Tag: Birgit Birkkjaer

We’ve been hard at work — come see the results. Japandí opens this week!

Our Japandí exhibition features 39 artists from Japan, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden and over 150 individual works. Here are details about just a few of the artworks that the exhibition includes.

Ane Henrsen portrait
Ane Henriksen preparing the material for Reserve. Photo by Ole Gravesen

A striking wall work, Reserve, by Ane Henriksen of Denmark is featured in Japandí. Henriksen originally found the material covered with oil spots, washed up along the sea by the west coast of Denmark – fishermen use it, on the table in the galley, so the plates don’t slide of when they are on the high seas. The piece also incorporates webbed, rubber matting, colored with acrylic paint. The warp is silk glued together with viscose (from Japan). “Nature is threatened,” says Henriksen. “I hope this is expressed in my image, which at first glance can be seen as a peaceful, recognizable view of nature, but when you move closer and see the material, it might make you uneasy, and and spur thoughts of how human activity is a threat against nature. By framing the nature motif museum-like in a solid oak frame, I try to make you aware how we store small natural remains in reserves – in the same way we store exquisite objects from our past history in our museums.”

Birgit Birkkjaer portrait
Birgit Birkkjaer at work. Photo by Kræn Ole Birkkjær

Also included in the exhibition are baskets by Danish artist Birgit Birkkjaer. They are made of black linen and Japanese tatami paper yarn (black and hand dyed with rust). “The technique I used for the structure is rya,” she reports, “which was known in Scandinavia already in the Viking Age — and from the 1950s until the 1970s as a trend started by Danish/Finnish artist collectives. So, the baskets have roots in both Japan and Scandinavia.”

Norie Hatakeyama portrait
Norie Hatakeyama creating paper-plaited work. Photo by Ray Tanaka

Among the works on display from Japan are intricately plaited objects created by Norie Hatakeyama. The artist works with factory-made paper-packing tape to realize her geometric concerns. It is an experimental material that enables her to break free from traditional limitations.

“My work stems from an impulse to redefine both material and method,” says Hatakeyama. Her intricately plaited, three-dimensional works possess the energy of growing organisms. “The works ‘defy the viewer to imagine how they were accomplished,’”art critic and author Janet Koplos has observed.

Jiro Yonezawa at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Deer Isle, Maine. Photo by Tom Grotta

Jiro Yonezawa is also represented in Japandí with several works. Yonezawa is known for innovative bamboo basketry based on traditional techniques. He says that his recent baskets “represent a search for the beauty and precision in nature and a way to balance the chaos evident in these times.” The search for balance and harmony is one of the elements attributed to Japandi style.

Please join us!

The hours of the exhibtion are: 

Opening and Artist Reception: Saturday, September 25th: 11 to 6

Sunday, September 26th: 11 to 6

Monday, September 27th through Saturday October 2nd: 10 to 5

Sunday, October 3rd: 11 to 6

Advanced time reservations are mandatory; Appropriate Covid protocols will be followed. Masks will be required. There is a full-color catalog, Japandi: shared aesthetics and influences, prepared for the exhibition available at for pre-order at:  https://store.browngrotta.com/japandi-shared-aesthetics-and-influences/


Art & Identity: A Sense of Place

In our 2019 Art in the Barn exhibition, we asked artists to address the theme of identity. In doing so, several of the participants in Art + Identity: an international view, wrote eloquently about places that have informed their work. For Mary Merkel-Hess, that place is the plains of Iowa, which viewers can feel when viewing her windblown, bladed shapes. A recent work made a vivid red orange was an homage to noted author, Willa Cather’s plains’ description, “the bush that burned with fire and was not consumed,” a view that Merkel-Hess says she has seen.

Micheline Beauchemin Golden Garden detail
Micheline Beauchemin 3mb Golden Garden nylon cord, metalic thread, sisal and plexiglass 42” x 10.5”, circa 1966-68

The late Micheline Beauchemin traveled extensively from her native Montreal. Europe, Asia, the Middle East, all influenced her work but depictions of the St. Lawrence River were a constant thread throughout her career. The river, “has always fascinated me,” she admitted, calling it, “a source of constant wonder” (Micheline Beauchemin, les éditions de passage, 2009). “Under a lemon yellow sky, this river, leaded at certain times, is inhabited in winter, with ice wings without shadows, fragile and stubborn, on which a thousand glittering lights change their colors in an apparent immobility.” To replicate these effects, she incorporated unexpected materials like glass, aluminum and acrylic blocks that glitter and reflect light and metallic threads to translate light of frost and ice.

Eduardo Portillo & Mariá Eugenia Dávila Triple Weave
Triple weave Eduardo Portillo & Mariá Eugenia Dávila silk, alpaca, moriche, metalliic yarns, copper, natural dyes, 71” x 48.25”, 2016


Mérida, Venezuela, the place they live, and can always come back to, has been a primary influence on Eduardo Portillo’s and Maria Davila’s way of thinking, life and work. Its geography and people have given them a strong sense of place. Mérida is deep in the Andes Mountains, and the artists have been exploring this countryside for years. Centuries-old switchback trails or “chains” that historically helped to divide farms and provide a mountain path for farm animals have recently provided inspiration and the theme for a body of work, entitled Within the MountainsNebula, the first work from this group of textiles, is owned by the Cooper Hewitt Museum.

Birgit Birkkjærs  Ode for the Ocean
Birgit Birkkjær, 65bb Ode for the Ocean, linen and stones, shells, fossils, etc. from the sea 30” x 30” x 4,” 2019

Birgit Birkkjaer’s Ode for the Ocean is composed of many small woven boxes with items from the sea — stones, shells, fossils and so on — on their lids. ” It started as a diary-project when we moved to the sea some years ago,” she explains. “We moved from an area with woods, and as I have always used materials from the place where I live and where I travel, it was obvious I needed now to draw sea-related elements into my art work.”

Polly Bartons Continuum I, II, III detail
4pb Continuum I, II, III, Polly Barton, silk, double ikat, 19” x 52” x 1.75,” 2018

“I am born and raised in the Northeast,” says Polly Barton, “trained to weave in Japan, and have lived most of my life in the American Southwest. These disparate places find connection in the woven fabric that is my art, the internal reflections of landscape.” In works like Continuum i, ii, iii, Barton uses woven ikat as her “paintbrush,” to study native Southwestern sandstone. Nature’s shifting elements etched into the stone’s layered fascia reveal the bands of time. “Likewise, in threads dyed and woven, my essence is set in stone.”

Paul Furneauxs City Trees II and City Lights II detail
1 & 2pf City Trees II and City Lights II, Paul Furneaux, Detail

For Paul Furneaux, geographic influences are varied, including time spent in Mexico, at Norwegian fjords and then, Japan, where he studied Japanese woodblock, Mokuhanga “After a workshop in Tokyo,” he writes, “I found myself in a beautful hidden-away park that I had found when I first studied there, soft cherry blossom interspersed with brutal modern architecture. When I returned to Scotland, I had forms made for me in tulip wood that I sealed and painted white. I spaced them on the wall, trying to recapture the moment. The forms say something about the architecture of those buildings but also imbue the soft sensual beauty of the trees, the park, the blossom, the soft evening light touching the sides of the harsh glass and concrete blocks.” 


Press Notes: browngrotta arts in the news

July issue of selvedge cover

July cover of selvedge magazine

We are excited to be featured in the July issue of selvedge magazine. We have long been fans of the UK magazine, which is artfully designed with lush photos and creative illustrations, and, like browngrotta arts, economical in its use of capital letters. We have a large collection of back issues, stockpiled for reference and inspiration.

Issue 10 A ROCK AND A SLOW PACE: Sue Lawty Interview pages 62-65 MUTUAL ADMIRATION: Bamboo has inspired artists worldwide by Nancy Moore Bess pages 66-71

Issue 10
A ROCK AND A SLOW PACE: Sue Lawty Interview
MUTUAL ADMIRATION: Bamboo has inspired artists worldwide by Nancy Moore Bess

Issue 10 was a particular favorite, not surprisingly, with an insightful profile of Sue Lawty, “A rock and a slow pace” followed by an update on bamboo artwork by Nancy Moore Bess, “Mutual Admiration: Bamboo Has Inspired Artists Worldwide.” But we also loved the piece on fashion drawings in the letters of Jane Austen, “Detailed statements” in the Romance issue (34) and the introduction to Indian embroidery in Issue 00. The magazine is a great source of information about what’s current and what’s past in textile art and design, interiors, fashion — around the world. Founded by Polly Leonard in 2003, selvedge is intentionally produced “with the time, thought and skill” required in textile practice. The magazine ably succeeds in its aim of “see[ing] the world through a textile lens, but cast[ing] our eye far and wide looking for links between our subject and achievements in other fields from architecture to archeology”— in this case, as far as Wilton, Connecticut.

page 31 July Selvedge magazine

page 31 July Selvedge magazine. Pictured works by Lia Cook, Marian Bijlenga, Sara Brennan, Kay Sekimachi, Noriko Takamiya, Nancy Moore Bess, Keiji Nio, Birgit Birkkjaer, Lenore Tawney

As we were preparing our Of Two Minds: Artists Who Do Two of a Kind exhibition in 2014, selvedge sent Rhonda Sonnenberg to interview us for a piece. Sonnenberg has written about fiber artists for some time, including Kate Anderson, Lisa Kokin and Fran Gardner, and we’ve talked shop with her at SOFAs in years past. Over the couple of hours she was in Wilton, we discussed with her the changes we have seen in the field in our two-dozen plus years promoting art textiles and we talked about some of the artists we were watching with interest. The conversation was a good prelude to our show that followed in 2015, Influence and Evolution: Fiber Sculpture…then and now, in which we highlighted work by 15 of the newer-to-the field artists whose work we admire. The selvedge article, “Consuming Fibre,” features photographs of work by many browngrotta artists. You can buy a copy online, through the Selvedge store at: http://www.selvedge.org.


November 26th: Our Online Exhibition Opens With an Offer for CyberMonday

On Monday, November 26th, browngrotta arts will present an online version of our 25th anniversary exhibition,Retro/Prospective: 25+ Years of Art Textiles and Sculpture at browngrotta.com. The comprehensive exhibition highlights browngrotta arts’ 25 years promoting international contemporary art. Viewers can click on any image in the online exhibition to reach a page with more information about the artists and their work.

“Some works in Retro/Prospective: 25+ Years of Art Textiles and Sculpture reflect the early days of contemporary textile art and sculpture movement,” says Tom Grotta, founder and co-curator at browngrotta arts. “There are also current works by both established and emerging artists, which provide an indication of where the movement is now and where it may be headed.”

Since Monday the 26th is CyberMonday this year, sales of art, books, catalogs, videos or dvds placed online or by telephone that day will be discounted 10% (excluding tax and shipping). In addition, bga will make a donation to the International Child Art Foundation for each sale made from November 24th through December 31, 2012. Visit browngrotta.com. For more information call Tom at 203.834.0623 or email us at art@browngrotta.com.


The Next Big Thing: Green from the Get Go: International Contemporary Basketmakers

Jiro Yonezawa bamboo Bridge and Kay Sekimachi Leaf bowl. photo by Tom Grotta

We’ve had a busy fall season at browngrotta arts. First was Stimulus: art and its inception, which you can still see in the catalog http://www.
browngrotta.com/Pages/c36.php
 and online through the end of the month http://www.browngrotta.com/Pages/StimulusOnlineExhibit.php. Next up, is Green from the Get Go: International Contemporary Basketmakers at the Wayne Art Center, Pennsylvania http://www.
wayneart.org/exhibition/green-from-the-get-go-international-contemporary-basketmakers
 which runs from December 2, 2011 to January 21, 2012.  Green from the Get Go is curated by Jane Milosch, former curator of the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum in collaboration with browngrotta arts. The exhibition features an exciting compilation of more than 40 works by artists who take inspiration from nature and the history of basketry. Since prehistoric times artists and craftspeople have been highly attuned to the beauty and resources of the natural world, whether depicting a pristine landscape, untouched by man, or harvesting plants and minerals for pigments and brushes. Sustainability is part of the design and craft process, which requires a heightened sensitivity to materials, one that honors the caring for, replenishing and repurposing of materials. Artist Dorothy Gill Barnes captures this eco-friendly position well when she explains, “my intent is to construct a vessel or related object using materials respectfully harvested from nature.”

CROSSING OVER Dona Anderson bamboo kendo (martial art sticks), patterned paper, thread 15″ x 94″ x 30″ 2008. photo by Richard Nicol

 

Some of the sculptural baskets in Green from the Get Go are made from both flora and fauna, from bamboo, pine, sea grass, and willow to emu feathers and bayberry thorns. The tactile nature of these fiberous works stimulates all of the senses—sight, smell, touch and even sound. Each maker brings his or her own conceptual approach and expression to the design and fabrication process. Some works are small enough to nestle in the hand or rest table-top, while others are monumental or hang on the wall. Green from the Get Go stretches our imagination in terms of what materials and forms constitute a basket and how art bespeaks the interconnected relationship of man and nature.

The exhibition includes artists from Australia, Canada, Japan, the UK, Scandinavia and the US, featuring innovators in the genre of 20th-century art basketry as well as emerging talent: Dona AndersonJane Balsgaard, Dorothy Gill Barnes,Dail Behennah. Nancy Moore Bess, Birgit Birkkjaer, Jan Buckman, Chris Drury, Lizzie Farey, Ceca Georgieva, Marion Hildebrandt, Kiyomi Iwata, Christine JoyVirginia Kaiser, Markku Kosonen, Gyöngy Laky, Dawn MacNutt,  John McQueenMary Merkel-Hess, Norma Minkowitz, Valerie Pragnell, Ed Rossbach, Hisako Sekijima, Kay Sekimachi, Naoko SerinoKlaus Titze, Jiro Yonezawa and Masako Yoshido.

PILLOW, Norma Minkowitz, fiber, wood, paint, 2011

 

The preview party for Green from the Get Go: International Contemporary Basketmakers and Craftforms 2011, juried by Elisabeth Agros of the Philadelphia Art Museum, takes place on the evening of December 2nd and we’ll be there. For more in formation, contact the Wayne Art Center: http://www.wayneart.org/events/?id=48.