Tag: Deborah Valoma

On Redefining the Medium

In an artspace article last spring, “8 ‘Unbeweavable’ Textile Artists Redefining the Traditional Medium,” the author, Jillian Billard, profiled eight contemporary textile artists who keep the historical and cultural significance of the medium in mind, while addressing topics ranging from colonialism, to power dynamics, to disposal and regeneration.

Listening In Caroline Bartlett, mixed media; wooden rings stretched with archival crepeline, wool, linen tape, perspex,
2.75″ x 17″ x 17″; 5″ x 17″ x 17″; 6″ x 17″ x 17″, 2011. Photo by Tom Grotta.

Several of the artists represented by browngrotta arts take a similar approach, including, Caroline Bartlett, who explores the historical, social and cultural associations of textiles and their ability to trigger a memory. Listening In, for example, resulted from Bartlett’s review of accession cards that “bore witness” to the health and state of textile items in the collection of the Whitworth Museum. The cards described work undertaken to preserve and stabilize each artifact, to endeavors to fill in gaps in the history and making of the object across time and space. In creating works in this series, Bartlett says, “I think of skin, bone, membrane; a layered dermis, and of networks of social, industrial, public and private relations, processes and materiality connecting the building itself with the idea of cloth as silent witness to the intimacies and routines of daily lives.”

Deborah Valoma in her Studio in Minnesota. Photo by Tom Grotta.


Deborah Valoma is an artist and historian. Intensely research-based, her studio practice harnesses the nuances of the humble, yet poetically charged textile medium. Using hand construction techniques and cutting-edge digital weaving technology, her work hugs the edges of traditional practice. She upholds traditional customs and at the same time, unravels long-held stereotypes. Drawing on a growing body of scholarship on textiles, she has developed a rigorous series of textile history and theory courses for students from differing disciplines interested the theoretical discourses in the field of textiles. Valoma believes that students must locate themselves within historical lineages in order to understand the historical terrain they walk (and sometimes trip) through daily. Historical analysis draws a three-dimensional spatial and temporal map, providing much-needed reference points.

Interior Passages, Ferne Jacobs, 
coiled and twined waxed linen thread
, 54” x 16” x 4”, 2017. Photo by Tom Grotta.

Artist Ferne Jacobs explores feminist themes in her work. “My art is made in an attempt to serve the sacred in the feminine, listening and creating a relationship with my own inner nature. Interior Passages is an example “In the world I find myself in today, feminine values are often desecrated.  I am beginning to understand that there is no such thing as a ‘second class citizen’ — anywhere, anytime. There are aspects of world culture where weak people try to control others; because that is the only way they feel their own existence.” Interior Passages resists that approach. “Interior Passages knows she exists,” Jacobs notes. “She needs no one to tell her who she is or what she is.  She knows her value, and I expect the world to respect this inner understanding.  When it doesn’t, I think it moves toward a destructiveness that can be devastating.”


Regeneration is a theme in the work of both Karyl Sisson and Wendy Wahl. Sisson give new lives to common domestic items like paper drinking straws, zippers and measuring tales. Wahl’s work with repurposed encyclopedias raises questions about how we process information, use resources and assign value to things.


Art Assembled: New This Week January

Mind Garden, Shin Young-ok, 2018
Several kinds threads, bamboo weaving on loom, 72 × 35 1/2 in

A new year and new art, oh my!

We kicked off the new year with Shin Young-ok’s Mind Garden. The varied blue hues of Mind Garden immediately draw your attention, leaving you with a desire to look deeper into the details. In Mind Garden, Young-ok seamlessly weaves ombre blue hues with a geometric pattern. The South Korean native transforms traditional Korean aesthetics into innovative contemporary works of art. “The aim of my work is to convey a genuine Korean atmosphere and its cosmic space through rich color, shapes, forms and material quality,she explains. While doing this I try to link the Korean tradition with modern trends.”

Togetherasone, Marianne Kemp, horsehair, linen, cotton, wooden frame, 31” x 15” x 2”

Marianne Kemp’s Togetherasone was also on social-media display this month. Present in much of Kemp’s work is horsehair, a material which constantly fuels her creativity.  Kemp’s unconventional weaving techniques give each of her pieces a unique character. That uniqueness is further elevated by her unparalleled use of texture, color and movement. The resulting three-dimensional nature of her pieces leaves each viewer not only wanting to look at each piece, but to touch it as well.

Tasting Green, Deborah Valoma, found iron objects, crocheted cotton thread, stinging nettles dye 61” x 5” x 3.5”, 2018

Next up, we shared Tasting Green by Deborah Valoma. Ingesting, bathing in, and dying with a distillation of stinging nettles leaves for a period of two months has produced a multi-sensory experience of green, for Valoma. “My body has been steeped in the smell, flavor, and feel of an earthy, brownish green,” she wrote of the piece. The common weed, Urtica dioica, has been used for food, medicine, fiber and dyes throughout Europe, the Middle East and northern Africa for millennia. Stinging nettle is also a perennial native to western United States and Canada and can be harvested locally from wetland areas.” It is a formidable plant,” writes the artist, “an ally of those in need of protection, fortification and healing. The bite of the fresh plant and its rich iron content syncretizes it with warriors of the wild.”

Offering i, Gizella Warburton, mixed media installation 18” x 12.5” x 63””; 2014

For Gizella Warburton, last in our social media queue for January, the process of making is visceral. “The materiality of cloth, paper, thread, wood and paint connect me to an innate human urge to make marks” and to “decipher the meaning of our physical and emotional landscapes,” describes Warburton. Warburton’s vessel forms, such as Offering i explore an intuitive response to linear, textural and light detail within landscape and surface. The process of making the vessels forms is quite contemplative, and includes a variety of subprocesses which, in the end, result in and aid each piece in coming to fruition.


Greenery On My Mind; Pantone Color of the Year

Pantone Color of the Year Greenery

Pantone Color of the Year Greenery

Pantone has revealed that “greenery” will be the Color of the Year for 2017. Pantone describes “greenery” as “a refreshing and revitalizing shade” that is “symbolic of new beginnings.”
With new beginnings in mind, here, in honor of January — are some green-themed artworks for you to view. Baskets, tapestries and mixed media sculpture–green can inspire works of all sorts, made of materials from glass beads to copper wire to Japanese paper.

Gyöngy Laky

Gyöngy Laky, Proceeding
Photo: M. Lee Fatherree

Rachel Max

Rachel Max, After Haeckel II
Photo by Tom Grotta

Lawrence LaBianca

Lawrence LaBianca, My Fathers Dream
Photo by Tom Grotta

Ed Rossbach

Ed Rossbach, Green with Four Ears
Photo by Tom Grotta

Scott Rothstein

Scott Rothstein, #62
Photo by Tom Grotta

Nancy Koenigsberg

Nancy Koenigsberg, Aurora
Photo by Tom Grotta

Adela Akers

Adela Akers, Five Windows
Photo by Tom Grotta

Debra Sachs

Debra Sachs, Green Armadillo Basket
Photo by Debra Sachs

Deborah Valoma

Deborah Valoma, The Surge
Photo by Tom Grotta

Jeannine Anderson

Jeannine Anderson, Untitled
Photo by tom Grotta

Axel Russmeyer

Axel Russmeyer, Untitled
Photo by Tom Grotta

Noriko Takamiya

Noriko Takamiya, #36 Revolving
Photo by Tom Grotta


The Year in Books: Art, Life and Learning — Part 2

RichardDiebenkornAs always, art books are well represented among this year’s recommendations from browngrotta arts-affiliated artists, and at least one of the volumes offers life lessons, too.  Adela Akers writes that “the best books so far this year are the Diebenkorn catalogs for the exhibition at the de Young Museum,” which includes, Richard Diebenkorn, The Berkeley Years, 1953- 1966. Adela also recommends The Intimate Diebenkorn: Works on Paper 1949-1992, both as “good reads that include wonderful reproductions.” 39b.SHEILA.HICKSThe comprehensive volume,  Kyoko_Kumai_bookWorks of Kyoko Kumai Metallic Textile Art, published earlier this year tops Kyoko Kumai’s list. The book’s text appears in English and Japanese and it includes a digital version of the book on cd. Naomi Kobayashi recommends  Sheila Hicks for its content and beautiful binding.  The.Hare.with.Amber.EyesKay Sekimachi listed The Hare with Amber Eyes. In it, Edmund de Waal,  a potter and curator of ceramics at the Victoria & Albert Museum, describes the experiences of his family, the Ephrussis, and explores the family’s large collection of Japanese netsuke, tiny hand-carved figures including a hare with amber eyes. La_Biennale_di_VeneziaIn Heidrun Schimmel’s view, the 55. Esposizione Internazionale d´Arte  was one of the best Biennials in Venice ever, and she enthused about the accompanying catalog, The Encyclopedic Palace, 55th International Art Exhibition: La Biennale di Venezia. Its title was chosen by the director for the 55th Biennale as a reference to the 1955 design registered with the US Patent office by the self-taught artist Marino Auriti, depicting an imaginary museum that was meant to house all worldly knowledge and human discoveries, from the wheel to the satellite.  On the opposite side of Canale Grande writes Heidrun, “there is an important exhibition, Prima Materia, Punta della Dogana, Venezia, Dorsoduro, Pinault Collection, especially for artists who are working with material as matter. This exhibition continues through 2014, and is accompanied by a very good catalog, Caroline Bourgeois and Michael GovanPrima Materia,  edited by curators Caroline Bourgeois and Michael Govan.”  Visual Complexity: Mapping Patterns of Information by Manuel LimRandy Walker  read Visual Complexity: Mapping Patterns of Information by Manuel Lima this year.  “To me, network diagrams and their many variations are highly suggestive of fibrous connections. I am experimenting with the idea of my lines as connectors of different types of information.  The information can generate the connections. The book played an inspirational role in a new public art project I working on with Roosevelt High School here in Minneapolis to explore the network diagram in three dimensions. Here’s a link to the Kickstarter campaign to raise money for the project: Connections Gallery.”

Scrape_Willow_Until_It_Sings_Words_Work_Julia_ParkerAnd From Gyöngy Laky, a recommendation for a book and a for approaching life.  “Two artists I admire enormously, Julia Parker and Deborah Valoma, created, Scrape the Willow Until It Sings, The Words and Work of Julia Parker, one of the best books on basketry, life and art I have ever read. It was published this year by an exceptional book publisher, Heyday, Berkeley, California. Native American basketry, especially the work of indigenous people in California, has been, and continues to be, a major inspiration to me and my creative life. Julia Parker and the author Deborah ValomaValoma writes in the introduction, Julia Parker and other traditional practitioners have much to teach those of us in the academy. I would add, and to those not in the academy, as well. The vast personal experiences, broad and deep scope of historical evidence and creative wisdom that these two thoughtful women have brought together in this book is a gift to us all. Near the end I found a something that Parker said that feels like a guide: In our story – in our Indian way – we stop, look, and listen.  Stop. Think about yourself.  Rest yourself.  Rest your eyes, your hands.  Rest your body.  Look.  Look about you. Look at the smallest insect.  Look at the tallest trees, which have given us shelter and food.  And we listen.  Listen to the sound of the water flowing.  Listen to your elders, your teachers.  Listen to your grandmother, your grandfather, your parents.  And above all, listen to yourself.


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 .

Books Make Great Gifts 2011: Artist Recommendations

This year we asked the artists we represent just one question:

What was the most enjoyed/most inspirational book you read this year?? Here are their wide-ranging replies:

Nancy Moore Bess and her friend, artist Sharon McCartney share studios with for occasional “play dates” that involve hours of restorative art chat, small handwork and book sharing. It was Sharon, Nancy says. who introduced me to the exhibition catalogue, El Anatsui at the Clark (Clark Art Institute). “I had seen ads for his work,” adds Nancy, “but the catalog was more than glorious photographs – it placed his current work in the larger context of his entire career/life. Known now for his monumental ‘fabrics’ with metals and Nigerian liquor bottle caps, his earlier work with wood, found metals, steel sheets, etc. was equally exciting for me. I love rust! I was extremely sorry to have missed the exhibition which was installed in the Stone Hill Center at the Clark Museum, but delighted to have access to the book.

Sharon loved a book that Nancy owned, Boro, by Amy Sylvester Katoh, who lives and works at the Blue & White shop in Tokyo. When she tried to order it, she found a different book that Nancy recommends,  Boro: Rags and Tatters from the Far North of Japan by Yukiko Koide and Kyoichi Tsuzuki (Aspect). Both books illustrate the traditional practice of reusing rags and stitching them into clothing and household textiles. Amy’s book concentrates on mostly indigo fabrics which she collects. Both books include impressive photographs with the closeup images really illustrating how the fabrics are used. “Sharon and I both do a great deal of top stitching,” Nancy says, “she on her fabric constructions (she is the queen of French knots!) and I on my experimental paper work. The variety of garments in her book and the variety of fabrics really inspires me to get to the book store!!”

“I have one great book to add,” writes Gyöngy Laky, “though only peripherally art related:
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, illustrated by Ellen Forney (Little, Brown; National Book Award) . This is a semi-autobiographical novel by award-winning author, poet and film-maker, Sherman Alexie.  Alexie has been named one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists and has been lauded by The Boston Globe as “an important voice in American literature.” He is one of the most well-known and beloved literary writers of his generation, with works such as Reservation Blues and War Dances. He also wrote the screenplay for the film, Smoke Signals, based on a short story from his book, Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.   In his novel, Alexie tells the heartbreaking, hilarious, and beautifully written story of a young Native American teen, Arnold, as he attempts to break free from the life he was destined to live.  Arnold’s drawings illustrate the book.”

Kate Hunt’s suggestion was a CD, rather than a book, Souvenirs, featuring opera star Anna Netrebko. The Independent says she is, “in a word, sensational . . . Netrebko’s strength is not just in the mobility of her voice and the razzle-dazzle of her upper register’s big-money notes – no, it’s the fullness and beauty of the middle voice that singles her out . . . properly overwhelming. For once, fullness of heart is truly matched in fullness of sound.”

Mutsumi Iwasaki enjoyed,「朝鮮陶磁図録」(tyousen toji zuroku), a book on ancient Korean pottery that accompanied last year’s exhibition of Korean Ceramics – 50 Years After the Death of Muneyoshi Yanagi at the Japan Folk Crafts Museum in Tokyo.

Lawrence LaBianca recommends The Last Place on Earth by Roland Huntford (Modern Library) and Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific by Raft (Simon & Schuster) by Thor Heyerdahl. Both are true accounts of heroism and determination and creative reasoning used to reach historic goals in exploration — Huntford in the South Pole and Heyerdahl in the South Seas..

Sue Lawty, wrote to us about Edward R. Tufte’s Envisioning Information (Graphics Press), a book I bought for Tom a few years ago.  Sue bought the book, which covers wide-ranging systems, patterns or logic for presenting information from mathematics to maps, a couple of weeks ago in London as a present for her nephew, but now she wants a copy of her own. “It stimulates thinking,” writes Sue.  “For example, in the micro/macro design of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, artist Maya Ying Lin had the vision of ordering names chronologically (resolutely resisting pressure for a more pedestrian telephone directory-type listing) thus, within the overwhelming density of 58,000 named dead, the unique loss of each individual is retained. I know I need this book on my shelves to dip into at sly moments and be informed by.”

“I read a good book called The Craftsman by Richard Sennett (Yale University Press),” Mary Merkel-Hess  wrote. “It is a broad-ranging analysis of what it means to do good work. His definition of a craftsman extends beyond those who work with their hands to include everyone who wants to do a job well. So many references to literature, sociology, society — it was fascinating.” Mary also enjoyed Architecture of Silence: Cistercian Abbeys of France, photographs by David Heald which contains marvelous photos of stone buildings and their simple but inspiring interiors and the catalog from Stimulus: art and its inception (browngrotta arts). “[S]peaking of inspiring, thanks for the Stimulus catalog! It’s great!”

For Lija Rage, her most-enjoyed book this year was Haroun and the Sea of Stories (Penguin), the first work by Salman Rushdie after The Satanic Verses (Random House Trade Paperbacks). She’s also been reading about Chinese culture in preparation for her next exhibition.

“The most important book this year is for me,” writes Heidrun Schimmel, “is the catalog of the Venice Biennial, 54.Esposizione Internazionale d´Arte Illuminations. I visited most of the exhibitions in Venice for three days and of course there are many ‘pros’ and ‘cons.’ But this year the catalog is very good and there is an English edition, The Venice Biennale. 12th International Architecture Exhibition. People meet in architecture (Marsilio Editions). In Munich now you can see two wonderful exhibitions with works of Ellsworth Kelly. In Pinakothek der Moderne you see 60 drawings of plants (through January 8th) http://www.pinakothek.de/en/kalender/2011-10-07/14412/ellsworth-kelly-plant-drawings. And the catalog is an inspirational artwork for itself! But there is only a German edition.”

Karyl Sisson reports that, “Sometimes I just need to laugh.  Tina Fey’s Bossypants (Reagan Arthur Books) did it for me.”

Wendy Wahl, writes that, “It is with pleasure I sing the praises for a book that is pure joy to consume in a vicarious living sort of way. Rosamond Bernier has written Some of My Lives, A Scrapbook Memoir (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). The author’s voice comes alive as she tells the stories of her amazing life’s experiences with leading personalities of the 20th century in the world of art and music. She has lead such a vivid and unique life; the book is fabulous armchair travel.” (Full disclosure: my day job is with this publisher’s parent.)

Sensual Relations by David Howes (University of Michigan) is Deborah Valoma’s recommendation.

Randy Walker  found Portraits of the Mind: Visualizing the Brain from Antiquity to the 21st Century by Carl Schoonover (Abrams) to be inspirational. His wife bought the book for her sister, who is a Doctoral student in Psychology, but when Randy saw the images in the book, he nabbed it and his wife had to buy another one for her sister.

Lena McGrath Welker loved Jane Urquhart’s  Sanctuary Line (MacAdam/Cage Publishers).


Quiz: Sleight of Hand: Can You Identify these Remastered Materials?

Sleight of Hand, currently on exhibit at the Denver Art Museum, celebrates artists, including Lia Cook and Norma Minkowitz, who create works of art that challenge viewers’ perception, through their innovative use of materials and textile techniques. There are a several other artists represented by browngrotta arts who do the same. Inspired by the concept, we created a quiz.  See if what you can guess about the materials and methods used to create the works in these images. The short answers appear at the end. You can click on each answer to see a larger version on our website (but not until you’ve made a guess!).

Ed Rossbach, Axel Russmeyer, Sue Lawty, Adela Akers, Karyl Sisson, Kazue Honma, Tomiko Kawata, Kate Hunt, Dani Marti, Merja Winqvist, Heidrun Schimmel, Wendy Wahl, Toshio Sekiji, Simone Pheulpin, Heidrun Schimmel

 

Answer Key:
a) Ed Rossbach – plastic tubing
b) Axel Russmeyer – bobbins with thread
c) Sue Lawty – woven lead
d) Adela Akers – linen, horsehair, paint and metal wine foil
e) Karyl Sisson – cloth measuring tapes
f) Kazue Honma – Japanese strapping tape, tannin
g) Tamiko Kawata – safety pins on canvas
h) Deborah Valoma – woven copper
i) Dani Marti – marine rope — polypropylene and nylon
j) Merja Winqvist – florist paper
k) Kate Hunt – newspaper, gold leaf, burnt plaster
l) Wendy Wahl – industrial paper and yarn
m) Toshio Sekiji – newspapers from Japan. China and Korea
n) Simone Pheulpin – folded cotton
o) Heidrun Schimmel – heavily stitched cotton, large sewing needle