezu and Ruth Asawa at the Venice Biennial
Venice Biennial – Toshiko Takaezu and Ruth Asawa at the Venice Biennial. Photos courtesy Darlene Fukuji, Victor Wang, Carla Romeo, and Donald Fletcher.

Toshiko Takaezu has received pride of place at the Venice Biennial in Italy. Eight of Takaezu’s works are featured in a gallery space that she shares with an dramatic selection of works by Ruth Asawa. Asawa is one of a group fiber artists (Ruth Asawa, Sonya Delaunay, Mrinalini Mukherjee and Rosemary Trockel) included in the Biennial this year. 

La Biennale di Venezia
59th International Art Exhibition
The Milk of Dreams
through November 27, 2022
BUY YOUR TICKETS

works by Toshiko Takaezu; portrait of Toshiko Takaezu by Tom Grotta
Works by Toshiko Takaezu; portrait of Toshiko Takaezu by Tom Grotta at This Present Moment, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC. Photo by Ted Rowland.

Takaezu’s work is also highlighted in a gallery space in This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World at the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC, aside a large portrait taken by Tom Grotta. Also well displayed in This Present Moment are works by Christine Joy, Polly Sutton and Joanne Segal Brandford. You can learn more about this ambitious exhibition in this brief video: https://americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/this-present-moment.

Works by Joanne Segal Brandford, Christine Joy and Polly Sutton
Works by Joanne Segal Brandford, Christine Joy and Polly Sutton. Photo by Mary Savig, Curator, This Present Moment, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC.

This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World 
Renwick Gallery
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street NW
Washington, DC 20006

Ferne Jacobs: Installation
Installation Photo of Building the Essentials: Ferne Jacobs. Photo: Madison Metro, Craft in America

Building the Essentials: Ferne Jacobs at the Craft in America Gallery Los Angeles, California is a long-overdue retrospective for the California artist. Throughout her 50-year career, Jacobs has revolutionized the fiber arts and pushed the boundaries of sculpture, while exploring expressions of gender through her artworks. Learn more about this remarkable exhibition in Christopher Knight’s insightful review from the Los Angeles Times: https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/story/2022-05-11/review-backlog-pandemic-postponed-art-shows?_amp=true. You still have until June 18th to see the exhibition. Can’t get there in person? The website has numerous images and videos.

Building the Essentials: Ferne Jacobs
Craft in America Gallery
8415 West Third Street
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Garnering deserved international attention — The Guardian, W, Wallpaper, The New York Times, Aesthetica — as “ravishing,” “delicious,” a “thrill of color” is Sheila Hicks‘ exhibition Off Grid in the UK. In progress for two years, she first visited the museum in person this spring before the opening. “It was fascinating to watch her enter the space, mapping and reading it in ways that I hadn’t seen other artists do, looking at the light sources, thinking of the angles,” the museum’s chief curator Andrew Bonacina told Wallpaper (“Riotous color, terrific textiles: Sheila Hicks: ‘Off Grid’ at The Hepworth Wakefield,” Jessica Klingelfuss, Wallpaper, April 9, 2022). “Across the exhibition, you’ll see an artist who has really explored the endless possibilities of fibre and thread as a sculptural material.” The exhibition features work that expands her 70-year career and includes photographs from her many travels. The museum is an ideal venue for such an ambitious display. ““I think it’s one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve ever shown in,” Hicks told inews.co.uk. If the UK is not in your travel plans, visit the museum’s site to view additional images: https://hepworthwakefield.org/whats-on/sheila-hicks/.

Sheila Hicks: Off Grid
Installation of Sheila Hicks: Off Grid at The Hepworth Wakefield, 2022. Art works L-R: Peace Barrier, 2018; Ripe Rip, 2019; Nowhere To Go, 2022. Photo: Tom Bird / Courtesy: The Hepworth Wakefield

Sheila Hicks: Off Grid
through September 25, 2022
The Hepworth Wakefield
Gallery Walk
Wakefield
West Yorkshire
WF1 5AW
01924 247360

hello@hepworthwakefield.org


Art Assembled: New This Week in April

Although launching our spring exhibition, Crowdsourcing the Collective: a survey of textiles and mixed media art, has kept us busy, we still had no shortage of new art to introduce you to in April. We presented art from many talented artists, including work from: Masako Yoshida, Ethel Stein, Polly Barton, and John McQueen. Just in case you missed out, we’re covering all the details about these artists and their art! Read on for more.

Masako Yoshida
14my Air Hole #838, Masako Yoshida, walnut and flax, 8″ x 8″ x 7″, 2017

This artwork comes from Japanese basketmaker, Masako Yoshida. Yoshida created this piece by interlacing sheets of walnut bark with string made of nettle. When asked about her work, Yoshida said:

“My work provides 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?'”

Ethel Stein
56es Touch of Green, Ethel Stein, mercerized cotton, 31.5” x 36” x 1/4”, 2008. Photo by Tom Grotta.

Touch of Green comes from the late Ethel Stein, who was an exceptional American textile artist. Within her career, Stein created countless intricate textile pieces, and browngrotta arts has had the honor of representing her work for nearly 15 years.

Within Stein’s work, she has been known for using reproposed items that have been discarded as a medium and creating something miraculous with them. Often, her artwork is distinguished by its rhythmic simplicity, although it’s created with extraordinary technical complexity.

Polly Barton
8pb Thistledown, Polly Barton, handwoven double ikat with Japanese silk warp and Japanese silk wrapped around a metal core, 41” x 31” x 1.125”, 2016. Photo by Tom Grotta.

Thistledown was created by nationally recognized American fiber artist, Polly Barton. Trained in Japan, Barton is known for working with traditional methods of binding and dyeing bundles of fiber to weave contemporary imagery. More specifically, Barton is known for her talent in adapting the ancient weaving technique of ikat into contemporary woven imagery.

Barton has been charting the way for fiber art over the past 40 years. In fact, early in here career in 1981, Barton moved to Kameoka, Japan to study with master weaver, Tomohiko Inoue.

John McQueen
John McQueen, 32jm Out From Under, wood, willow, bark, and held together with tiny spikes of bamboo 20.75” x 25.25” x 16”, 2021. Photo by Tom Grotta.

This artwork was created by American artist, John McQueen. Within his work, viewers can often find themes of prominent world associations. Often, his three-dimensional works are created with natural materials like twigs, bark, cardboard – he prides himself on being able to create with found objects.

McQueen has discussed how plastic and metal are ubiquitous in landfills and our own trash and he hopes to draw attention to this waste problem with his art, as we are burying ourselves in waste without seeing it.

If you like the art you see – keep your eye out for even more in May! You’ll even have the opportunity to see art in person at our spring exhibition launching this weekend. Visit: https://bit.ly/38QiXCe to join us.


browngrotta arts and associated artists get good press

browngrotta arts and the artists we work with have been in the news lately — quite a bit in fact!

• In January, Simone Pheulpin’s remarkable career was the cover story in Crafts magazine from the UK. The work of Crafts “cover star” defies expectations. Her “ambiguous textile forms recall geological strata and the rings of a tree,” the magazine notes and “evoke the passage of time.” (Cynthia Rose, “Life Lines,” Crafts magazine, January 2022.)

• Karyl Sisson’s work graced the cover of the National Basketry Organization’s basketry+ in its Fall 2021/Winter 2022 issue. The article, “Karyl Sisson: From Nostalgic to Unexpected,” by Janet Mendelsohn, talks about Sisson’s Shapeshifters, a new series of vessels, which will be featured in browngrotta arts upcoming exhibition Crowdsourcing the Collective (May 7 – 15). The works are created of tightly quilled paper straws, laced like beads, threaded in circles, row by row to create cylinders that are manipulated to create lively sculptures. “I see my work as the expression of hidden energy and forces inside all of us,” the magazine quotes the Sisson. “The structures I create are diagrams of physical forces and laws that govern all growth and patterning.”

• A recent issue of the German publication of Art Aurea, profiles Yasuhisa Kohyama in its World Arts section. The magazine quotes Kohyama and it also quotes a German gallery owner, Marcus Müller, on the special tension Kohyama creates between the rough and smooth surfaces in his work and the unique colors of his work, created by the ash in his anagama kiln.
  • The Bay Area Artists’ Legacy Project has published its second volume, The Seventies, with a foreword by Maria Porges. One of the artists included is Lia Cook.
  • Maria Rosaria Roseo interviewed Carolina Yrarrázaval for a recent issue of Arte Morbida. “[Yrarrázaval’s] tapestries,” Roseo writes, “in which dark chromatic shades predominate with red and orange overlaps, together with the essential elegance of vegetable fibers such as jute, silk, cotton, hemp and linen, are the result of continuous research about the weaving techniques of ancient cultures such as pre-Columbian and Japanese which the artist draws inspiration from, creating textile abstractions with a refined, sober and rigorous aesthetic.” (https://www.artemorbida.com/interview-with-carolina-yrarrazaval/?lang=en).
  • HANDWERKEN, zonder grenzen (Crafting without limits) (https://www-handwerkenzondergrenzen-nl.translate.goog/?_x_tr_sl=nl&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en&_x_tr_pto=sc) in the Netherlands featured a profile of Aleksandra Stoyanov in a recent issue. “Her work often contains images of the life she left behind in Ukraine [before emigrating to Israel] and has an emotional character that focuses on the social dilemmas of immigrants experiencing the loss of family and disconnecting their connection,” writes Alie Dijk. “She also incorporates family photos in her work, as in From the First Person. In Silence, she creates a space for personal memories.”
  • In “Wonder Wall,”by June Hill, Embroidery magazine profiled Dutch artist Marian Bijlenga last year. Rather than drawing on paper, the author points out, Bijlenga draws in three dimensions, “creating a series of rhythmic, visual relationships between form, pattern and mark.”
  • Finally, 068 (formerly Wilton Magazine) touted browngrotta arts’ Spring 2022 exhibition in its March/April Issue (“Uncovering a Hidden Gem”). Author Julia Bruce says browngrotta arts is “a unique, international showcase for contemporary fiber arts.” The magazine further notes that fiber artists tend to be women, and that browngrotta arts is committed to promoting, exhibiting and documenting their work.

We’re all pleased to be noticed!