Tag: Heidrun Schimmel

Art Out and About: Exhibitions Here and Abroad

It’s September and it’s not just schools that are opening their doors. Tanned, rested and ready — museums and galleries like browngrotta arts are presenting fall events. Here’s a round up of some fiber events to view in the next few months.

NYTM
New York Textile Month
New York City and nearby locations
https://www.textilemonth.nyc

In New York, it’s NYTM — New York Textile Month.  That means range of activities — talks, films, studio visits, workshops, an in-window exhibition at Bergdorf Goodman, exhibitions at Mana Contemporary and elsewhere, and Eva Hesse’s Expanded Expansion at the Guggenheim — all celebrating textile art, making and conservation. Check out the NYTM website for suggestions, times, and dates.

Contemporary Weaving Artist Series 6: Kyoko Kumai
Through November 6, 2022
Nakahechi Museum of Art
891 Kinro Nakahechi-machi
Tanabe-shi Wakayama-ken Japan
Tel; 0739-65-0390 
https://www.tokyoartbeat.com/en/events/-/2022%2Fcontemporary-weaving-artist-series-vi-kyoko-kumai

Detail of Memory, Kyoko Kumai, stainless steel filaments, 41” x 19” x 19”, 2017. Photo by Tom Grotta

Since 2017, Tanabe City Museum of Art has been presenting Contemporary Weaving, an exhibition series that showcases outstanding contemporary weavers who create world-class works by combining traditional and unique materials and techniques with new weaving expressions that reflect the times. This year’s Contemporary Weaving Artist Series 6 features the art of Kyoko Kumai (1943), who has expanded the world of weaving through her innovative use of metallic threads, and continues to develop a variety of expressions that evoke light and wind.

Intellectual Beauty
2nd International Exhibition of Textile Art and Mixed Media
Museu Textil 
September 1 – February 28, 2022
Virtual
https://www.museutextil.com

Vessel from Intellectual Beauty by Jeannet Leenderste. Photo by Jeannet Leenderste

Rodrigo Franzao founded a fully envisioned virtual museum that focuses on the work of artists who “use textile strategies as support for their creations.” For Intellectual Beauty, Fanzao has gathered 43 artists from 18 countries, who have used their “sensitive reality to introduce to the beholder the sensorial perceptions of a reality emancipated from rules and theory, free and absorbed by inspiration.” You can view the entire exhibition, 116 artworks, including two by Jeannet Leenderste, online.

Contextile 2022
September 3 – October 31, 2022
Guimarães, Portugal

Landscape Here West, by Åse Ljones from the Intellectual Beauty exhibition. Photo by Helge Hansen.
Anthropocene by Neha Puri Dhir from Contextile 2022. Photo by Neha Puri Dhir.

Contextile 2022 – Contemporary Textile Art Biennial celebrates its 10th Anniversary this year. The exhibition features 57 works by 50 artists from 34 countries chosen for their high creativity, originality and technical competence around the textile element, by construction, theme, concept or material used, as well as their adherence to the concept of Contextile 2022: RE-MAKE.  Among the artists included are Neha Puri Dhir of India. In addition, the Contextile organizers selected Norway as its invited country and are presenting work from 13 Norwegian textile artists including Åse Ljones.

X International Biennial of Contemporary Textile Art, “25 Years World Textile Art”
From November 3rd to December 15th, 2022
Miami International Fine Art (MIFA)
5900 NW 74th Ave
Miami, FL 33166
Colombia Consulate
280 Aragon Ave Coral Gables, FL 33134

https://wta-online.org/blog/x-biennial-of-contemporary-textile-art-wta-25-years/

This year 2022, WTA celebrates its 25th anniversary with the X International Biennial “25 YEARS WTA”, from October through December 2022. For the 10 th Biennial, more than ten countries will be interconnected to celebrate WTA history through salons featuring 25 artists each. A number of artists will have worked displayed in connection with this exhibition including Anneke Klein.

Allies for Art: Work from NATO-related countries
October 8-16, 2022
browngrotta arts
Wilton, Connecticut
http://www.browngrotta.com/Pages/calendar.php

Detail of River by Jolanta Owidzka, 1978 and Ultima Copper, Green, Orange vessels by Gertrud Hals, 2021. Photo by Tom Grotta.

Mindful of the impact that poitical events can have on artists and their art, browngrotta arts will present to work of nearly 50 artists from 21 NATO-related countries in Europe whose work reflects diverse perspectives and experiences. Allies for Art: Work from NATO-related countries (October 8 – 16, 2022) will include art created under occupation, in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s, art by those who left Hungary, Spain and Romania while occupied, and who left Russia in later years, including Jolanta Owidzka, Zofia Butrymowicz, and Krystyna Wojtyna-Drouet of Poland and Luba Krejci and Jan Hladik of Czechoslovakia, Ceca Georgieva of Bulgaria, Gyöngy Laky (Hungary/US), Ritzi Jacobi (Romania/Germany), Adela Akers (Spain/US), Aleksandra Stoyanov (Ukraine/Israel) and Irina Kolineskova (Russia/Germany). Allies for Art will also include recently created art by artists living in Europe, including works by Gudrun Pagter of Denmark, Åse Ljones of Norway, Ulla-Maija Vikman of Finland, Heidrun Schimmel of Germany, Lilla Kulka and Włodmierz Cygan of Poland, and, five artists new to browngrotta arts, including, Esmé Hofman of the Netherlands, Aby Mackie of Spain and Baiba Osite of Latvia.

Reserve your space on Eventbrite.


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.


Acquisition News – Part II, Abroad

More on museum acquisitions of works by artists from browngrotta arts in the last two years. We have 18 works to report on that have been acquired by institutions outside the US — from Norway to Lithuania to Italy to Japan and places in between.

Heidrun Schimmel
One of two works that comprise Hanging by a thread IV, handstitched by Heidrun Schimmel, 1986-1987, acquired in 2021 by the Diocesan Museum in Bamberg, Germany. Photo by: Monika Meinhart.

Heidrun Schimmel

Seven works by Heidrun Schimmel have been acquired since 2020. Two by the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen in Dresden, two by Museum of Applied Art, Frankfurt and three by the Diocesan Musuem in Bamberg.

Kyoko Kumai
Furious Anger by Kyoko Kumai acquired by the Janina Monkute-Marks Art Museum in Kedainai, Lithuania. Photo by Takashi Hatakeyama

Kyoko Kumai

One work by Kyoko Kumai was acquired by the Angers Museums in Angers, France (Jean-Lurçat and the Museum of Contemporary Tapestry) and another by the Janina Monkute-Marks Art Museum in Kedainai, Lithuania.

Carolina Yrarrázaval
Medioevo, jute and linen, Carolina Yrarrázaval. One of two tapestries acquired by the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Kyoto. Photo by Patricia Novoa.

Carolina Yrarrázaval

Two tapestries were selected on May of this year at Yrarrázaval’s exhibition in Kyoto by the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Kyoto.

Åse Ljones

Åse Ljones

Åse Ljones‘ work, Atterskin, was purchased by Nordenfjeldske Art and Craft Museum in Trondheim , Norway in 2020 and Mylder was purchased The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design in Oslo, March 2021. 

Federica Luzzi
Federica Luzzi’s work acquired by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Salerno, Italy. Photo by Federica Luzzi.

Federica Luzzi

An encased textile, Shell-Omaggio a Costanino Dardi, by Federica Luzzi was acquired by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Salerno, Italy for a collection curated by Fondazione Filiberto e Bianca Menna – Centro Studi D’Arte Contemporanea.

The textile object is suspended and anchored with nylon thread in a plexiglass box. Like a seed, with an aerodynamic shape that is structured for long movements and transport, it is closed in a box that prevents its natural and complete movement, it is trapped in it. “This work was done just before the outbreak of the pandemic,” Luzzi says. “So without knowing what would happen, but continuing my research on envelopes, I visualized even better the containment condition of a body.”

Simone Pheulpin
Eclosion Epingles by Simone Pheulpin, photo courtesy of Galerie Maison Parisienne.

Simone Pheulpin

Two artworks by Simone Pheulpin have been acquired by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs i(MAD) inn Paris in December 2019: Jéromine, Série Eclipse (2019); Eclosion Epingles (2019). Another, Détail VII (2021), will be acquired by the same museum in 2021. The acquisitions were organized by the Galerie Maison Parisienne in Paris.

Wlodzimierz Cygan
Organic by Wlodzimierz Cygan, acquired by TAMAT in Brussels, Belgium. Photo by This Way Design.

Wlodzimierz Cygan

In 2021, Organic (2018) by Wlodzimierz Cygan was acquired by the Musée de la Tapisserie et des Arts Textiles de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles (TAMAT) in Tournai, Belgium.


Art Assembled: New This Week April

The art that we highlighted in April represents a wide variety of fascinating works, each of which is uniquely different – from textile, sculptures, basketry, and so much more. The talented group of artists that we’ve highlighted this month include Merja Winqvist, Marian Bijlenga, Heidrun Schimmel, Tim Johnson.

Merja Winqvist
 
12mw Four Seasons, Merja Winqvist, paper, shellack, 11.375, 63” x 4.5”, 2018, photo by Tom Grotta, courtesy browngrotta arts.

Merja Winqvist is a Finland-based artist who specializes in textile and sculptural art. Within her work, Winqvist applies the ideal of functionalism by simplifying the forms as much as possible, while avoiding unnecessary decoration. She has explained that in the parts of her works that appear decorative, there’s actually an important functional significance in terms of the cohesion and durability of the sculptures. 

Marian Bijlenga
33mb Korean Bojagi, Marian Bijlenga, horsehair and fabric, 22″ x 20″, 2017, photo by Tom Grotta, courtesy browngrotta arts.

Marian Bijlenga is a Netherlands-based contemporary artist. Frequently, her inspiration is drawn from her fascination with the rhythmical movements and empty space confined in dots, lines, and contours. 

Heidrun Schimmel
 32hsc Filamente, Heidrun Schimmel, linen, sisal, flax, 21.25” x 56” x 3.25,” 2017, photo by Tom Grotta, courtesy browngrotta arts.

Germany-based artist, Heidrun Schimmel, is influenced by Zen art and includes Zen meditation in her daily practice. “I love the following words of poet Shuntaro Tanikawa,” says Schimmel. “Which I had in my mind when stitching filaments: ‘A square is sometimes shy, and often slips into roundness…'”

Tim Johnson
Tim Johnson, 12ki Curve VI – white willow, sisal, earth pigments, 12.5 x 13” x 14.5” 2019, photo by Tom Grotta, courtesy browngrotta arts.

Tim Johnson is a United Kingdom-based artist who’s known for creating intriguing and detailed artwork, like, Curve VI, the piece featured here. “As soon as we try to define the nature and essence of baskets we unwittingly begin to exclude,” Johnson has observed. “Terminology becomes redundant. The deep sighs and ‘tut tuts’ of tradition serve little to preserve forms and techniques, but rather push on other generations to find their creative path.”


Text/iles: On Art that Includes Words and Text.

January 21 – May 6, 2018
Written languages are just one of the many ways human beings attempt to communicate with one another. In Text Message: Words and Letters in Contemporary Art, currently on exhibit at the Racine Art Museum in Wisconsin, contemporary artists, recognizing the power and complexity of the written word, utilize text—individual letters or words—to explore theoretical, social, symbolic, and aesthetic concerns.

Sampler (Jacket)

2 Laws, Barbara Brandel, Sampler (Jacket), 1995, dyed cotton, silk, and wool
Photo by Jon Bolton, Racine Art Musuem.

Bird Brain

Bird Brain, John McQueen, woven willow twigs, waxed string, 2002, photo by Tom Grotta. On close inspection, the names of various birds are legible.

OLL KORRECT

OLL KORRECT, Gyöngy Laky, apricot, finished pine, vinyl-caoted steel nails, 1998

The Congressional Record

The Congressional Record, Kate Hunt, nails, twine, encaustic and Congressional Record pages.

paper collage

Torso, Miriam Londoño, paper collage, 2011

The exhibition includes works that use words, letters, and script to convey meaning. Tangible three-dimensional objects made of fiber, clay, polymer, paper, and metal along with two-dimensional works on paper underscore how contemporary artists recognize the power and complexity of the written word. John McQueen and Gyöngy Laky are among the 77 artists whose work is included. The exhibition ends on May 6, 2018. For more information, visit: https://www.ramart.org/content/text-message-words-and-letters-contemporary-craft. To pique your interest, here are some images of art by various artists who incorporate or reference text in their work.

Heidrun Schimmel

was du weiß auf schwarz besitzt (text/textile), Heidrun Schimmel, cotton and silk, 2009, photo by Tom Grotta. Not literally text, but stitching that feels like a message to be deciphered.

Toshio Sekiji

Shadow Alphabet, Toshio Sekiji, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Indian newspapers; postcards; thin, Thai paper (backing); brown and black lacquer; acrylic varnish,  2002, photo by Tom Grotta


Books Make Great Gifts, Part 2

From Tapestry To Fiber Art The Laussane Biennials 1962-1995 Bokk Spread

From Tapestry To Fiber Art The Laussane Biennials 1962-1995. Pictured works by Mariette-Rousseau Vermette, Cynthia Schira and Lenore Tawney

Two January arrivals to review and one fav from last year to highlight: We were delighted to receive our copy of From Tapestry to Fiber Art: The Lausanne Biennals 1962-1995 by Giselle Eberhard Cotton and you can order it now from browngrotta arts. The book contains many never-before-published images from the Biennials and insightful essays, as well.

At the end of World War II, the art of tapestry experienced a renewal. By organizing the International Tapestry Biennials in 1962, the city of Lausanne, Switzerland became the international showcase of contemporary textile creation. The Lausanne Biennials gradually became more than just an exhibition. but a not-to-be-missed event that bore witness to the extraordinary evolution of an artistic expression that had graduated from a decorative art to that of a truly independent art form. In the 30 years that the exhibitions were held, 600 artists participated, 911 works were exhibited. The book contains many never-before-published images from the Biennials and insightful essays, as well.

Artisans of Israel Book Cover

Aleksandra Stoyanov spread

Artisans of Israel Transcending Tradition. Aleksandra Stoyanov pictured

Another newly published title we’ve enjoyed is Artisans of Israel: Transcending Tradition by Lynn Holstein (Arnoldsche Art Publishers). Intriguing portraits of dozens of artists are featured, from a Bedouin ceramist, Zenab Garbia, who use cross-stitch patterns in her works, to Russian emigre, Aleksandra Stoyanov who creates evocative tapestries, to Gali Cnaani, whose grandparents emigrated to Israel from Romania and Slovakia and who creates hybrid textiles from meticulously modified items of used clothing. The book features studio photos and portraits of workshops and design brands.

This Way In and Out by Gyöngy Laky from the Box Project Exhibition

Both Heidrun Schimmel and Gyøngy Laky had high praise for The Box Project: Works from the Lloyd Cotsen Collectionedited by Lyssa Stapleton (Cotsen Occasional Press, Los Angeles, 2016). “This catalog itself is an art object! The essays answer very important fundamental questions in textile art and the photographs are in high quality,” writes Heidrun Schimmel. “At the risk of being shamelessly self-promoting,” Gyöngy Laky also recommended the catalog/book that accompanied the unusual, traveling exhibition, which includes Laky’s and Schimmel’s work among that of many other artists.

“The five-pound book, “ Laky writes, “is not only a work of art itself with its indigo cloth cover, exquisite binding, gorgeous photography and elegant design, but, also, presents informative, important and engaging scholarly research. In addition to the background on the formation of this unique collection, the essays eloquently discuss the provenance and role of this field and its current manifestations, as well as describe the medium’s place in the contemporary art world context.”
Laky continues, “My participation was one of the most fascinating engagements with a collector commissioning a work that I have ever experienced. Lloyd Cotsen (of Neutrogena) was assembling a collection of works by contemporary artists in an extremely strange way.  He sent a small archival box to each of the 36 internationally acclaimed artists he selected, asking each to create a one-of-a-kind, three-dimensional, work that fit within the confines of the box. The 36 ideas resulted in remarkably diverse works – some residing within the boxes and some emerging from them to be large-scale works of all kinds when installed in a gallery. The Box Project showcases the dynamic, and often surprising, results.
My work for the box, This Way and That, is composed of eight separate small sculptures – four rectangles and four triangles – that can be arranged in a myriad of ways and has been installed in each venue in a different arrangement.
This inventive way of collecting resulted in an in-depth, thoughtful and provocative scholarly treatise associated with an equally intriguing and extraordinary exhibition.  The artworks are compelling demonstrations of the inventiveness and richness of this realm of the visual arts today.”

Crowds lining up for the opening reception of The Box Project at the Fowler Museum. Photo by Tom Grotta

The exhibition opened at The Fowler Museum, UCLA, in September, 2016, traveled to the Racine Museum of Art and is now on view through the end of January  2018, at George Washington University (https://museum.gwu.edu/boxproject).  Additional works by each artist are included in the exhibition.  The Box Project was organized by the Cotsen Foundation for Academic Research with the Racine Art Museum and curated by Lyssa C. Stapleton and Bruce W. Pepich.

Still Crazy…30 Years: The Catalog

Still Crazy...30 Years: The Catalog Cover Naoko Serino and Mary Yagi

Still Crazy…30 Years: The Catalog

It’s big! It’s beautiful (if we do say so ourselves –and we do)! The catalog for our 30th anniversary is now available on our new shopping cart. The catalog — our 46th volume — contains 196 pages (plus the cover), 186 color photographs of work by 83 artists, artist statements, biographies, details and installation shots.

Still Crazy...30 Years: The Catalog

Naoko Serino Spread

Still Crazy...30 Years: The Catalog

Michael Radyk Spread

Still Crazy...30 Years: The Catalog

Lilla Kulka Spread

Still Crazy...30 Years: The Catalog

Jo Barker Spread

The essay, is by Janet Koplos, a longtime editor at Art in America magazine, a contributing editor to Fiberarts, and a guest editor of American Craft. She is the author of Contemporary Japanese Sculpture (Abbeville, 1990) and co-author of Makers: A History of American Studio Craft (University of North Carolina Press, 2010). We have included a few sample spreads here. Each includes a full-page image of a work, a detail shot and an artist’s statement. There is additional artists’ biographical information in the back of the book. Still Crazy After All These Years…30 years in art can be purchased at www.browngrotta.com http://store.browngrotta.
com/still-crazy-after-all-these-years-30-years-in-art/.
Our shopping cart is mobile-device friendly and we now take PayPal.


Still Crazy After All These Years Preview: Stitch in Time – Embroidery

Embroidery stitches – deliberate and in flurries – feature prominently in the work of six of the artists in browngrotta arts’ upcoming exhibition, Still Crazy After All These Years…30 years in art, this April 22nd through April 30th.

Heidrun Schimmel Detail

”Was du Weiß auf Schwarz Besitzt
(text/textile/texture) by Heidrun Schimmel Detail, photo by Tom Grotta

Heidrun Schimmel from Germany creates her artwork, which features blizzards of stitches, entirely by hand. She believes her stitch work demonstrates how thread, through its length and quality, acts as a metaphor for human existence.

Åse Ljones embroidery

Sound of the fjord detail by Åse Ljones, photo by Tom Grotta

Different pattern sequences are incorporated by Åse Ljones of Norway into her art pieces. By doing so, she allows each small change in sequence to create a rhythm, tranquility, or excitement for the viewer to enjoy. “I often work in series,” she says, “and build large works from smaller pieces. The small changes in each work communicate and often strengthen the relation to one another.”

silk drawing by Scott Rothstein

Untitled by Scott Rothstein, photo by Tom Grotta

Scott Rothstein, whose work has been collected by the Metropolitan and the Philadelphia museum of art, blends minimal design and traditional materials to create ambiguous art forms that viewers must experience and interpret on their own. His embroideries feature brilliant colors and repeated stitches to add dimension.

horsehair thread sculpture

Grow – Grid 16.11 by Marian Bijlenga, photo by Tom Grotta

Marian Bijlenga of the Netherlands has a fascination with dots, lines and contours that is evident in her artwork. She playfully introduces unique contour lines of color and symmetry through her stitched work, using a variety of textile fabrics and materials, including paper, thread and horsehair. Rather than draw on paper, she draws in space using textile as a material and leaves enough distance between the structure and its aligning wall to create what she refers to as a “spatial drawing.”

Adela Akers Small Blue Tapestry

Dark Horizon, 3016 by Adela Akers, photo by Tom Grotta

Delicately combining a series of horsehair, recycled wine foil, and acrylic paint, Adela Akers creates her embroidered pieces by hand with careful insertion of each fine material.“Even when I don’t know the outcome,” she says, “it is the transformation of the materials by the repetitive hand manipulation that leads me to the final expression.”

embroidered sculpture

Growth 2 by Anda Klancic, photo by Tom Grotta

Anda Klancic uses transparency and coloring to address the visual play of perception between the mimetic and the abstract. Her work in this collection, as well as in previous pieces, attempts to express the relationship between humanity and nature.
Slovenian artist Anda Klancic uses a combination of innovative embroidery techniques, many of which are patented under her name, allowing her to meticulously blend metal with cloth cotton or tree bark to fashion abstract pieces that crystallize the aesthesis of nature.

For more information and a complete artist’s list, please visit http://www.browngrotta.com/Pages/calendar.php.


Books Make Great Gifts 2016

Another year of widely divergent books. Art, biology, history and biography are all represented in the answers we received to the questions we asked of artists that work with browngrotta arts: What books cheered you? Inspired you? Provided an escape?

Dona Anderson, wrote that she is reading Herbert Hoover: A Life by Glen Jeansonne (NAL, New York, 2016) who calls Hoover the most resourceful American since Benjamin Franklin. “I recently had a birthday and remember that my mother went to vote on the day I was born, November 6th, and she voted for Herbert Hoover. Consequently, I started to think about what the political atmosphere was like then — as ours was so crazy and even more so now. When I went to the library in October, the Hoover book was brand new and it appealed to me.” Rachel Max is reading Materiality, edited by Petra Lange-Berndt (MIT Press, Cambridge, 2015), one of the latest additons to the Whitechapel Documents of Contemporary Art series. It’s a fantastic series. Each volume in the series focuses on a specific theme and contains many thought-provoking essays from theorists and artists. Materiality not only addresses key geographical, social and philosophical issues, but it also examines how artists process and use materials in order to expand notions of time, space and participation. As the publisher notes, “this anthology focuses on the moments when materials become willful actors and agents within artistic processes.” Max has also been dipping into the diaries of Eva Hesse. “They are extremely private and were never meant for publication. But, as a huge fan of her work it is interesting to read her thoughts,” Max writes.

Gyöngy Laky recommended, highly, Daughters of the Samurai, A Journey From East to West and Back by Janice P. Nimura (W.W. Norton, New York, 2016). “This book is a fascinating biographical history chronicling the lives of three young Japanese girls sent to America in 1871 by the just barely 22-year-old Empress, Haruko. Their mission was to become educated and to bring back to Japan western ideas to advance the role of women and to help Japan adopt western knowledge and technology. Haruko […”something of a prodigy: reading at the age of three, composing poetry at five, studying calligraphy at seven and plucking the koto (a stringed instrument) at 12] had earlier married the 16-year-old Emperor who ascended the throne in 1868. He had adopted the name, Meiji, or Enlightened Rule—to usher in the beginning of a new era. The new era was a plunge into modernization. Sending three young girls to the West turned out to be more enlightened than expected. Sutematsu Yamakawa, 11; Shige Nagai, 10 and Ume Tsuda, the youngest, a tender, 6, remained in the U.S. for 10 formative years and then changed the future and subsequent history of Japanese women forever.

Nimura’s skillful crafting of a can’t-put-it-down narrative of their experiences on two sides of the Pacific is a vividly rich visual, as well as historical, account. She produced for the reader, through captivating descriptions illuminating the startling differences between these two very different cultures, the contrasting worlds we could easily visualize.

Stacy Shiff, Pulitzer Prise-winning author of Cleopatra wrote: “Nimura reconstructs their Alice-in-Wonderland adventure: the girls are so exotic as to qualify as ‘princesses’ on their American arrival. One feels “enormous” on her return to Japan.” It is just this Alice-in-Wonderland aspect of their story that caught my imagination. As in Louis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, it is the environment and the material culture that sets the stage for remarkable events. The tangible aspects of two vastly contrasting cultures – intellectually, technically, behaviorally and in terms of the accoutrements of every day life, express well the often conflicting, peculiar and unexpected events in the girls’ lives. The girls move from Japanese clothing, furniture and customs to western style and then back again feeling more comfortable in western settings than in their birth homes kneeling on the floor and lavishly swathed in yards and yards of embroidered silks.

In the late 19th century the US was bursting with inventions and change. Planning begun in the 1850s for the Chicago World’s Fair was well under way, ushering in the Gilded Age of rapid industrial growth, design innovation and expansion of popular culture. A startlingly appropriate time for the girls’ cultural experiment to take place. Nimura, who moved to Japan for three years with her Japanese/American nesei husband, was adept at utilizing her keen sense of design and broad knowledge of the two disparate material cultures. She skillfully brought to life the vast differences between the two civilizations through masterful and insightful descriptions of clothing, hairstyles, furniture, interiors, architecture as well as the cities in which they existed. This, combined with her extensive research, presents the reader with many insights into the relations between the two countries and their intertwined histories through the lives of these exceptional girls and their extraordinary adventures.

As Miriam Kingsberg of the Los Angeles Review of Books wrote, “Daughters… is, perhaps, less a story of Japanese out of place in their country, than of women ahead of their time.” Laky adds that while she was a professor of art and design at the University of California, Davis, she encouraged her students to study abroad. “This book illustrates how education and experience in a foreign country enhances understanding of other cultures and peoples – perhaps more important today than in the 1870s and 80s. I believe travel also greatly inspires creativity.”

The Box Project, edited by Lyssa C.Stapleton (Cotsen Occasional Press, Los Angeles, 2016), “is one of the very best catalogs I have ever seen and not only the precious book binding!,” wrote Heidrun Schimmel. “I´m still reading the important essays again and again…and I´m learning again and again…” The Box Project is a limited edition book. It will be available at browngrotta.com next week. John McQueen wrote that The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben (Greystone Books, Vancouver, 2016), will change your next walk in the woods. “Trees will never seem the same again. This is a scientific study on how trees communicate with each other among many other things that I, for one, never thought about.”

Currently, Jane Balsgaard is reading The Wind is my Mother: The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman by Marcellus “Bear Heart” Williams and Molly Larkin (revised edition, Berkeley Publishing Group, New York 2012) and Diary of an Stupid Man, by Uschi Tech, published in Denmark by Forlaget Helle.
It is a sad and exciting story about a typical lonely man in today’s Denmark, she wrote. “Written in a wonderful language – so one can just imagine him, by reading it and it is just as sad as StonerMary Merkel-Hess has three recommedations. “I heard Cornelia Mutel read from her book, A Sugar Creek Chronicle: Observing Climate Change from a Midwestern Woodland (University Of Iowa Press, Iowa City, 2016), last March just after it was published” she writes. “I bought it immediately. Connie Mutel is a trained scientist but in this book she has written a very personal account of climate change occurring in her own small woodland here in Johnson County, Iowa. She has woven stories of her own life into observations of the possibly irreversible changes that are happening around us. It is a beautifully written and thoughtful book, but not a hopeless one. She ends with a discussion of things that we can do and strategies for our policymakers.”
Her second recommendation is Food Power: the Rise and Fall of the American Postwar Food System by Bryan L. McDonald. Bryan is Merkel-Hess’s son-in-law, a history professor at Penn State and long-time student of security issues. This book details how the unprecedented abundance of food mid-century was used to advance U.S. goals and values around the world. That food can influence global policy is an issue that Merkel-Hess never considered until now, but one she found fascinating.
The third book, is one for the Sinophiles and academically inclined among us, is The Rural Modern: Constructing the Self and State in Republican China by Kate Merkel-Hess. Merkel-Hess has another academic connection: Kate is her daughter and also a history professor at Penn State. This book about rural reform in China before the Communist revolution documents a desire for modernity rooted in Chinese rural traditions and institutions. Merkel-Hess found it interesting that American foundation money and the YMCA were involved in these early modernizing efforts.
We also have two limited-edition, artist-designed books to highlight: Judy Mulford: 80 Chairs by Judy Mulford and Marian Bijlenga: Miniatures, An autobiographical archive reflecting 30 years of work by Marian Bijlenga. In each case, the artist has created a reflective work — celebrating a full and accomplished career. The books are available at http://www.browngrotta.com/Pages/books.php.

As always, enjoy!


Dispatches: Los Angeles for The Box Project Exhibition at the Fowler Museum

In the 2000s, collector Lloyd Cotsen and his then-curator the late Mary Kahelberg began what would become The Box Project: Uncommon Threads, commissioning 36 international, contemporary artists to work within a given set of parameters. They were challenged to work within the confines of an archival box—to create one-of-a-kind works of art. What followed were years of fascinating correspondence with the artists who would participate in the project. As expected, each interpreted the challenge in his or her own way, resulting in an exceedingly diverse collection of works that reflects the artists’ skill and creativity. Most of the pieces in the show are presented in their accompanying 23″ by 14″ by 3” or 14” by 14″ by 3″ boxes.

The Box Project Exhibition at the Fowler Museum Opening

The Box Project Exhibition at the Fowler Museum Opening

 

The exhibition showcases these skilled artists’ ingenious use—and often-expansive definitions—of fiber, while exploring the collector/artist relationship. The exhibition couples the box commissions with other examples of the participating artists’ larger works. Also included are some of the letters and drawings and maquettes for the exhibition — a fascinating glimpse of the creative process.

Helena Hernmarck installation, The Box Project Exhibition at the Fowler Museum. Photo by tom Grotta

Helena Hernmarck’s “box” installation and one of her larger tapestries. Photo by Tom Grotta

The 36 artists whose work appears in this exhibition are Masae Bamba, James Bassler, Mary Bero, Zane Berzina, N. Dash, Virginia Davis, Carson Fox, Shigeki Fukumoto, John Garrett, Ana Lisa Hedstrom, Helena Hernmarck,  Pat Hodson, Kiyomi Iwata, Gere Kavanaugh, Ai Kijima, Hideaki Kizaki, Lewis Knauss, Nancy Koenigsberg, Gerhardt Knodel, Naomi Kobayashi, Gyöngy Laky, Paola Moreno, Jun Mitsuhashi, Kyoko Nitta, Hisako Sekijima, Barbara Murak, Cynthia Schira, Heidrun Schimmel, Carol Shinn, Sherri Smith, Hadi Tabatabai, Koji Takaki, Aune Taamal, Richard Tuttle, and Peter Weber. Work by 10 of those included is available through browngrotta arts.

Artist Talk. Photo by Tom Grotta

Artists’ panel. Photo by Tom Grotta

On September 10th, three of the artists involved, Gere Kavanaugh, Gyöngy Laky, and Hisako Sekijima joined the curator of the Cotsen Collection, Lyssa C. Stapleton, in a conversation about their respective processes and resulting “boxes.” We were fortunate to attend their talk and to catch up with a number of artist, collector and curator friends.

Hisako Sekijima in front of her works at The Box Project Exhibition at the Fowler Museum. Photo by Tom Grotta

Hisako Sekijima in front of her box project. Photo by Tom Grotta

“The box is a technical tool and also a spatial construct,” Sekijima told the audience, “which gave me freedom.” The artist used the box, she explained, as a mold in which multiple baskets were integrated whole.” Kavanaugh spoke at length of her work as a designer for Lloyd Cotsen, including her design of the brightly colored Neutrogena headquarters.

Laky talked about her work and the influence of the environment and feminism on her work — including her free-standing word sculpture, Slowly, composed of letters that can be read as LAG or GAL, and which was motivated by Laky’s efforts in improve gender equity in hiring in the University of California system.

Gyongy Laky. Photo by Tom Grotta

Gyongy Laky with her box project to the right and a larger work above. Photo by Tom Grotta

On October 14th, in Culture Fix, Lacy Simkowitz, curatorial assistant at the Cotsen Collection, who worked closely with artists featured in The Box Project, will discuss how the exhibition developed. From mining the archives to decisions about the exhibition checklist, Simkowitz played a key role in the development of the traveling exhibition. In this gallery talk, she will discuss case studies by James Bassler, Ai Kijima and Cynthia Schira and she share behind-the-scenes stories about the exhibition planning process.

Crowds lining up for the opening reception of The Box Project at the Fowler Museum. Photo by Tom Grotta

Crowds lining up for the opening reception of The Box Project at the Fowler Museum. Photo by Tom Grotta

The Box Project: Uncommon Threads is at the Fowler through January 15, 2017. The Fowler is located on the UCLA campus, 308 Charles E. Young Drive, North, Los Angeles, California 90024; 310.825.4361.