Tag: Dorothy Gill Barnes

Basket, Vessel, Object, Sculpture … the Challenge of Reinvention

Experimentation can fuel creativity and spark unexpected results. At browngrotta arts, we are continually impressed by our object-making artists’ ability — and willingness — to reinvent themselves rather than remain in a successful, but predictable, lane.

Ed Rossbachs
Ed Rossbach’s Open Structure, 1982 and Cedar: Export Bundle, 1993. Photos by Tom Grotta

Foremost among the experimenters was perhaps Ed Rossbach who tried unexpected materials and symbols in his baskets, vessels, and assemblages including plastic, cotton balls, cardboard and Mickey Mouse. When plaiting, weaving and lace-making had been thoroughly explored, he taught himself cedar basketmaking and turned to images of bison and Native Americans.

John McQueens
John McQueen’s Deer Head, 2010 and Untitled, 1983. Photos by Tom Grotta

John McQueen has also made deviations. Most of his sculptures are made of sticks and bark, but he sometimes veers from that path, incorporating cardboard, plastic and found objects.

Dorothy Gill Barnes
Dorothy Gill Barnes, Summer Pine, 1997, and Bark and Glass Triptych, 2010. Photos by Tom Grotta

The late Dorothy Gill Barnes was a weaver and manipulator of twigs and bark, as well, but later in her career, she changed her approach after collaborating with woodturners and glass makers. In Bark and Glass Triptych, for example, the rustic bark is still a primary component, but echoed by sleek glass interior.

Mary Merkel-Hess
Mary Merkel-Hess’s Rose Tipped Basket. 1992; Green-Tipped Basket, 1992 and Umbel, 1996. Photos by Tom Grotta

One of our first exhibitions at browngrotta arts featured Mary Merkel-Hess‘ jewel-toned vessels of reed and paper in blues and reds and even purple. The works were very popular and we sold nearly every one. Two years later, we asked Merkel-Hess to create work for another two-person exhibition. Rather than recreate her first successful show, however, she sculpted works of no color — new shapes, made of translucent gampi paper. They were wildly different, but equally well-received, inspiring collectors to acquire multiple works by Merkel-Hess, accompanying her on her artistic journey. Since then she has continued to work in color — but in larger scale and different forms. She still makes room for the minimal, however, like Among the Trees, II, her 2020 wall work of gampi and pencil.

Nancy Moore Bess
Nancy Moore Bess’s From Biwa to Tahoe, 2001 and Shiro Katach i-White Form, 2008, Photos by Tom Grotta

A difficulty with her hands and the movement required to make her small, twined basket forms, led Nancy Moore Bess to invent a new process involving carved foam shapes. Still working with variations of twining and knots, the carved forms allow her to rest her hands as she worked. The result was a completely new body of work that built on previous efforts.

Stépahnie Jacques
Séphanie Jacques’s Paniers-liens II & III, 2011 and Wall / Mur, 2013. Photos by Tom Grotta

Stéphanie Jacques is another relentless reinventer. Her basket-like sculptures have incorporated yarn and woodworking and clay. She has added performance, video and still photography to the mix as well.

Kari Lønning’s Bridge to Blue, 1995 and With a Flash of Blue, 2021. Photos by Tom Grotta

Kari Lønning invented the double-walled basket of smooth, round rattan, then reinvented her baskets with fine and variegated akebia vines.

Other artists at browngrotta arts have also made changes in materials and approach. Contact us at art@browngrotta.com if you want to know more about the specific path for any artist whose work we represent. Their predisposition to change and exploration keeps viewers engaged.


Earth Day Flashback – Green from the Get Go: International Contemporary Basketmakers

Barkbåden by Jane Balsgaard
32jb Barkbåden, Jane Balsgaard, peeled willow twigs and paper morbæbark, 17″ x 29″ x 14″, 2008-2009. Photo by Tom Grotta

At browngrotta arts, many of the artists we represent work with natural materials and express care and concern for the environment in their work. A few years ago, we worked worked with Jane Milosch, now Visiting Professorial Fellow, Provenance & Curatorial Studies, School of Culture & Creative Arts, University of Glasgow, to curate an exhibition of basketmakers working in natural materials. The exhibition, Green from the Get Go: International Contemporary Basketmakers, began at the Wayne Art Center in Pennsylvania then traveled to the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House in Michigan and the Morris Museum in New Jersey and was the subject of our 40th catalog http://store.browngrotta.com/green-from-the-get-go-international-contemporary-basketmakers/.

The exhibition featured 75 works by 33 artists from Canada, Europe, Scandinavia, Japan, UK and the US, all of whom took inspiration from Nature and the history of basketry. Some were early innovators of 20th-century art basketry, and others emerging talents. Below are some works by artists that were part of Green from the Get Go.

Wall / Mur by Stéphanie Jacques
8sj Wall / Mur, Stéphanie Jacques, willow, 59” x 90.5” x 13.75”, 2013. Photo by Tom Grotta

As Milosch wrote in her essay for the catalog, The Entanglement of Nature and Man, “The artists in this exhibition have a strong connection to the land, whether cultivated fields or wild prairies, marshes or forests. Several cultivate, harvest, and prepare the materials from which they construct their work. They have a respectful awareness of the origin of things, and of the interconnected aspects of nature and ecosystems, which are both fragile and resilient.” 

The Basket for the Crows  by Chris Drury
4cd The Basket for the Crows, Chris Drury, crow feathers, willow and hazel, 118″ x 12″ x 1.5″, 1986. Photo by Tom Grotta

Chris Drury’s work has taken him to seven continents, where he makes site-specific sculptures with indigenous flora and fauna he collects and employs in both a hunter-gatherer and scientist-like fashion, often with the help of regional communities. His Basket for Crows, 1986, a basket-like vessel made from crow feathers, accompanies a ladder or totem-like form. The shamanistic qualities of this particular combination recall universal symbols and myths about the here-and-now and the afterlife.

From the Old Haystack by Dorothy Gill Barnes
26dgb From the Old Haystack, Dorothy Gill Barnes, 2005. Photo by Tom Grotta

The late Ohio basketmaker and wood sculptor Dorothy Gill Barnes explained her use of materials as “respectfully harvested from nature” and that “the unique properties I find in bark, branches, roots, seaweed and stone suggest a work process to me. I want this problem solving to be evident in the finished piece.” Her Dendroglyph series began as experimental drawings on trees soon to be logged. While the sap is flowing up the trees, she carves into the bark, so that the drawings change organically. When she was satisfied with these “drawings,” she carefully removed the bark. Her White Pine Dendroglyph, 1995-99, combined these raw drawings with traditional woven basketry techniques, and the result is a kind of sculpted drawing, created in concert with a living tree.

Same Difference by John McQueen
21jm Same Difference, John McQueen, wood, sticks, bonsai, 54” x 60” x 24”, 2013. Photo by Tom Grotta

John McQueen’s Same Difference, 2013 draws attention to the cosmos and the relationship between the divine, man and Nature. He connects three seemingly disparate objects through something that is not visible but present in all: water, a necessary, life-nurturing resource for animals, plants and humans. These objects are displayed side-by-side, atop see-through basket-like pedestals, suggesting a kind of tenuous underpinning in their relationship to each other. All three draw water, but have their own history and function: the first is a hybrid human/elephant, which draws water through its trunk and recalls the Hindu god Ganesh, known as the patron of arts and sciences and the diva of intellect and wisdom; the second is a dead, but intact, bonsai tree with its stunted root structure that once drew water; and, the third is a manmade tool, a sump pump, engineered by humans to aid them in drawing water. McQueen comments, “Each piece is on its own stand, and they’re arranged in a line, like words. I’m trying to tell a story using what seem to be unrelated objects. I hope the viewer will say, ‘Why are these next to each other?’ and try to figure out a relationship.” 

The works in Green from the Get Go, compel the viewer to think of Nature in new ways,” wrote Milosch, —”sustaining us, providing mediums for art, acted on by man, and influencing us in return. It’s a sensual and spiritual journey that takes time and reason.” A journey with Nature that’s worth taking often. Happy Earth Day!


Lives Well Lived: Dorothy Gill Barnes (1927-2020)

We are heartbroken to report that innovative contemporary basketmaker and fiber sculptor Dorothy Gill Barnes, passed away peacefully on November 23, 2020 at age 93, after a short battle with COVID-19. Barnes was a revered member of the browngrotta arts community — she taught our son to harvest materials and mark trees when he was just three.

Portrait of Dorothy Gill Barnes in studio. Photo by Tom Grotta

Barnes was known for developing a distinct working process that included scarring trees that had been marked for eventual removal and returning years later, after the trees had been cut, to harvest the scarred and overgrown bark for use in her baskets. This process enabled her to create dendroglyphs—literally, “tree drawings” — in which tree and time became her collaborators. “The unique properties I find in bark, branches, roots, seaweed, and stone suggest a work process to me,” Barnes said. “I want this problem solving to be evident in the finished piece.”

Born in Iowa, and a longtime resident of the Columbus, Ohio area, Barnes studied at Coe College, Minneapolis School of Art and Cranbrook Academy, as well as at the University of Iowa, where she earned BA and MA degrees in art education. Barnes taught fibers as an adjunct faculty member at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, from 1966 until her retirement from university teaching in 1990. Throughout much of her career, Barnes was a sought-after teacher, participating in residencies and workshops in Denmark, New Zealand, Australia, Fiji and Canada, as well as throughout the United States. Barnes’ early influences were the artist and teacher Ruth Mary Papenthien, who taught at Ohio State University, and Dwight Stump, an Ohio-based traditional basketmaker. She also credited the works of John McQueen and Ed Rossbach as spurring her experiments using natural materials to make contemporary sculpture.

Portrait of Dorothy Gill Barnes. Photo by Tom Grotta

Barnes’ technical investigations placed her at the forefront of contemporary fiber art. She used electric tools to expand the scale, scope and complexity of her pieces and she credited power equipment as the source for ideas that handwork alone would not have suggested. She was comfortable incorporating nails, metal wire and staples along with traditional woven assembly methods. In all of her sculptures, Barnes sought to create structures that honored the growing things from which they came, her materials “respectfully harvested from nature.” Like Rossbach and McQueen, she prized experimentation, spontaneity, inventiveness. She continued to expand her artistic practice into her 90s, as a visiting artist working with students in glass in the Department of Art at Ohio State University until 2018.

Millcreek Willow, 1996. Photo by Tom Grotta

A Fellow of the American Craft Council, Barnes received lifetime achievement awards from the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC and the National Basketry Organization. Other awards include the Raymond J. Hanley Award, Outstanding/Artist Educator from Penland School of Crafts, an Individual Artist Governor’s Award for the Arts in Ohio, and four Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowships. Her work is in the collections of the Columbus Museum of Art; the de Young Museum of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; the Mint Museum, Charlotte North Carolina; Museum of Arts and Design, New York, New York; Racine Art Museum, Wisconsin; Longhouse Reserve, East Hampton, New York; Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock; the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian’s Museum of American Art, Washington, DC; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, among others. In Nature, a comprehensive retrospective, was held at the Mansfield Arts Center in 2018. The Ohio Craft Museum hosted From the Woods: Dorothy Gill Barnes, a major mid-career survey in 1999. 

Barnes’ work has been represented by browngrotta arts in Wilton, Connecticut since the 90s. “Barnes’ ability to showcase the natural materials with which she worked, yet enhancing them through weaving, plaiting, scarring, stacking and sflaying, placed her at the forefront of contemporary fiber art,” observes Tom Grotta, co-curator of browngrotta arts. 

“[Barnes] is attentive to the innate characteristics of a given wood in her aesthetic decision making and rarely forces a wood into an unnatural or artificial mold,” wrote Jeanne Fryer-Kohles in From the Woods: Dorothy Gill Barnes, the eponymous catalog for Barnes’ solo exhibition at the Ohio Craft Museum. “At the same time, she works intuitively with an experimental turn of mind and integrity of vision …. Barnes’ works are rarely preplanned; she prefers to wend her way toward and into a piece, accepting detours and possible pitfalls as a matter of course. Barnes takes raw nature as a starting point. Rather than subjugating it, as [John] McQueen does, with a ‘civilizing’ impress, Barnes guides and amplifies it – in a sense, keeping its ghost enshrined.”

Dendroglyph Band Mulberry, 2000. Photo by Tom Grotta

Barnes also had a long history of activism in the civil rights and anti-war movements. She could be found every Saturday for many years, on the Worthington Village Green with her friends from Central Ohioans for Peace, encouraging drivers to “Honk for Peace” as they passed. She encouraged others to think globally and have empathy for all, regardless of differences. She supported environmental conservation, Honduras Hope and Habitat for Humanity, where she was a longtime volunteer. 

Friends are invited to attend a virtual celebration of life to honor Dorothy Gill Barnes on Sunday, December 13th from 3-5 PM EST. Details are available at www.schoedinger.com. Donations in Barnes’ memory can be made to The Nature Conservancy (www.nature.org), Sierra Club (www.sierraclub.org), or to a charity of your choice. Please visit www.schoedinger.com to send online condolences.


Dispatches: San Francisco

Carter Grotta, of our browngrotta arts team, traveled to San Francisco last month. We asked him to snapshots of interesting art. Here are some of the highlights!

First the de Young. There, Carter visited the Saxe Collection at the de Young Museum, where he saw an Untitled work of bark and stone by Dorothy Gill Barnes and ceramics by Toshiko Takaezu and Paul Soldner.

Ruth Asawa installation at the deYoung Museum

A great collection of works by Ruth Asawa, San Francisco’s most well-known fiber artist, is also on display at the de Young Museum along with a unique abstract quilt, A Bend in the River, by Joe Cunningham.

A Bend in the River by Joe Cunningham
A Bend in the River by Joe Cunningham
SFMOCA digital installation

Next SFMOCA. Carter was quite taken by this remarkable digital installation, part of snap+share: transmitting photographs from mail art to social networks, a unique take on transmitting photographs from mail art to social networks. This work illustrates what it means to engage with the technological advancements of the 21st century to create digital conversations in photographs.

Magdalena Abakanowicz Four on a Bench
Magdalena Abakanowicz Four on a Bench

Also housed at the SFMOMA, the sculptures of Magdalena Abankanowicz, like Four on a Bench, are representative of the oppressive historic conditions of her native country, Poland.

Jannis Kounellis Untitled piece of steel
Jannis Kounellis, Untitled

Also at SFMOMA, was this interesting Untitled piece of steel, crucible, tar and rope, by Italian-born artist, Jannis Kounellis, in The Doris and Donald Fisher Collection.

Tanabe Chikuunsai IV bamboo sculpture
Tanabe Chikuunsai IV

Also worth a trip, the Asian Art Museum which features an exciting installation by Tanabe Chikuunsai IV — a 4th generation bamboo artist, that seems to have grown organically within the gallery space.

Federal Court House building in San Francisco
Federal Court House Building

What Carter couldn’t see — or photograph at least — was That Word, a larger-than-life sculpture of twigs by Gyöngy Laky which is on loan to the federal courts where photography is strictly prohibited.
You can see That Word, though, even if you can’t take a photograph. Just one of a series of interesting stops in a city that is great for art tourism!


Art Out and About: US

The opportunities to see great art are endless this summer! Heading to the West Coast for work? Take a detour and visit  the newly opened Nordic Museum to check out Northern Exposure: Contemporary Nordic Arts Revealed in Seattle, WashingtonVisiting friends or family in the Northeast? Make plans to spend the day in New Haven and see Text and Textile at The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library on Yale’s campus. Whether you are in the North, South, East or West there are a wide variety of strong exhibitions on display across the US this summer, here are a few of our favorites:

Grethe Wittrock's Nordic Birds at the Nordic Museum

Grethe Wittrock’s Nordic Birds at the Nordic Museum in Seattle, Washington. Photo by Grethe Wittrock

Northern Exposure: Contemporary Nordic Arts Revealed at the Nordic Museum, Seattle, Washington

The newly opened Nordic Museum hopes to share and inspire people of all ages and backgrounds through Nordic art. The museum is the largest in the US to honor the legacy of immigrants from the five Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. Northern Exposure studies “how the Nordic character continues to redefine itself within an evolving global context” by challenging “perceptions of form, gender, identity, nature, technology and the body,” explains the Museum. The exhibition features work by internationally acclaimed artists, including Grethe Wittrock, Olafur Eliasson, Bjarne Melgaard, Jesper Just, Kim Simonsson and Cajsa Von Zeipel. Made of Danish sailcloth, Wittrock’s Nordic Birds immediately attracts the eye upon entering the exhibition. Northern Exposure: Contemporary Nordic Arts Revealed will be on display through September 16, 2018. For more information click HERE.

Traces: Wonder by Lia Cook at the Racine Art Museum, Gift of Karen Johnson Boyd. Photo by Jon Bolton

Traces: Wonder by Lia Cook at the Racine Art Museum, Gift of Karen Johnson Boyd. Photo by Jon Bolton

Honoring Karen Johnson Boyd: Collecting In-Depth at Home and at RAM, Racine Art Museum, Wisconsin

The Racine Art Museum’s new exhibit Honoring Karen Johnson Boyd: Collecting In-Depth at Home and at RAM showcases art advocate and collector Karen Johnson Boyd’s collection of ceramic, clay and fiber art. The exhibition, which is broken up into a series of four individually titled exhibitions, with varying opening and closing dates, highlight Boyd’s interests, accomplishments and lifelong commitment to art. Throughout her life, Boyd was drawn to a diverse array of artistic styles and subjects. Boyd, who collected fiber in an encyclopedic fashion, supported artists of varying ages with varying regional, national and international reputations. Boyd’s Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home provided her with many display options for her fiber collection. Though baskets encompassed the majority of Boyd’s fiber collection, she regularly altered her environment, adding and subtracting works as she added to her collection. The exhibitions feature work from Dorothy Gill Barnes, Lia Cook, Kiyomi Iwata, Ferne Jacobs, John McQueen, Ed Rossbach, Hideho Tanaka, Mary Merkel-Hess, Norma Minkowitz, Lenore Tawney and Katherine Westphal. Honoring Karen Johnson Boyd: Collecting In-Depth at Home and at RAM will be on display at the Racine Art Museum through December 30th, with exhibited pieces changing over in mid-September. For more information on Honoring Karen Johnson Boyd: Collecting In-Depth at Home and at RAM visit the Racine Art Museum’s website HERE.

Text and Textile at The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Text and Textile at The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, New Haven, Connecticut

In New Haven, Connecticut, The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library recently opened Text and Textile. The exhibition, which will be on display through August 12th, explores the relationship and intersection between text and textile in literature and politics.Text and Textile draws on Yale University’s phenomenal collection of literature tied to textiles, from Renaissance embroidered bindings to text from Anni Albers’ On Weaving. Additionally, the exhibition features: Gertrude Stein’s waistcoat; manuscript patterns and loom cards from French Jacquard mills; the first folio edition of William Shakespeare’s plays; the “Souper” paper dress by Andy Warhol; American samplers; Christa Wolf’s “Quilt Memories”; Zelda Fitzgerald’s paper dolls for her daughter; Edith Wharton’s manuscript drafts of “The House of Mirth”; an Incan quipu; poetry by Langston Hughes, Emily Dickinson, Susan Howe and Walt Whitman; and “The Kelmscott Chaucer” by William Morris. For more information on Text and Textile click HERE.

Kaki Shibu by Nancy Moore Bess. Lent by Browngrotta Arts

Kaki Shibu by Nancy Moore Bess. Lent by Browngrotta Arts

Rooted, Revived, Reinvented: Basketry In America at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. Houston, Texas

The traveling exhibition Rooted, Revived, Reinvented: Basketry In America is now on display at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft in Houston, Texas. The exhibition, which is set to travel around the United States through the end of 2019, chronicles the history of American basketry from its origins in Native American, immigrant and slave communities to its presence within the contemporary fine art world. Curated by Josephine Stealy and Kristin Schwain, the exhibition is divided into five sections: Cultural Origins, New Basketry, Living Traditions, Basket as Vessel and Beyond the Basket which aim to show you the evolution of basketry in America. Today, some contemporary artists seek to maintain and revive traditions practiced for centuries. However, other work to combine age-old techniques with nontraditional materials to generate cultural commentary. Rooted, Revived, Reinvented: Basketry In America features work by browngrotta arts’ artists Polly Adams Sutton, Mary Giles, Nancy Moore Bess, Christine Joy, Nancy Koenigsberg, Dorothy Gill Barnes, Ferne Jacobs, Gyöngy Laky, Kari Lønning, John McQueen, Norma Minkowitz, Leon Niehues, Ed Rossbach, Karyl Sisson and Kay Sekimachi.

Kay Sekimachi in Handheld at the Aldrich Museum

Kay Sekimachi in Handheld at the Aldrich Museum. Photo by Tom Grotta

Handheld at the Aldrich Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut

The Aldrich Museum’s new exhibition Handheld explores how contemporary artists’ and designers’ perceive the meaning of touch. Touch is one of the most intimate and sometimes unappreciated senses. Today, the feeling our hands are most familiar with are our that of our handheld devices and electronics. Touch is no longer solely used to hold objects such as pencils and tools, in fact, touch is increasingly taking the form of a swipe, where the sensation is ignored in favor to the flat visual landscapes of our own selection. “Handheld takes a multifarious approach—the hand as means of creation, a formal frame of reference” explains the Aldrich Museum. It serves the viewer as “a source of both delight and tension as they experience sensual objects in familiar domestic forms, scaled for touch, that can be looked upon but not felt.” The group exhibition, which features work by Kay Sekimachi will be on display until January 13, 2019. For more information on Handheld click HERE.


Art Update: April Openings and Closings Here and Abroad

Beyond the Trees: Dona Look and Dorothy Gill Barnes. Photo courtesy of the Wood Turning Center

Beyond the Trees: Dona Look and Dorothy Gill Barnes. Photo courtesy of the Wood Turning Center

It’s a Spring chock full of interesting exhibitions in the US and abroad. You’ve have just a few days remaining to see Beyond the Trees: Dona Look and Dorothy Gill Barnes http://centerfor
artinwood.org/
exhibition/dorothy-
gill-barnes-dona-
look-beyond-the-
trees/ at the Center for Wood Art in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Two browngrotta artist are featured in this exhibition, which closes April 23rd.

photo by Tom Grotta, Green From the Get Go, Morris Museum

Photo by Tom Grotta, Green From the Get Go, Morris Museum

Their work can also be seen through June 26th at the Morris Museum in Morristown, New Jersey in Green From the Get Go: Contemporary International Basketmakers, curated by browngrotta arts. In New York, New York, the Experiments in Art & Digital Technologies includes innovative bga artist Lia Cook, http://www.liacook.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/EADT-Press.pdf who will lecture in New York on May 5th https://creativetechweek2016.sched.org/event/6DN5/weaving-and-digital-innovation.

12 of 32 Lia Cook Su Series Tapestries

12 of 32 Lia Cook Su Series Tapestries

Work by Lia Cook is also front and center in a San Francisco, California exhibition, Lines that Tie: Carol Beadle and Lia Cook http://sfmcd.org/press-release-lines-that-tie/ the exhibition is curated by bga artist, Deborah Valoma. Cook will lecture there tomorrow, April 21st. Identify Yourself, in Honolulu, Hawaii http://honolulumuseum
.org/art/exhibitions/
15320-identify_yourself/
, which closes this week, on April 24th, also features work by Lia Cook. Two events in Wilton, Connecticut to attend. Hickory, Ash and Reed: Traditional Baskets, Contemporary Makersat the Wilton Historical Society, http://www.wiltonhistorical.
org/exhibitions.html
, Includes several baskets by the late Marian Hildebrandt, whose work is represented by browngrotta arts and whose work is also currently on exhibit in Green from the Get: International Contemporary Basketmakers at the Morris Museum.

Detail of Nordic Gold by Birgit Birkkjaer. Photo by Tom Grotta

Detail of Nordic Gold by Birgit Birkkjaer. Photo by Tom Grotta

Artboom: Celebrating Artists Mide-Century, Mid-Career is open at browngrotta arts for just 10 days, from April 30th-May 8th http://arttextstyle.com/
2016/04/19/art-barn-
2016-artboom-
celebrating-artists-
mid-century-mid-
career-wilton-ct-
april-30th-may-8th/
.

MER LUMINEUSE and J'AI MA LA MER S'ILLUMINER by Mariette Rousseau-Vermette. Photo by Tom Grotta

Mer Lumineuse and J’ai Ma La Mer S’illuminer
by Mariette Rousseau-Vermette. Photo by Tom Grotta

In the halls of the Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts in Lausanne, Switzerland, Nomadic tapestries, an exhibition of some of the extensive contemporary collection of the Toms Pauli Foundation, traces in the evolution of textile art from the 1960s to 2000s,
http://www.musees.vd.ch/en/museem-beaux-arts/exhibition/past-exhibitions/tapisseries-nomades-fondation-toms-pauli-collection-xxe-siecle/. browngrotta arts has work available by twelve of the artists included in this very significant international survey of art textiles — Magadalena Abakanowicz, Lia Cook, Sheila Hicks, Jan HladikRitzi Jacobi, Naomi Kobayashi, Maria Laszkiewicz, Jolanta Owidzka, Mariette Rousseau-Vermette, Wojciech Sadley, Sherri Smith and Hideho Tanaka. The exhibition will be on view through May 29th. In Tilburg, the Netherlands the Textile Museum is hosting a major retrospective of American artist and textile pioneer Sheila Hicks, born 1934 http://www.textielmuseum.nl. Internationally renowned, thanks to her participation in numerous large solo and group exhibitions, this is her first appearance in the Netherlands for many years. The exhibition extends through June 5, 2016.


Art Out and About: Exhibitions Across the US

Coast-to-coast cultural opportunities to enjoy in August and through to November.

Traced Memories by Adela Akers, photo by Tom Grotta

Traced Memories by Adela Akers, photo by Tom Grotta

San Francisco, California
Adela Akers: Traced Memories, Artist-in-Residence
Through August 31st
Wednesdays–Sundays, 1–5 pm, plus Friday nights until 8:45 pm
Artist Reception: Friday, August 29, 6–8:30 p.m.
Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco de Young/Legion of Honor
Golden Gate Park
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive
San Francisco, California
https://deyoung.famsf.org/programs/artist-studio/august-artist-residence-adela-akers-traced-memories
Textile artist Adela Akers has moved her studio to the de Young for a month. Visitors to the new studio will learn how each choice in her art-making process contributes to the unique character and quality of her work. Throughout her residency, Akers will invite visitors to engage in hands-on activities that explore her creative process—from inspiration and research to preparation of the materials she has selected to convey her concept to creation and final presentation of the finished artworks. Akers’s work has been influenced and informed by pre-Columbian textiles and, most recently, paintings by women of the Mbuti people of the Ituri Forest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Journeying from one point to another has been a physical and transformative reality in her life, increasing her self-confidence and expanding her vision of the world. Akers feels fortunate to have made these geographical voyages and to have experienced country living’s broad horizons and quiet strength, the power of nature and the palpitating rhythm of cities.

Athena by Nancy Koenigsberg, photo by Tom Grotta

Athena by Nancy Koenigsberg, photo by Tom Grotta

Brockton, Massachusetts
Game Changers: Fiber Art Masters and Innovators
Through November 23rd
Fuller Craft Museum
455 Oak Street
Brockton, MA
http://fullercraft.org/press/game-changers-fiber-art-masters-and-innovators/
“Game changers” are artists, past and present, who continuously revisit traditional techniques and materials while developing revolutionary approaches in the realm of fiber art. Every work in the exhibition was chosen to showcase the individual practice of each invited artist. These creators epitomize the dynamism and fluidity of work in fiber. Artists featured in the exhibition include: Olga de Amaral, Dorothy Gill Barnes, Mary Bero, Nancy Moore Bess, Archie Brennan, John Cardin, Lia Cook, John Garrett, Jan Hopkins, Mary Lee Hu, Lissa Hunter, Diane Itter, Michael James, Naomi Kobayashi, Nancy Koenigsberg, Gyongy Laky, Chunghie Lee, Kari Lonning, Susan Martin Maffei, John McQueen, Norma Minkowitz, Michael F. Rohde, Ed Rossbach and Kay Sekimachi.

Midland Museum Forming: The Synergy Between Basketry and Sculpture, photo by Jennifer Falck Linssen

Midland Museum Forming: The Synergy Between Basketry and Sculpture, photo by Jennifer Falck Linssen

Midland, Michigan
Forming: The Synergy Between Basketry and Sculpture
Through September 7th
Alden B. Dow Museum
Midland Center for the Arts
1801 West Saint Andrews Road
Midland, Michigan
http://www.mcfta.org/ab-dow-museum-announces-summer-exhibitions-press-release/
The works by eight artists featured in Forming: The Synergy Between Basketry and Sculpture, including Jennifer Falck Linssen, were designed and executed as alternative approaches to sculptural form, in which the line dissolves between traditional basketry and contemporary sculpture. A selection of artists from across America inquisitively open our eyes to new alternatives in basketry and fiber-based sculptural form. The craftsmanship is superb, the creative and technical finesse is complex while the vision is beyond today yet with inspiration from long-revered fiber traditions.

Midland, Michigan
Modern Twist: Contemporary Japanese Bamboo Art

Cocoon by Jiro Yonezawa, photo by Tom Grotta

Cocoon by Jiro Yonezawa, photo by Tom Grotta

Through September 7th
Alden B. Dow Museum
Midlands Center for the Arts
1801 West Saint Andrews Road
Midland, Michigan
http://www.mcfta.org/ab-dow-museum-announces-summer-exhibitions-press-release/

Bamboo is a quintessential part of Japanese culture, shaping the country’s social, artistic, and spiritual landscape. Although bamboo is a prolific natural resource, it is a challenging artistic medium. There are fewer than 100 professional bamboo artists in Japan today. Mastering the art form requires decades of meticulous practice while learning how to harvest, split, and plait the bamboo. Modern Twist brings 38 exceptional works by 17 artists, including Jiro Yonezawa, to U.S. audiences, celebrating the artists who have helped to redefine a traditional craft as a modern genre, inventing unexpected new forms and pushing the medium to groundbreaking levels of conceptual, technical, and artistic ingenuity.

29ww EB mixed editions #12, Wendy Wahl, Encylodpedia Britanica pages, poplar frame, 24" x 32" x 1.5",  2011 photo by Tom Grotta

29ww EB mixed editions #12, Wendy Wahl, Encylodpedia Britanica pages, poplar frame, 24″ x 32″ x 1.5″, 2011
photo by Tom Grotta

Jamestown, Rhode Island
PAPER-MADE
Through August 30th
Wed. – Sat. 10am – 2pm
Jamestown Arts Center
18 Valley Street
Jamestown, Rhode Island
http://www.jamestownartcenter.org/exhibitions
Paper art is emerging as a global phenomenon. PAPER-MADE explores paper’s transformation from an everyday object into an exquisite three dimensional sculptural artwork. The exhibit’s title PAPER-MADE is a reference to Marcel Duchamp’s concept of the “ready-made,” since paper is an everyday object. The alchemic transformation from simple paper to art highlights the artist’s creativity and demonstrates the limitless potential of the art form. Eighteen showcased artists, including Wendy Wahl, explore this material’s ephemeral nature and beauty. Each artist explores different qualities of paper, from hand-made paper and paper string, to site-specific installation made of book pages, from Korean joomchi paper to found lottery tickets and archival photographs.


Don’t Miss – 10 Days Only: Of Two Minds: Artists Who Do More Than One of a Kind, browngrotta arts, Wilton, CT

This Saturday, April 26th, marks the opening of Of Two Minds: Artists Who Do More Than One of a Kind at browngrotta arts, 276 Ridgefield Road, Wilton, CT. Open for just 10 days, Of Two Minds features 25 international artists working in a a variety of media, including, glass, wood, watercolor, metal and fiber. The artists in the exhibition show remarkable range, working in different mediums, mastering different techniques and materials and creating complementary or contrasting works along the way. “Painters paint, sculptors sculpt, but the textile and mixed media artists in Of Two Minds are less restricted by material or technique,” explains browngrotta arts’ co-curator, Tom Grotta. “Represented in major museums, these artists weave, plait, knit, crochet, stitch and felt and also carve, construct, draw, dye, weld and paint.” Each artist in Of Two Minds has provided at least two contrasting works — several will exhibit more than two.

Detail of MarianBijlenga installation of glass and fiber, photo by Tom Grotta

Detail of MarianBijlenga installation of glass and fiber, photo by Tom Grotta

Marian Bijlenga, of the Netherlands, has sent a stitched work of horsehair, one of fish scales, a wall assemblage of glass “doodles” resulting from her glass experiments and also two glass sculptures.

Tissus d’ombres, detail, Stéphanie Jacques’,photo by Tom Grotta

Tissus d’ombres, detail, Stéphanie Jacques’,photo by Tom Grotta

Stéphanie Jacques of Belgium exhibits clay-coated and textile-edged woven baskets, with wood-worked bases along with a stitched photographic print.

Vanishing and Emerging installation detail by Hideho Tanaka, photo by Tom Grotta

Vanishing and Emerging installation detail by Hideho Tanaka, photo by Tom Grotta

Hideho Tanaka of Japan combines a large patched linen weaving with sculptures of torched paper and steel.

detail of Lawrence LaBianca installation from Of Two Minds, photo by Tom Grotta

detail of Lawrence LaBianca installation from Of Two Minds, photo by Tom Grotta

Lawrence LaBianca of California exhibits works combining glassblowing, prints, wood and metal work. LaBianca’s Skiff is interactive, when a viewer picks up the phone, he or she can hear the rushing river that inspired the work. The full list of participating artists is:
Dona Anderson (US),  Dorothy Gill Barnes ( US),  Dail Behennah (UK),  Nancy Moore Bess (US),  Marian Bijlenga (NL),  Birgit Birkkjaer (DK),  Gali Cnaani (IL),  Agneta Hobin (FI),  Stéphanie Jacques (BE),  Tamiko Kawata (JP),  Naomi Kobayashi (JP),  Kyoko Kumai (JP),  Lawrence LaBianca(US),  Gyöngy Laky(US),  Sue Lawty (UK),  John McQueen (US),  Norma Minkowitz (US),  Scott Rothstein (US),  Axel Russmeyer (DE),  Hisako Sekijima (JP),  Karyl Sisson (US),  Jin-Sook So (JP),  Hideho Tanaka (JP),  Deborah Valoma (US) and Grethe Wittrock (DK).

Wave Hill Bread

Wave Hill Breads

The Artists Reception and Opening begins at 12 p.m. on Saturday. Several of the artists will be in attendance including, Tamiko Kawata (US),  Norma Minkowitz (US) , Sue Lawty (UK) and John McQueen (US). We’ll also be tasting artisan breads from Wave Hill Breads. From Sunday the 27th through Sunday, May 4th, our hours will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by appointment. Call us at 203-834-0623 if you wish to come earlier or later. We are at work on a catalog for the exhibition which you can purchase at bga or online after May 1st. For more information visit: http://browngrotta.com/Pages/newthisweek.php.


Objects of Desire Gift Guide: Part 3 -The Natural Order

Choose among baskets, sculptures and wall works of natural materials including wood bark, cockle burrs, leaves and feathers.

Natural Order Objects

1) HAYSTACK RIVER BASKET, Dorothy Gill Barnes
early river teeth, 14.5″ x 21″ x 16″, 2011

2) PANIER-MAISON II, Stéphanie Jacques
wood, willow, raw clay coated and limewash, 16.5″ x 21.25″ x 21.25″, 2010

3) MARAG, Lizzie Farey
willow, wax and galloway pebble, 
16.5″ x 11.5″ x 11.5″, 2006

4) GUARDIAN II, Jan Buckman
waxed linen and hawthorne branches, 
27″ x 7.5″ x 7″, 2002

5) BIRD BRAIN, John Mcqueen
woven willow twigs, waxed string , 26″ x 23.5″ x 23″, 2002

6) CAMPHOR, Lawrence LaBianca
glass with photo, branch, steel, 12″ x 22″ x 7″, 1999

7) EMU, Virginia Kaiser
pine needles, Emu feathers, stitched with linen, 14″ x 5″ x 5″, 2011

8) PUSSY WILLOW XIIII, Markku Kosonen
willow, 8″ x 12″ x 12″, 1996

9) LEAF BOWL, Kay Sekimachi
skeleton of big leaf maple, 8″ x 5″ x 5″, 2011

10) FITTINGS V, Hisako Sekijima
cherry and maple, 
8″ x 10″ x 9″, 1999

11) CRADLE TO CRADLE, Gyöngy Laky
apple, commercial wood, screws, 16 x 30″ x 30″, 2007

12) CHINESE LANTERN, Ceca Georgieva
burdock burrs, chinese lantern, 16” x 8.25” x 4.75”, 2012

13) MOTHER  & CHILD, Dawn MacNutt
twined willow, 
36″ x 9″ x 9″, 2009, $3,000

47db TWENTY FIVE SQUARES14) TWENTY -FIVE SQUARES, Dail Behennah
willow silver plated pins, 
37.5″ x 37.5″ x 3″, 2007


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.