Tag: John McQueen

Save the Date: browngrotta arts Spring Art in the Barn

We’ve spent the first weeks of 2024 summing up 2023 and looking at this year’s trends in art and design. Now we’ve got a more concrete prediction — our Spring Art in the Barn exhibition will run from Saturday, May 4 through Sunday, May 12, 2024. Discourse: art across generations and continents will explore the diversity in art textiles and fiber sculpture.

Blair Tate, Warren Seelig header
Details of tapestries by Blair Tate made in 2022 and Warren Seelig made more than 40 years earlier in 1976. Photo by Tom Grotta.

In Discourse, browngrotta arts will assemble a large and eclectic group of artworks that celebrate artists from different countries, who work with varied materials, and represent distinct artistic approaches. More than 50 artists from 20 countries will be featured.Included will be works from the art form’s origins 60 years ago, current mixed media works and sculpture, and pieces created in the decades between — enabling an intriguing look at intergenerational differences, material breakthroughs, and historical significance in fiber art.

Details: John McQueen, Norma Minkowitz, Norie Hatekayama
Details: John McQueen, Norma Minkowitz, Norie Hatekayama. Photo by Tom Grotta.

structural explorations
Despite their distinctiveness, the artists in Discourse share a common trait. Each possesses “material intelligence,” what author Glenn Adamson describes as “a deep understanding of the material world around us, an ability to read that material environment, and the know-how required to give it new form.” The works in Discourse reflect this mastery. Artists like John McQueen and Norma Minkowitz of the US and Norie Hatekayama and Naoko Serino of Japan engineer imaginative structures of unexpected materials — plaited paper tape, molded jute, crocheted linen, and pieced twigs and branches. 

Details: Gudrun Pagter, Warren Seelig, Blair Tate
Details: Gudrun Pagter, Warren Seelig, Blair Tate. Photos by Tom Grotta

fiber art … an evolution
Discourse also offers viewers a chance to make intergenerational and cross-continental comparisons. Included will be starkly graphic weavings by Warren Seelig (US) made in the 70s and 80s, and ones by Gudrun Pagter (DK), and Blair Tate (US) made 40+ years later. We have often observed a different sensibility among artists from Eastern Europe and those in Western Europe, Asia, and the US. Artists in Eastern Europe have a history, which began after World War II, of using items at hand to create works – sisal, rope, hemp, goat hair. A fierce energy is seen in these works; they are rugged and raw. By contrast, for artists who worked elsewhere in more traditional tapestry materials like wool, silk, linen – quietly refined works were often the result. Discourse will spotlight such regional contrasts. 

Details: Marian Bijlenga, Shoko Fukuda, Marianne Kemp
Details: Marian Bijlenga, Shoko Fukuda, Marianne Kemp. Photo by Tom Grotta.

material matters
Viewers to Discourse will also see a wide range of to material and technique approaches. Several artists make vastly different uses of paper — scrolling of encyclopedia pages by Wendy Wahl (US), knotted paper objects by Shoko Fukuda (JP), and sculptural works of rice paper by Pat Campbell (US). Three other artists, Adela Akers (US), Marianne Kemp (NL), and Marian Bijlenga (NL), use horsehair in vastly different ways. 

Details: Laura Foster Nicholson, Irina Kolesnikova, Anneke Klein
Details: Laura Foster Nicholson, Irina Kolesnikova, Anneke Klein. Photos by Tom Grotta.

the medium is the message
Some of the artists in Discourse, including Laura Foster Nicholson (US) Gyöngy Laky (US), and Irina Kolesnikova (RU/DE), use the medium of fiber art to make explicit statements about the modern world — about personal anxiety, communication, and humans’ impact on the environment. “I like to tease the brain – to promote or even provoke or cajole, a visual dialogue with the viewer,” says Gyöngy Laky (US). Her work, Anticipation, which spells out the word “Who?“ in applewood branches, presents a question. “Given the challenges, concerns, conflicts and other dangers we face today,” Laky says, “this question, underlies the search for a way forward to a better day.” Anneke Klein (NL) is interested in communication: In Dialogue — Her work is made up of two layers that hang, one in front of the other. When you change your position in front of Dialogue, the interaction between the two layers changes, as it does between two speakers.

Detail: Lia Cook
Detail: Lia Cook. Photo by Tom Grotta.

experiments in technique
Contemporary fiber art is by definition experimental. It arose when a group of artists used tapestry techniques to create abstract sculptures that hung off the wall. A work of parallel optical lines from studies Lia Cook (US) did for her master’s thesis in the 1970s will be included along with works reflecting Neha Puri Dhir’s (IN) currrent experiments dying silk and baskets by Esmé Hofman (NL) of black willow and elm that also incorporate color.

Detail: Aby Mackie
Detail: Aby Mackie. Photo by Tom Grotta.

fiber art has emotional appeal
Fiber art — art textiles, tapestries, and three-dimensional sculpture — engages us on a deeply personal level. Our first memories are of cloth, fuzzy blankets, soft towels and they remain strong ones. Scientists have shown that different parts of the brain light up when we look at a woven image and a photographic image of the same item. Aby Mackie (SP) sources and recycles used fabrics from flea markets, fabrics laden with memory. She is captivated by these silent witnesses to a life lived; a worn bed sheet, a stained tablecloth, a moth-eaten gown. Such artifacts bear the marks and physicality of human nature, possessing a poetic power. She gilds this repurposed material in works like We Can All Be Saved, leaving viewers to consider what creates value.

We invite you to draw comparisons and gain new perspectives of your own. See you in May!

Exhibition Details:
Discourse: art across generations and continents
May 4 – May 12, 2024
browngrotta arts
276 Ridgefield Road, Wilton, CT 06897

Gallery Dates/Hours:
Saturday, May 4th: 11am to 6pm [Opening & Artist Reception]
Sunday, May 5th: 11am to 6pm (40 visitors/ hour)
Monday, May 6th through Saturday, May 11th: 10am to 5pm (40 visitors/ hour)
Sunday, May 12th: 11am to 6pm [Final Day] (40 visitors/ hour)
Schedule your visit at POSH

Safety protocols: 
POSH reservations strongly encouraged • No narrow heels please 

Catalog:
A full-color catalog, browngrotta arts’ 59th, Discourse: art across generations and continents, will be published by the gallery in conjunction with the exhibition.


Art and Design Trends: 2024

Still firmly in the start of the year, New Year’s resolutions not abandoned yet, it’s an ideal time to explore the design trends that will define the aesthetic landscape of 2024. From color palettes to furniture styles, this year’s design pundits predict an array of options for transforming your living spaces into stylish and on-trend havens. Art can be an essential part of that transformation. Here are some of the 2024 insights we’ve compiled:

Color: the eternal appeal of blue
“One trend in particular is emerging as clear as the sky is blue,” says The Spruce, an interior design blog(“The 2024 Colors of the Year Point to One Trend You Need to Know,” Megan McCarty, November 7, 2023). Each fall, paint brands unveil their colors of the year, and for 2024, many of them declared shades of blue as the color to consider, including Skipping Stones by Dunn-Edwards, Blue Nova 825 by Benjamin Moore, Renew Blue by Valspar, Thermal by C@ Paints, Bay Blue by Minwax, and Bluebird by Krylon. Blue, as any of you who followed our 2018 exhibition Blue/Green: color, code, context know is elemental…sky and sea, infinite in hue, tone, intensity and variation…indigo, azure, sapphire, ultramarine. As metaphor, it connotes integrity, tranquilty.  It’s no wonder that it never really falls out of favor. The designers interviewed by The Spruce gave a number of reasons for including the color in one’s space. It’s calming and relaxing, subtle and subdued, and has a connection to nature. The Spruce quotes Chelse Thowe, the lead designer of Forge & Bow, sees a common thread in the paint brands’ colors of the year:  each is reminiscent of clear skies and calm waters. “Blue is trending because it connects us with nature and feels rejuvenating,” Thowe says. “It brings a sense of stillness and creates a sanctuary from our busy lives.” 

Micheline Beauchemin tapestry
1mb Totem aux Millefleurs Bleues, Micheline Beauchemin, wool, 84″ x 42″, 1980

Many artists who work with browngrotta arts use indigo and other shades of blue to evince natural themes.  In Totem aux Millefleurs BleuesMicheline Beauchemin chose blue, turquoise and green to create a calm atmosphere of forest and leaves. “…[T]he color, though dark,” she said, “will be brilliant and beautiful.” Still others, choose it for its metaphorical power.

Rachel Max basket
8rm Continuum, Rachel Max, dyed cane, plaited and twined, 15.5″x 17″ x 17″, 2018

Rachel Max’s work, Continuum, explores the artist’s ambivalence about blue. “It is cold yet often warm and comforting. It is a color of depth and distance, of darkness and light and dawn and dusk.” Blue is linked closely to the sea and sky, and Max says, like our lives, she says, they seem infinite yet each has a beginning and an end. Continuum is like a Mobius strip, illustrating the contrasts and opposites, the finite and infinite.

Biophilic Design/Return to Nature
Interior designers predict that homeowners will seek to create calming and harmonious environments in the coming year. Biophilic design, with its emphasis on incorporating natural elements into interiors, will continue to flourish, bringing the outdoors inside through the use of plants, natural materials, and organic textures, says ZDS, (“Exploring the biggest interior design trends 2024“). This trend is one also predicted to have a parallel in the art world. Artsy interviewed 15 curators on defining art themes for 2024 (“15 Leading Curators Predict the Defining Art Trends of 2024,” Artsy, Maxwell Rabb, January 12, 2024), including Amy Smith-Stewart, Chief Curator, at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut. Materials and methods carry meaning, Smith-Stewart told Artsy, “I predict we will see more artists incorporating organic materials or materials collected, grown, and harvested from the natural world into their work,” she said. Artists will seek to comment and address legacies of colonization, she predicts, as well as on issues of environmental justice and land use.

James Bassler weaving
16jb Things Past, James Bassler, single ply agave, 38.5” x 38.5” x 3.5”, 2021

At browngrotta, James Bassler’s use of agave in Things Past is part of a project to use the plant waste created by the making of tequila. Bassler’s friend, the artist Trine Ellitsgaard, organized an exhibition of works made from agave. She has worked with artisans in Oaxaca, Mexico to create fibers and spun thread from agave waste to spin into rugs and bags and art. 

Ane Henriksen tapestry
30ah Reserve, Ane Henriksen, linen, silk, acrylic painted rubber matting, oak frame, 93.75” x 127.625” x 2.5”, 201

In Reserve, Ane Henriksen used material covered with oil spots, found washed up on the west coast of Denmark. Fishermen use the material on the tables in the galley, so the plates don’t slide off when on the high seas. The work highlights ecological peril. “Nature is threatened,” Henriksen says. “I hope this is expressed in my image, which at first glance can be seen as a peaceful, recognizable view of nature, but when you move closer and see the material, it might make you uneasy, and stir thoughts of how human activity is a threat against nature.” John McQueen has created provocative sculptures from twigs, branches and bark for many years. More recently, he has begun to add recycled plastics to highlight humans’ tenuous connection to nature. He illustrates this conflicted relationship in Arm & Hammer with a man stepping precariously on a snake made from recycled plastic bottles of detergent.

John McQueen sculpture
79jm Arm & Hammer, John McQueen, twigs, twine, plastic from, Arm & Hammer detergient bottles, 56” x 31” x 30”, 2006

Celebrating the 70s and Icons
Each year, 1stDibs, the e-commerce interior design and fine art marketplace, aims to quantify subtle shifts in designers’ taste with its Designer Survey (“The 1stDibs Guide to 2024 Interior Design Trends,” Introspective, Cara Greenberg, December 19, 2023). This year’s survey drew responses from more than 600 industry professionals. The results report what excites designers at this point in time, “what they’ve had quite enough of and what they anticipate sourcing to conjure sublime living spaces in the months to come.” 1st Dibs reports a fresh enthusiasm for the 1970s, which 27 percent of designers in the US and 29 percent in the UK cited as the era they’ll draw upon for inspiration in 2024. “[E]expect to see an updated version of 1970: “a curated, earth-toned Laurel Canyon look, if you will — organic, relaxed, and comforting.” The survey also found that iconic design has lasting power. “Iconic designs are revered for a reason. Their forms are so pure, their function so unimpeachable that their lasting popularity should come as no surprise.”

Glen Kaufman tapestry
188gk Abbot’s Mantle, Glen Kaufman, wool, 74″ x 36″ x 1.5″, 1971

We find the same purity in works from the 1970s by the icons of art textiles. Abbot’s Mantle made in 1971 by Glen Kaufman, reflects the experience in rug making and design that he gained at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, during a Fulbright in Scandinavia, and while working at Dorothy Liebes’ New York Design Studio. 

Katherine Westphal quilt
47w The puzzle of Floating World #2, Katherine Westphal, transfer print and quilting on cotton, 85″ x 68″, 1976

Puzzle of the Floating World (1976)by Katherine Westphal, who authored The Surface Designer’s Art: Contemporary, Fabric, Printers, Painters and Dyers (Lark Books,1993, Asheville, NC) contemporizes quilting. 

Sherri Smith weaving
1ss/r Linde Star, Sherri Smith, plaiting, discharge; cotton webbing, 36″ x 33.75″, 1976

Sherri Smith’s Linde Star is an imaginative stitched-and-plaited work, that was included in the seminal 1970s book, Beyond Weaving: the art fabric. Ritzi Jacobi, who was also featured in Beyond Weaving, 

Ritzi and Peter Jacobi goat hair tapestry
10rj Exotica Series, Ritzi and Peter Jacobi, cotton, goat hair and sisal, 114″ x 60″ x 6″, 1975

was known her heavily textured works, like Exotica Series  made with Peter Jacobi in 1975, in which the couple used unusual materials such as sisal, coconut fibers, and goat hair. 

Ed Rossbach Peruvian tapestry
78r Peruvian Tapestry, Ed Rossbach, printed weft, 20″ x 21″, 1972

 In Peruvian Tapestry (1972)Ed Rossbach, an influential artist, author, and teacher, continued his experiments re-envisioning traditional techniques. Peter Collingwood, knighted by the Queen of England, developed a practice that he called shaft switching to create complex and elegant works.

Peter Collingwood textile
5pco Microgauze 84, Peter Collingwood, warp: Black and natural linen; Weft: natural linen, 72″ x 8.375″ x .125″, 1970

Conclusion:
The design and art trends of 2024 suggest ways to create spaces that are not only visually appealing but also deeply reflective of your personality and lifestyle. We are happy to help you source works from browngrotta arts to enable that process.


In ConText: the Printed Page as Inspiration, Material, and More

John McQueen Willow book
16jm Bird Brain, John McQueen, woven willow twigs, waxed string, 26” x 23.5”, 2002. Photo by Tom Grotta.

“With all sorts of ideas behind them, artists continue to challenge the idea, content, and structure of the traditional book,” observed Anne Evenhaugen, in Unbound, the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives, online newsletter in 2012 (https://blog.library.si.edu/blog/2012/06/01/what-is-an-artists-book/). Several artists who work with browngrotta arts do all that to books and more. Below are some examples of how the printed page forms or features in their work.

Caroline Bartlett Books
3cb Overwritings VI, Caroline Bartlett, canvas, silk, plastered fabric, cotton thread and pins, 13.25″ x 18.625″, 3.5″, 1998 4 & 5cb Overwritings VIII & 1, Caroline Bartlett, canvas, silk, matchsticks, paper, waxed resisted silk fragments, cotton thread and pins, 9.375″ x 18.625″ x 2.75″, 1998. Photo by Tom Grotta.
Lewis Knauss Books
1ln Fog Book I, Lewis Knauss, linen, hemp, handmade Japanese-style paper and shellac, 12″ x 18″ x 8″, 1999; 2ln Cliff Strata II, Lewis Knauss, linen, hemp, handmade Japanese-style paper and shellac, 9.5″ x9.5″ x 3″, 1999; 3ln Fog Book II, Lewis Knauss, linen, hemp, handmade Japanese-style paper and shellac, 12″ x 16″ x 7″, 1999; 2ln Cliff Strata I, Lewis Knauss, linen, hemp, handmade Japanese-style paper and shellac, 8.5″ x 10″ x 3″, 1999. Photo by Tom Grotta.

For some it’s a literal homage. John McQueen makes actual books of twigs and waxed linen. Their pages turn and the words on the pages can be read. Caroline Bartlett’s version is more of an idea, a memory, than an actual book. In  her Overwritings series, cotton thread, plastered fabric, matchsticks, and waxed resisted silk fragments create marks that reference text that viewers are left to decode. The volumes in Lewis Knauss Book series also read as books, but are even more abstract. Knauss uses linen, hemp, Japanese paper, and shellac to create ruffled pages without text. Mercedes Vicente uses notebook paper to create a book and a thin black cord to “write” on the pages.

Mercedes Vicente thread and paper book
Detail: 5mv Sin Pauta, Mercedes Vicente, notebook, cord, 37” x 14” x 9”, 2014. Photo by Tom Grotta.
Toshio Sekiji woven newspapers
Detail: 23ts Overture, Toshio Skekiji, old Japanese newspapers, 70.25” x 56.25” maple frame, 1998. Photo by Tom Grotta.

Other artists use the printed page as material. For Toshio Sekiji, it’s newspapers, book jackets, and maps that make up his collage/weavings. He explores the merge of cultures in his works. New stories are created atop the old he says, by reading the strips of paper he chooses and the areas he enhances with lacquer. Encyclopedia pages are used as Wendy Wahl‘s as material. “… [t]he leaves may be stacked into forms that suggest an alternative forest of knowledge or tightly scrolled and packed within a frame, making for a composition that suggests a cabinet of hidden knowledge, those archives of information that are at once visible and concealed, at hand and remote.” Akiko Busch, wrote in our catalog, 10th Wave III.  Naomi Kobayashi creates her own text, then incorporates it into delicate weavings. In a true “art imitates life imitates art” moment, a collector of her work who is a writer asked a technical question. If the work were unraveled, could the text be read? Yes, the artist answered and it became a plot twist — in his book, Hiding in the Weave, a student’s tapestry has to be unwoven to discover a clue to her death.

Wendy Wahl encylopedia Floor Sculptures
20ww Rebound: m/ixed Volumes 3, Wendy Wahl, discarded/deconstructed/restructured encylopedia pages, 40″ x 16″ x 17″ , 50″ x 78″ x 17″ , 60″ x 95″ x 17″, 2009. Phtot by Tom Grotta.

Lawrence LaBianca looks at books from different vantage points. In Thesaurus, he posits a slice of a tree with its mirror image in glass as book pages that can be read. What Lies Beneath, is a bit tongue in cheek. In this work, he considers an iconic book, Moby Dick, from the perspective of fish. He sent it into the ocean in a waterproof box and filmed it in place.

Lawrence Labianca Book Art
1ll Thesaurus, Lawrence LaBianca, cast glass, stainless steel, redwood, 15″ x 15.5″ x 3.5″-11.25″, 2004. Photo by Tom Grotta. 12lb What Lies Beneath, is a mixed media sculpture. The unique water housing was created to submerge Moby Dick by Herman Melville underwater. The image was taken while the book was underwater and tethered to a rock. Lawrence LaBianca, 40″ – 85″ x 18.5″ x 8.5″, 2016. Photo by Tom Grotta.

Francis Bacon got it right in our view, when he said, “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some are to be chewed and digested.” (Essays (1625)) Bacon’s Essays By Francis Bacon, Richard Whately.) Those are just some of the options available to artists considering books as inspiration. As viewers, we are left to anticipate and appreciate the works that result.


Face Forward: Exhibition Portraits

Tom Grotta’s passion since beginning to represent artists in art textiles and fiber sculpture has been to effectively present the work in photographs. With artwork, he aims to highlight the haptic quality of work made by hand and give viewers a sense of each work’s scale and presence. His portraits of artists often show them at work and give people a glimpse of their practice and passion. As a result, browngrotta arts receives regular requests to share Tom’s photographs for books and articles including Fiber: 1960 to the Present; Golden State of Craft; Tapestry: A Woven Narrative and The New York Times, Interior Design, selvedge; and FT: How to Spend It. He also gets requests to use his portraits in exhibitions — and we use them ourselves for that purpose. It’s always a thrill to see them blown up. In this post will share some of those with you.

Works by Toshiko Takaezu; portrait of Toshiko Takaezu by Tom Grotta at This Present MomentCrafting a Better World, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC. Photo by Ted Rowland.

Last year, ceramist Toshiko Takaezu’s work was highlighted in a gallery space in This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World at the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC (at the same time her work was on exhibit at the Venice Biennial). Takaezu’s works were displayed aside a large portrait taken by Tom Grotta.

Portrait of Ethel Stein in front of her portrait at Ethel Stein: Master Weaver at the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Tom Grotta.

In 2014, we were thrilled to go to Chicago to attend the opening of Ethel Stein: Master Weaver, a one-person retrospective for Ethel Stein, then 96. She has been steadfastly “counter-trend,” as textile designer Jack Lenor Larsen observed, creating squares of quiet pattern to be placed on walls at a time when other textile artists were emphasizing the sculptural potential of fiber by working in three dimensions. Produced on a drawloom—a type of handloom that incorporates a figure harness capable of controlling each warp thread separately—her work seems deceptively simple, but as one understands the mysteries and complexities of this weaving method historically favored for creating figured textiles, the sophistication and challenge of her work become undeniable. The drawloom was donated to the Art Institute, as well — The exhibition included 38 of the artists works and a large version of Tom’s portrait. The portrait graced the cover of our catalog, Ethel Stein: Weaverwhich was sold in the Art Institute’s bookstore.

Portrait of Ed Rossbach in Ed Rossbach: Quiet Revolutionary at SOFA, Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Tom Grotta.

In 2004, browngrotta arts co-sponsored Ed Rossbach: Quiet Revolutionary, with LongHouse Reserve at the SOFA exhibition in Chicago. A diverse grouping of Rossbach’s works was included.  The exhibition had been organized first at the Cranbrook Academy of Arts in Michigan and then traveled to LongHouse Reserve in East Hampton, New York.

Portrait of Judy Mulford at SOFA in front of the portrait in the special exhibition,  Judy Mulford: 80 Chairs. The portrait is of Mulford in her California studio. Photo by Tom Grotta.

At SOFA Chicago in 2017, we presented Judy Mulford’s 80 Empty Chairs. The installation featured a central sculpture entitled “What now?” she said. “What now?…What now?…What now?…” surrounded by 80 individually rendered chairs in frames. The intimate and emotional sculpture chronicles domestic life. The dollhouse chairs, dolls, buttons and embellishments used in the work were collected by the artist from family members, flea markets, antique stores and friends. Mulford spent a year on the work, which marked her then-upcoming 80th birthday. She also produced a limited-edition book, 80 Empty Chairs, as a part of this project.

Portraits of Gyöngy Laky and John McQueen in their respective studios at WordPlay: Messages in Bark & Branch at the Flinn Gallery, Greenwich Library, Connecticut. Photos by Tom Grotta.

Most recently, this May, Tom’s portraits of Gyöngy Laky and John McQueen welcomed visitors to WordPlay: Messages in Bark & Branch at the Flinn Gallery, Greenwich Library, Connecticut. These portraits are among the several dozen Tom has taken in as part of what we call our studio visit project. We have been to California, Ohio, New York, the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands photographing artists. We hope to create more of these images to share with you.


Acclaim! Catalog

Acclaim! Work by Award-Winning International Artists cover

In conjunction with our spring exhibition, Acclaim! Work by Award-Winning International Artists, we produced our 56th catalog. The 164-page volume features images of art by each of the 51 artists in the exhibition. It also includes detail shots and installation images of the works in space. 

Olga de Amaral spread

The 51 artists in Acclaim! like the others that we work with at browngrotta arts, have had their work acquired by museums and recognized by collectors. In addition, each of the artists included have achieved formal art acknowledgment in the form of an award or medal or exclusive membership. In the US, that may mean the award of a Gold Medal from the American Craft Council — 10 of the artists in Acclaim! belong to that group. In Canada, it means membership in the Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts, which three of our artists have achieved. The late-master weaver Peter Collingwood received an OBE, Order of the British Empire.Yeonsoon Chang of Korea was selected Artist of the Year, by the Contemporary Art Museum in Seoul. In France, Simone Pheulpin was awarded the Grand Prix de la Création de la Ville de Paris. Grethe Sørensen of Denmark and Agneta Hobin of Finland received the Nordic Award in Textiles; Sheila Hicks the French Legion of Honor, and so on.

Helena Hernmarck Spread

The catalog also includes an essay by Caroline Kipp, Acclaim! and the Art of Serious Play. Kipp (she/they) is a curator, artist, and historian. She holds a BFA in Fibers from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, an ALM in Museum Studies from Harvard University, and is currently a PhD student in Art History at the University of Maryland, College Park.From 2019 to 2023, Kipp was the Curator of Contemporary Art at The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum in Washington, DC where she curated Anne Lindberg: what color is divine light?. Previously, she was the Curatorial Associate in the Department of Contemporary Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston where she was responsible for the contemporary decorative arts collection, including the Daphne Farago collection. She curated the Farago gallery rotations, Jack Bush: Radiant AbstractionCommunity Arts Initiative: Mindful Mandalas, and Community Arts Initiative: Endless Feast, co-curated Beyond the Loom: Fiber as Sculpture/Subversive Threads as part of Women Take the Floor and Perception is the Medium. Kipp served as the assistant and project manager on Cecilia Vicuna: Disappeared QuipuSheila HicksNan GoldinLorraine O’Grady: Family GainedCandice Breitz: Love StoryMaia Lynch: In Between, and Monuments to Us. Prior to this, Kipp was part of the MFA Boston’s Textile and Fashion Arts Department where she contributed research to the exhibition Gender Bending Fashion. She serves on the boards of the Textile Society of America (TSA) and the James Renwick Alliance for Craft (JRA). You can find her on Instagram at  @carolinekipp_curator.

Jane Sauer Spread
portrait by Photo: Eric Lee
Caroline Kipp. photo: Eric Lee

In the “very insightful and thoughtful” essay, Kipp writes about the importance of community, identifying fiber departments and exhibitions like the Lausanne Biennials, where artists interacted with peers from around the world. Kipp also writes about motivation, noting that these artists continued their work even without recognition, leading to “a contradictory point about accolades and honors: they represent high points within a career and simultaneously are rather anticlimactic.” Kipp observes that “the labor of artmaking is heavier and deeper than most people realize.” These artists have realized that it’s possible to turn a difficult task into a fulfilling one by engaging in the act of “serious play.” In artmaking, serious play is the heart of a sustained studio practice — leaning into uncertainty generates creativity. Kipp finds “playful” qualities in many of the works in claim!, experimental material choices and techniques, and innovative uses of color, form, and imagery. 

Dominic Di Mare Spread

Order a copy of Acclaim! Work by Award-Winning International Artists, to learn more. One of our readers described it as “an important document much needed now.”


Art Out and About: In the US and Abroad

So many exhibitions to visit this Spring from Sweden, Australia and the UK to California, Washington and New York — and two in Connecticut. Check them out.

Beauty and the Unexpected
Modern and Contemporary American Crafts
National Museum
Södra Blasieholmshamnen 2
Stockholm, Sweden
March 30, 2023 – January 21, 2024

Gyöngy Laky Incident
Incident, Gyöngy Laky, from Beauty and the Unexpected exhibition in Stockholm, Natural and commercial wood, paint,
bullets for building (screws), 50” x 50” x 4.5”, 2012. Photo by Tom Grotta

National Museum has invited Helen W. Drutt English, pioneering craft educator and gallerist of American Modern and Contemporary Crafts since the 1960s, to assemble a collection of objects drawn from the field of “American Crafts.” The selection of 81 works from the 1950s until today will in future enrich National Museum’s collections and will provide a possibility to look at American Crafts in the Nordic context.

International Textile Art Biennale 
(Fibre Arts Australia)
Emu Park Art Gallery
EMU Park
13 Hill Street
Queensland, Australia 
From April 15 – June 10, 2023

Neha Puri Dhir handwoven silk
Overflow by Neha Puri Dhir, stitch-Resist Dyeing on Handwoven Silk (Diptych), 95 x 128cm 95 x 32cm, 2022. Photo by Neha Puri Dhir

Fibre Arts Australia is highlighting the contemporary practice within Art Textiles as an art form.

​The International Art Textile Biennale (IATB) seeks to exhibit the best of contemporary art textiles and invited submissions, from Australia and Internationally, that reflect a wide range of works related to the textile medium. Thirty-five artists were selected to participate, including Neha Puri Dhir. The works are exhibited at various locations throughout Australia.

Wendy Wahl Installation
Wendy Wahl Installation. Photo by Brooke Yung, assistant curator

Paper Town
Fitchburg Art Museum
185 Elm Street
Fitchburg, MA 01420
Through June 4, 2023

This exhibition takes paper out of the two-dimensional into a world that is fantastical, intricate, colorful, and personal. Inspired by the materiality of paper and the metamorphic quality of the papermaking process, Paper Town explores paper in pulp, cast, folded, and cut forms. The exhibition includes artwork by several artists located in New England:  May Babcock, Erik and Martin Demaine, Andrea Dezsö, Tory Fair, Hong Hong, Fred Liang, Michelle Samour, Heidi Whitman and browngrotta artist Wendy Wahl.

Polly Barton Irate
Works by Polly Barton, James Bassler and others in Ikat: A World of Compelling Cloth. Photo by Polly Barton.

Ikat: A World of Compelling Cloth
Seattle Art Museum
1300 First Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101
Through May 29, 2023

Visitors to Ikat: A World of Compelling Cloth, will enter the woven world of ikat, a complex textile pattern that knows no borders. Presenting over 100 textiles from the museum’s global collection with gifts and loans from a dedicated Seattle-area collector, Ikat: A World of Compelling Cloth is an introduction to the meticulous and time-honored processes of dyeing threads to create complicated hand-weaving. Contemporary work in the exhibition includes tapestries by Polly Barton and James Bassler, and an extraordinary installation by Rowland Ricketts.

Connective Threads
Palos Verde Cultural Center
Fiber Art from Southern California
Curated by Carrie Burckle and Jo Lauria
Through April 15, 2023

Carol Shaw-Sutton installation
Persephone’s Filters by Carol Shaw-Sutton. Photo by Carol Shaw-Sutton

Connective Threads provides a window into what is currently engaging fiber artists, even as this discipline continues to evolve and change. Emanating from artists’ studios in Southern California, the exhibition offers unique perspectives on the complicated identities of fiber art as a genre. Collectively they offer a penetrating examination of fiber’s possibilities. Exhibiting artists include Jim Bassler, Cameron Taylor-Brown, Ben Cuevas, Mary Little, Michael F. Rohde, and Carol Shaw-Sutton. 

Detail Magdalena Abakanowicz
Magdalena Abakanowicz’s Montana del Fuego detail by Tom Grotta

Magdalena Abakanowicz: Every Tangle of Thread and Rope
Tate Modern
Bankside
London SE1 9TG
Through May 21, 2023

In the ’60s and ’70s, the Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz created radical sculptures from woven fibers. They were soft, not hard; ambiguous and organic; towering works that hung from the ceiling and pioneered a new form of installation. They became known as the “Abakans.” Many of the most significant Abakans are brought together at the Tate Modern in a forest-like display in a 64-meter long gallery space.

The exhibition explores this transformative period of Abakanowicz’s practice when her woven forms came off the wall and into three-dimensional space. With these works she brought soft, fibrous forms into a new relationship with sculpture. A selection of early textile pieces and her little-known drawings are also on show.

And of course, there are the four “don’t miss” events browngrotta arts is involved in this Spring.

Norma Minkowitz installation
Norma Minkowitz: Body to Soul installation. Photo by Tom Grotta

Norma Minkowitz: Body to Soul
Fairfield University Art Gallery
Bellarmine Hall
Fairfield, CT
Through April 6, 2023

Gyöngy Laky and John McQueen
Out on a Limb by Gyöngy Laky and Billboard by John McQueen from the WordPlay exhibition.

Wordplay: Messages in Branches & Bark 
Flinn Gallery: Greenwich Library
101 West Putnam Avenue 
Greenwich, CT
March 30 – May 10, 2023

Aby Mackie detail
Detail: We Can All Be Saved 10 by Aby Mackie, gilded gold lead decontructed and reconfigured antique textiles, 2022. Photo by Tom Grotta

Making a Mark: The Art of Self Expression
Bay Street Theater
1 Bay Street
Sag Harbor, NY
Through May 7, 2023

And last, but not least, our Spring Art in the Barn at browngrotta arts:

Dominic Di Mare installation
The Mourners, Dominic Di Mare from the Acclaim! Works by Award-Winning Artists exhibition, waxed linen, wood, 46.5″-50.5″(h) x 24″each, 1962. Photo by Tom Grotta.

Acclaim! Work by Award-Winning International Artists
browngrotta arts
276 Ridgefield Road
Wilton, CT
April 29 – May 7, 2023


The Human Figure in Abstract

The human figure in art is the most direct means by which art can address the human condition, says The Roland Collection of films on art, architecture and authors. “In early societies its significance was supernatural, a rendering of gods or spirits in human form. Later, in the Renaissance, although Christianity provided the dominant social belief system, Western art’s obsession with the figure reflected an increasingly humanist outlook, with humankind at the center of the universe. The distortions of Modernist art, meanwhile, may be interpreted as reflecting human alienation, isolation and anguish.” 

Dawn MacNutt, Testimony 1 & 2, woven willow 51” x 24” x 24”, 1980s 42” x 22” x 22”, 1980s. Photo by Tom Grotta

Among the artists represented in the browngrotta arts’ collection are several who recreate the human figure in three-dimensions with provocative results. Dawn MacNutt of Canada is known for her nearly life-size figures of willow and seagrass. The sculpture and architecture of ancient Greece has been a major influence on her vision. “I first experienced pre-classical Greek sculpture in the hallways of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York as a teenager in the 1950s.” she says. “When I visited Greece 40 years later, the marble human forms resonated even more strongly.  The posture and attitude of ancient Greek sculpture reflects forms as fresh and iconic as today… sometimes formal … sometimes relaxed. Her works, like Praise North and Praise South, reflect the marble human forms, columns, caryatids …  sometimes truncated… found outdoors as well as in museums in Greece. They were inspired by two study and work trips to Greece just before and after the millennium, 1995 and 2000.

Stéphanie Jacques sculpture installation
Stéphanie Jacques sculpture installation. Photo by Tom Grotta

Figures created by Stéphanie Jacques of Belgium are clearly humanoid, but less literal. “For a long time I have been trying to create a figure that stands upright,” Jacques explain. “…all of this is related to the questions I ask myself about femininity and sexual identity. My driving forces are the emotions, the wants and the impossibilities that are particular to me. Once all this comes out, I seek to make it resonate in others. My work is not a lament, but a place where I can transform things to go on.”

Lead Relief, Mary Giles
Detail: Lead Relief, Mary Giles, lead, iron, wood, 23.75” x 56 .75” x 2”, 2011. Photo by Tom Grotta

As Artsy has chronicled, drawn, painted, and sculpted images of human beings can be found in Han Dynasty tombs in China, in Mayan art, and even in the nearly 30,000-year-old wall drawings of the Chauvet Caves in southern France. In incorporating the figure into her work, Mary Giles responded to the graphic power of the male image in early art, such as the petroglyphs of the Southwest, aerial views of prehistoric land art, and the rudimentary figures of Native American baskets. She used similar representations of men on her baskets. Her husband, architect, Jim Harris, told the Racine Art Museum, “Sometimes they were made with the bodies of the men created as part of the coiling process but with the arms and legs added as three-dimensional elements, Some baskets were supported by the legs of the figures. Later, this idea evolved into totems with coiled bodies, the legs as part of a supporting armature, and the arms as free elements. She made over 50 totems! They were small and large, singular and in pairs. They were embellished with everything from puka shells gathered at the beach, to all sorts of metal elements both found and individually made by Mary.”

In 2007, Giles made a piece with individual male figures made of wrapped wire placed directly into the wall. It was composed of hundreds of torched copper wire men arranged outwardly from dense to sparse. She continued this work by placing the figures onto panels. These dealt with Giles’ concerns about population. “They are not baskets,” she explained , “but the men they incorporate have been on my vessels for nearly 30 years. I am still working with these ideas of overpopulation, density and boundaries,” she said in 2013 in her remarks on being awarded the Master of the Medium Award for Fiber from the James Renwick Alliance.

Its a Small World Isn't it?, Judy Mulford
Detail: Its a Small World Isn’t it?, Judy Mulford gourd, waxed linen, fine silver, antique buttons, Japanese coins, beads and antique necklace from Kyoto flea market, pearls from Komodo Island, photo transfers, pounded tin can lids, Peruvian beads, paper, dye, paint; knotting and looping 13″ x 13″ x 16.5″, 2003. Photo by Tom Grotta

Where Mary Giles featured male figures in her works, Judy Mulford’s figures were nearly always women — mothers, sisters, daughters. “My work is autobiographical, personal, graphic and narrative,” she said. “And always, a feeling of being in touch with my female ancestral beginnings.

John McQueen Man with dress willow sculpture
43jm Guise, John McQueen, willow, 48″ x 18″ x 18″

The humans that John McQueen creates of bark often answer questions. McQueen received a Gold Medal from the American Craft Council this year. He has “revolutionized the conventional definition of a basket by raising issues of containment and isolation, security and control, and connections between humans and nature through his work” in the view of the Council, “creating highly original forms.” In Centered, that connection is front and center as a figure emerges from leaves. In Guise, a male figure wears a skirt to help his balance, the artist says. Tilting at Windmills, speaks for itself — a human figure tips sidewise on one leg — holding its own for the moment, but capable of toppling over at any time.

 

Norma Minkowitz Collected
Collected by Norma Minkowitz, mixed media, fiber, wire, shell, paint and resin, 2004. Photo by Tom Grotta

Norma Minkowitz also began her explorations with vessels, sculptural and crocheted, adding depictions of human figures later in her career. “As I exhausted the possibilities of the many enclosed vessel forms that I had created,” Minkowitz told Zone Arts, “I turned to my interest in the human form.  My earliest drawings in pen and ink were always about the human form as well as the human condition. I now returned to the idea of using the figure in my sculptures which was a difficult transition to create –making them transparent and at the same time structured. These where at once much larger and more complicated than the vessel forms. These veiled figurative sculptures were mostly created in the 1990s to the mid- 2000’s. I have also created multi-figure sculptures that illustrate the passage of time and other kinds of transitions, I call these installations sequential as I often use several juxtaposed and related figures together.”

Magdalena Abakanowicz portrait and work
Magdalena Abakanowicz in her art room and Klatka i plecy, Wikimedia Commons

The best-known human figures of fiber are perhaps those by Magdalena Abakanowicz, made of burlap (and later of steel).  “Abakanowicz drew from the human lot of the 20th century, the lot of a man destroyed by the disasters of that century, a man who wants to be born anew,” said Andrzej Szczerski, head of the National Museum in Krakow when the sculptor died in 2017. (https://www.latimes.com/local/obituaries/la-me-magdalena-abakanowicz-20170424-story.html). She had begun her art work as a painter, then created enormous woven tapestries, Abakans, in the earlier ’60s, which heralded the contemporary fiber movement. These works led to burlap backs, then standing figures then legions of figures of metal, like those in Chicago’s Millennium Park. Like other artists promoted by browngrotta arts, Abakanowicz, “… showed that sculpture does not need to be in one block,” art critic Monika Branicka said, “that it can be a situation in space and that it can be made of fabrics.”


Art Assembled: New This Week in April

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

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

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

“My work provides a means of release, allowing the truth to emerge and open the mind. In the process, I ask myself, ‘what is my connection to society?'”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Material Matters: Repurposed Objects as an Art Medium

Repurposing found objects in art has a long history. Long before recycling was a “thing,” Robert Rauschenberg was created his Combine series, works in which he intermixed paintings with items he found on the streets of New York. The works incorporated newsprint, cardboard, sandpaper, ladders, bellows and fuse boxes among other items. With the Combine series, the Rauschenberg Foundation observes, the artist “endowed new significance to ordinary objects by placing them in the context of art.”

Several artists that browngrotta arts represents or follows prove Rauschenberg’s theory that nearly anything can be adapted for an artistic purpose. In their works, however, the unconventional material takes center stage — not just as an inclusion but reinvented as a primary material. For example, early on in his art career, 

John Garrett crocheted videotapes
John Garrett, Dark Curtain, crocheted videotapes, 50” x 52” x 8”, 2020. Photo by Tom Grotta

John Garrett began exploring alternatives to traditional fibers. Developing unique personal methods based on needlepoint and embroidery techniques, he created flexible components that he manipulated into dynamic forms. Materials he uses are found in thrift stores, flea markets, yard sales, dumpsters, curbside on trash days, roadside and in empty lots. Using the varied detritus of an affluent society, he creates artwork that presages less abundant times and focuses attention on the beauty of the discarded and overlooked. 

Lewis Knauss photo slides
Lewis Knauss, Old Technology Landscape, woven, knotted linen, paper twine, photo slides, 16″ x 16″x 4″, 2021. Photo by Tom Grotta

Most recently, he has turned to a surprising, and soon-to-be-scarce, material  — VHS videotape. “Once out of the plastic container,” he writes, “the reels of tape leave behind their previous use. In fact, their stories are lost. They are there but can no longer be accessed. In my thoughts, this leads to a sense of mystery and melancholy, like finding an old photo album in the trash.”  Lewis Knauss found a similar inspiration when he began to go through decades of slides he had taken of landscapes as he travelled. He had planned to simply discard them, instead decided to hold on to some to create a small piece, a “landscape of landscape images” that he had used as reference in his work.

Gyöngy Lakás Coffee Break
Gyöngy Laky, Coffee Break, coffee stirrers, steel wire, 16.5” x 17” x 17”, 2011. Photo by Tom Grotta

 “All artists repurposing and upcycling materials challenge preconceived notions. When the eye recognizes a found object, it changes the meaning and the value of that object in the work. Whereas it may have been thrown away by someone else, it is now living a new life, no longer destined for the landfill but now in a place of preservation created by the artist, “ write Lori Gipson and Brooke Garcia (Repurposing and Upcycling Found Objects in Art – #EarthDay50). Preconceptions are are surely challenged by Gyöngy Laky’s Coffee Break, constructed of coffee stirrers and Fissures III,  by Karyl Sisson, made of nearly unrecognizable vintage paper straws, coiled in intriguing patterns.

Karyl Sisson straws
Karyl Sisson, Fissueres III, vintage drinking straws, thread and polymer, 16.5” x 16.5” x 1.75”, 2019. Photo by Tom Grotta

Plastic and metal are ubiquitous in landfills and our own trash. In Real, John McQueen draws attention to the problem of plastic waste. “Though we are not all that conscious of it, plastic containers are everywhere in our daily lives,” McQueen writes. “We are burying ourselves in them without seeing them.” The vertical, flat landscape in the work comes reflects the Chinese tradition of painting huge mountains with extremely small inhabitants almost lost somewhere in the composition, a contrast, he says, to the way the West believes humans rule the world and we believe we can do what we please.

John McQueen plastic bottles
John McQueen, Real, sticks and cut up plastic bottles, etc 55.5” x 36.75” x 3.5”, 2018. Photo by Tom Grotta

Harriete Estel Berman pulls ordinary material — in this case pre-printed steel from recycled tin containers — from the waste stream of society and recycles it, examining value and identity in our consumer society in the process. In her series, the Deceiver and the Deceived, Berman riveted together pieces of tin food containers, including SlimFast cans. The material looks plaited, quilted, or in the case of Figures in Fine Print, pieced. Through the text on the cans, the artist makes a potent statement about food and body image and the role advertising plays in our attitudes about both. Berman’s work is featured in the most recent episode of Craft in America, Jewelry which you can view online.

Harriete Estel Berman


Figures in Fine Print, Harriete Estel Berman. Framed wall piece constructed from recycled materials specifically tin cans and vintage steel dollhouses, aluminum rivets. Pedestal for a Woman to Stand On, Harriete Estel Berman. Printed steel from vintage steel doll houses and recycled tin cans, the green surface is covered with custom decals of $1.00 and $20.00 dollar bills. The cube shape used in the series A Pedestal for a Woman to Stand On is both a square (the basic structure of quilts) and a feminist response to minimalist sculpture. Photos courtesy of the artist.


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.