Tag: Polly Barton

Art Out and About

This Spring in Connecticut brings an abundance of daffodils and in the US and abroad a slew of art exhibitions. From Scotland to San Francisco to Seoul, we’ve rounded up some suggestions for you:

Jane Balsgaard
April 6 – May 5, 2024
Vejle Kunstforening
Søndermarksvaj 1
Vejle, Denmark 7100 
https://www.vejlekunstforeningmoellen.dk/

Jane Balsgaard paper and glass boat
Glass and handmade paper Boat by Jane Balsgaard. Photo by Jane Balsgaard

This exhibition of Jane Balsgaard’s art work of glass twigs and plant paper will open in Velje, Denmark this April.

Four Stories of Swedish Textile: Inger Bergstöm, Jin Sook So, Katka Beckham Ojala, Takao Momijama
March 20 – April 2, 2024
Suaenyo 339,
339 Pyeongchang-gil, Jongno-gu
Seoul, Korea 
http://sueno339.com/?ckattempt=1

Jin Sook Blue Wall painting
Blue and Gold electroplated wall textile by Jin-Sook So. Photo by Jin-Sook So

This is an exhibition of four very different art practices, including work in stainless steel mesh by Jin-Sook So. “Using textiles as an artistic medium opens up a world of possibilities, interpretations and expectations,” write the exhibition’s curators. “How the individual artist works in this realm is unpredictable and can lead to totally different genres and contexts. The exhibition, 4T – Four Swedish Stories of Textile, shows the works of a group of artists who despite their different expressions are united by an interest specifically for textile surfaces.”

Andy Warhol: The Textiles
Through May 18, 2024
Dovecot Studios
10 Infirmary Street
Edinburgh, SCOTLAND EH1 1LT
https://dovecotstudios.com/whats-on/andy-warhol-the-textiles

Andy Warhol Textiles
Andy Warhol Artworks © 2024 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. Licensed by DACS, London.

Andy Warhol: The Textiles takes viewers on a journey through the unknown and unrecorded world of designs by the influential artist before his Silver Factory days. As the originators explain, by showcasing over 35 of Warhol’s textile patterns from the period, depicting an array of colorful objects; ice cream sundaes, delicious toffee apples, colorful buttons, cut lemons, pretzels, and jumping clowns, this exhibition demonstrates how textile and fashion design was a crucial stage in Warhol becoming one of the most iconic artists of the 20th century. A book accompanies the exhibition: Warhol: The Textiles.

Irresistible: The Global Patterns of Ikat
Through June 1, 2024
George Washington University and Textile Museum
701 21st St. NW
Washington, DC 20052 
museuminfo@gwu.edu

Irresistible Americas installation
Irresistible Americas photo by Kacey Chapman

Prized worldwide for producing vivid patterns and colors, the ancient resist-dyeing technique of ikat developed independently in communities across Asia, Africa and the Americas, where it continues to inspire artists and designers today. This exhibition explores the global phenomenon of ikat textiles through more than 70 masterful examples — ancient and contemporary — from countries as diverse as Japan, Indonesia, India, Uzbekistan, Côte d’Ivoire and Guatemala. Included are works by Polly Barton, Isabel Toledo, and Ed Rossbach.

Weaving Abstraction in Ancient and Modern Art
Through June 16, 2024
Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10028
https://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/weaving-abstraction-in-ancient-and-modern-art

Lenore Tawney in the Center of MET exhibit
Weaving Abstraction in Ancient and Modern Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art,
© The Metropolitan Museum of Art, photo by Hyla Skopitz

The process of creating textiles has long been a springboard for artistic invention. In Weaving Abstraction in Ancient and Modern Art, two extraordinary bodies of work separated by at least 500 years are brought together to explore the striking connections between artists of the ancient Andes and those of the 20th century. The exhibition displays textiles by four distinguished modern practitioners—Anni Albers, Sheila Hicks, Lenore Tawney, and Olga de Amaral—alongside pieces by Andean artists from the first millennium BCE to the 16th century.

On and Off the Loom: Kay Sekimachi and 20th Century Fiber Art
Lecture and Video with Melissa Leventon and Ellin Klor
April 20. 2024
1 p.m. EDT
de Young Museum
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, CA 94118
https://www.textileartscouncil.org/post/on-and-off-the-loom-kay-sekimachi-and-20th-century-fiber-art

Kay Sekimachi Kiri Wood Paper Vessel
Kiri Wood Paper Vessel by Kay Sekimachi. Photo by Tom Grotta

Kay Sekimachi is esteemed as an innovator in contemporary fiber art. Her vision has had an impact on many outstanding artists. Sekimachi came of age at a boom time for fiber art, when many artists were experimenting with dimensional weaving both on and off the loom and were challenging old art world hierarchies in the process. In this talk in person and on Zoom, Melissa Leventon will discuss Sekimachi’s oeuvre within the wider context of fiber art in the 20th century.

Woven Histories: Textiles and Modern Abstraction
Through July 28, 2024
National Art Gallery
East Building, Concourse Galleries
4th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 
https://www.nga.gov/exhibitions/2024/woven-histories-textiles-modern-abstraction.html

Ed Rossbach Weaving and basket
Ed Rossbach, Damask Waterfall, 1977, LongHouse Reserve, © Ed Rossbach, photo © Charles Benton, courtesy The Artist’s Institute. Ed Rossbach, Lettuce Basket, 1982, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Gift of Dr. Milton and Martha Dalitzky (M.2021.163.1), © Ed Rossbach, photo © Museum Associates/LACMA.

This transformative exhibition has moved from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to the National Gallery in DC. It explores how abstract art and woven textiles have intertwined over the past hundred years.This transformative exhibition explores how abstract art and woven textiles have intertwined over the past hundred years. In the 20th century, textiles have often been considered lesser—as applied art, women’s work, or domestic craft. Woven Histories challenges the hierarchies that often separate textiles from fine arts. Putting into dialogue some 160 works by more than 50 creators from across generations and continents, including Katherine Westphal, Dorothy Gill Barnes, and Ed Rossbach, this exhibition explores the contributions of weaving and related techniques to abstraction, modernism’s preeminent art form.  The book that accompanies the exhibition, Woven Histories: Textiles and Modern Abstraction, can be found on our website.


Art Out and About: Spring 2023

US or abroad we’ve got lots of suggestions — 10 in fact — of exhibitions you can visit in June and beyond.

1) Christine Joy and Sara Mast: Passage 
Yellowstone Art Museum 
Billings, MT 
through July 16, 2023

Christine Joy Connecting to the Sky sculpture
Christine Joy, Connecting to the Sky, 2016. Photo courtesy of Christine Joy

https://www.artmuseum.org/project/christine-joy-and-sara-mast-passage/

Christine Joy and Sara Mast explorethe mystery of nature through the transformation of materials, texture, and form.

The large, twisted willow forms by Christine Joy are the result of a rhythmic process beginning with the hunt and harvest of willow in autumn — followed by sorting, bunding, and storing. Joy began rug braiding in the 1970s. Over time, Joy moved on from rug braiding, leading her to a period of experimentation, and ultimately to reclaiming and reorienting her love of gathering and process with willow, grounding her to the earth. Sara Mast, a descendant of miners from Cornwall, England, resides on the site of Storrs, Montana, an early Anaconda Company mining town. Today, she incorporates PEM (plasma enhanced melter) glass into her work. PEM is a byproduct of plasma gasification, an advanced waste management technology that turns any kind of trash into inert, non-toxic glass and clean fuels. Mast writes, “PEM glass is not just another art material, but represents a profound paradigm shift in using technology to heal our environmental dilemma by keeping waste out of landfills and greenhouse gases out of the air. My use of PEM glass is one way I am able to reclaim a healthy relationship with the earth.”

2) International Linen Biennial in Portneuf (BILP)
Heritage sites throughout Deschambault-Grondines 
Quebec, Canada
June 18 – October 1, 2023
https://biennaledulin.com/

Blair Tate, from the 10th Linen Biennial in Quebec
Dialogue, detail, Blair Tate, from the 10th Linen Biennial in Quebec. Photo courtesy of Blair Tate

Anneke Klein (the Netherlands) Blair Tate (United States of America) Stéphanie Jacques (Belgium), Carole Frève (Québec) will all participate in the upcoming biennial of Linen — the 10th in Portneuf. The biennial will feature two exhibitons; the work of 20 professional artist; 20 emerging artists; multiple mediation activities and a day of converences. 

3) Couples in Craft
Craft in America Museum
Los Angeles, CA
through September 24, 2023
https://www.craftinamerica.org/exhibition/couples-in-craft/

Jim and Veralee Bassler
Jim and Veralee Bassler at the opening of Couples at the Craft in America Gallery in LA.

Couples in Craft highlights artist couples that specifically work in fiber and ceramics, either collaboratively or independently. While very different in their physical qualities—malleable and rigid, vegetable and mineral—both media require methodical construction processes that can take years to master. Many of these artist couples met during their formative educational years and thus share a lifelong dedication to each other and to their respective craft. These partners support and inspire each others’ extensive pursuit of mastering materials and continued exploration of their potential. Their intuitive knowledge of process allows for layers of meaning to become integrated into the works as they are made.

Among the artists included in this exhibition are Veralee Bassler and Jim Bassler. Veralee Bassler graduated from the UCLA Art Department with a concentration in ceramics. She shared her passion for creativity, teaching, and ceramics with the students of the Los Angeles School District for 25 years. Jim Bassler graduated from UCLA with an MA in Art in 1968 and later served there as professor and department chair between 1975–2000. Jim, recipient of the American Craft Council 2022 Gold Medal, is a renown weaver whose work adapts ancient Peruvian techniques and explores a range of materials and concepts. Veralee and Jim live and work in Palm Springs, CA.

4) At Own Pace: Włodzimierz Cygan 
7th Riga International Textile and Fibre Art Triennial
Mentzendorff’s House 
Grēcinieku iela 18, Riga, Latvia
through July 27, 2023

Włodzimierz Cygan Fiber Optic weaving detail
From the series Between the LinesDetail, Włodzimierz Cygan, Linen, optic fiber, weaving, artist’s own technique. 2021. Courtesy of the artist. 

https://www.lnmm.lv/en/museum-of-decorative-arts-and-design/news/programme-of-the-7th-riga-international-textile-and-fibre-art-triennial-quo-vadis-139

Baiba Osīte: Exodus
7th Riga International Textile and Fibre Art Triennial
Art Station Dubulti 
Z. Meierovica prospekts 4, 

Baiba Osīte. XXX. 1993.
Baiba Osīte. XXX. 1993. linen, cotton, wood, artist’s own technique. Collection of the Latvian National Museum of Art. Publicity photo

Jūrmala, Latvia https://www.lnmm.lv/en/museum-of-decorative-arts-and-design/news/programme-of-the-7th-riga-international-textile-and-fibre-art-triennial-quo-vadis-139

The 7th Riga International Textile and Fibre Art Triennial,  QUO VADIS? unites 79 artists from 30 countries who were selected by an international jury from 237 submissions. Responding to the motto of the triennial, QUO VADIS? (Where Are We Going?), the authors, through their works, partake in conversations about the evolution of art and this particular field today as well as global geopolitical and social problems, engaging in self-reflection through the perspective of their time and art form. 

The Triennial features an exciting solo exhibition by the internationally acclaimed Polish guest-artist Włodzimierz Cygan at the Mentzendorff’s House in Riga and one featuring Latvian artist Baiba Osite.

5)  Ferne Jacobs: A Personal World
Claremont Lewis Museum of Art
Claremont, California
through September 24, 2023

Origins by Ferne Jacobs
Origins, Ferne Jacobs, 2017-2018, Craft in America, Metro Madizon

https://clmoa.org/exhibit/ferne-jacobs-a-personal-world/

Ferne Jacobs: A Personal World at the Claremont Lewis Museum of Art presents the work of Ferne Jacobs, a pioneer in fiber arts who creates unique three-dimensional sculptural forms using ancient basket-making techniques. Ferne Jacobs: A Personal World features a broad selection of her sculptures as well as books of her psychological drawings and collage diaries. 

6) Jane Balsgaard
Galleriet Hornbæk
Hornbæk, Denmark
Summer 2023

http://xn--galleriethornbk-bmb.dk/category/jane-balsgaard/

Paper Ship by Jane Balsgaard
Paper Ship by Jane Balsgaard. Photo courtesy of Jane Balsgaard

Jane Balsgaard’s work is available this summer at Susanne Risom’s Galleriet Hornbæk in Denmark.

7) Scandinavian Design and the United States, 1890 – 1980
Milwaukee Art Museum
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
through July 23, 2023

https://mam.org/exhibitions/scandinavian-design/

Scandinavian Design and the United States, 1890–1980 is the first exhibition to explore the extensive design exchanges between the United States and Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Iceland during the 20th century.  It includes works by Helena Hernmarck who moved from Sweden to the US, and Lenore Tawney, who studied with noted Finnish weaver Martta Taipale at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina.

8) Indigo 
Denver Botanic Garden
York Street Location
Denver, Colorado
July 2 – November 5, 2023 

Synapse indigo weaving byPolly Barton
Synapse, Polly Barton, to appear in Indigo, at the Denver Botanical Gardens. Photo by Tom Grotta

https://www.botanicgardens.org/exhibits/indigo

Rich and alluring, the striking blue color known as indigo has inspired weavers, dyers, designers, and sculptors across the globe. This exhibition, which  contemporary artists from the United States, Nigeria, Japan and South Korea Includes several works loaned by browngrotta arts  from artists Polly BartonEduardo Portillo and Mariá DávilaChiyoko TanakaHiroyuki Shindo, and Yeonsoon Chang.

9) Shaped by the Loom: Weaving Worlds in the American Southwest
Bard Graduate Center Gallery
New York, New York
through July 9, 2023

https://www.bgc.bard.edu/exhibitions/exhibitions/117/n-a

Shaped by the Loom: Weaving Worlds in the American Southwest invites you to explore the world of Navajo weaving. This dynamic gallery and online experience presents never-before-seen textiles created by Diné artists. These historic blankets, garments, and rugs from the American Museum of Natural History are situated alongside contemporary works by Diné weavers and visual artists, such as Barbara Teller Ornelas and Lynda Teller Pete.

10) Expressing Cloths: Oceanian Modeling and Shigeki Fukumoto/Shigeko Fukumoto
Aomori Contemporary Art Center
Aomori, Japan
through June 14, 2023

https://acac-aomori.jp/program/2023-1/

This exhibition features Fukumoto, who has pursued an expression that can only be achieved through “dyeing” through his insight into the theory of craftsmanship in Oceania and Japan, and handcrafted fabrics that have been handed down since before textiles, such as tapa (bark cloth) and knitted fabrics from Melanesia in the South Pacific. In recent years Shioko Fukumoto has developed works using old natural fabrics that were made and used in rural life and labor. Three works. By group, we will think about the expression that can only be achieved with cloth, and the possibilities of cloth as a medium of expression. Both Fukomotos have visited Papua, New Guinea on more than one occasion.


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


Books Make Great Gifts, Part 1

Another year, another interesting and eclectic round up of reading recommendations. There are so many good choices from our artists this year that we are dividing them into two posts. This week, a plethora of art books. Next week, a mix of fiction, nonfiction and browngrotta arts’ suggestions.

Garden, by Derek Jarman, Art Forms in the Plant World by Karl Blossfeldt, and  Champs D’Oeuvre by Frank Stella
Garden, by Derek Jarman, Art Forms in the Plant World by Karl Blossfeldt, and  Champs d’Oeuvre by Frank Stella

Art books always make up a good portion of our list, and this year is no exception. Shoko Fukuda told us about three books: Garden, by Derek Jarman, Art Forms in the Plant World by Karl Blossfeldt, and  Champs d’Oeuvre by Frank Stella. Heidrun Schimmel says that “in spite of all the trouble and problems with the documenta fifteen exhibition in Kassel, Germany this year,  it was an important exhibition event with a good catalog: Documenta Fifteen: Handbook, (English ed., Hatje Cantz, Stuttgart, Germany, 2022). 

Documenta Fifteen: Handbook, Lee Bontecou
Documenta Fifteen: Handbook and Lee Bontecou

Stéphanie Jacques discovered an artist that she did not know this year and a catalog about her, Lee Bontecou, that was “a good door to go inside her world.” Jacques says she was “overwhelmed by her sculptures and her engravings, her drawings. And how she always continued to invent and manufacture her unusual materials.”

Conversations Avec Denise René and Was ist ein Künstler? by Verena Kreiger
Conversations Avec Denise René and Was ist ein Künstler? by Verena Kreiger

From Korea, Young-ok Shin read the following book “with great interest” this year: 5000 Years of Korean Textiles: An Illustrated History and Technical Survey by Yeon-ok Sim (available in libraries). She also recommends Conversations Avec Denise René (in French). Denise René was a gallerist in France who specialized in kinetic and op art. And, another look at art (in German), Was ist ein Künstler? by Verena Kreiger.

Artist Begins Her Life's Work at 72, by Molly Peacock and Last Light, How 6 great artists made old age a time of triumph by Richard Lacayo
The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins Her Life’s Work at 72, by Molly Peacock and Last Light, How 6 great artists made old age a time of triumph by Richard Lacayo

This year, Polly Barton “loved” The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins Her Life’s Work at 72, by Molly Peacock. “Mary Delaney’s work with color, dyes and flowers through collage, as well as her life story was deeply inspiring to me,” Barton writes. “In the contemplation of each flower as a product of a period in the artist’s life, I found myself reflecting on my own forty years of work in woven ikat. It is a quiet, absorbing, book. The images a treat for the eyes.” She highly recommends it. Polly Sutton found the stories of older artists of interest, too. She has been reading Last Light, How 6 Great Artists Made Old Age a Time of Triumph by Richard Lacayo. “The book is heavy in more ways than one, while reading myself to sleep!” she writes. “But it is compelling to understand these artists’ productive later years.” Gertrud Hals also recommended 

Simone Pheulpin: Cercle d’art and  Kiki Smith, Camille Morineau, SilvanaEditoriale
Simone Pheulpin: Cercle d’art and  Kiki Smith, Camille Morineau, Silvana Editoriale

Simone Pheulpin: Cercle d’art (available from browngrotta arts) about the 81-year old French artists’ unique works of cotton tapes and stainless steel pins and the monograph from Kiki Smith’s major exhibition in France in 2019 and 2020, Kiki Smith, Camille Morineau, Silvana Editoriale.

Ninth Street Women by Mary Gabriel and What Artists Wear by Charlie Porter
Ninth Street Women by Mary Gabriel and What Artists Wear by Charlie Porter
How Art Can Be Thought by Allan deSouza and Cy Twombly: The Sculpture by Hatje Kantz
How Art Can Be Thought by Allan deSouza and Cy Twombly: The Sculpture by Hatje Kantz

Aby Mackie tells us that her “all-time favorite art book” is Ninth Street Women by Mary Gabriel. The publisher describes the book as, “Set amid the most turbulent social and political period of modern times, Ninth Street Women is the impassioned, wild, sometimes tragic, always exhilarating chronicle of five women who dared to enter the male-dominated world of 20th-century abstract painting — not as muses but as artists. From their cold-water lofts, where they worked, drank, fought, and loved, these pioneers burst open the door to the art world for themselves and countless others to come.” Aby has been reading this year, and recommends, an additional group of art books: What Artists Wear by Charlie Porter and How Art Can Be Thought by Allan deSouza; and Cy Twombly: The Sculpture by Hatje Kantz. 

Teresa Lanceta Weaving as Open Source by MACBA and Louise Bourgeois: The Woven Child by Hatje Kantz
Teresa Lanceta Weaving as Open Source by MACBA and Louise Bourgeois: The Woven Child by Hatje Kantz

Two of the recommended books reference weaving:  Teresa Lanceta Weaving as Open Source by MACBA and Louise Bourgeois: The Woven Child by Hatje Kantz, which documents that artist’s fiber works from the last two decades of her life.

The Story of Art Without Men by Katy Hessel
The Story of Art Without Men by Katy Hessel

Her last recommendation is a book that redresses an historic imbalance: The Story of Art Without Men by Katy Hessel which promises you will have “your sense of art history overturned and your eyes opened to many artforms often ignored or dismissed,” through 300 works of art from the Renaissance to the present day.

Chunghi Choo and Her Students: Contemporary Art and New Forms in Metal and Magdalena Abakanowicz, Writings and Conversations
Chunghi Choo and Her Students: Contemporary Art and New Forms in Metal and Magdalena Abakanowicz, Writings and Conversations

Just out this past fall, Chunghi Choo and Her Students: Contemporary Art and New Forms in Metal, a large-sized book of lush photographs of Choo’s work in fiber and metal, is recommended by Mary Merkel-Hess (and browngrotta arts). “Jane C. Milosch, the editor, has written a fascinating biography of Choo’s life from her childhood in South Korea through her study at Cranbrook, her teaching at the University of Iowa and her rise as a world-famous artist,” she writes. The book also includes short sections and photographs of work by 30 of her students, including Mary Merkel-Hess, Sun-Kyung Sun, Jocelyn Chateauvert and Sam Gassman. The students’ works show how techniques learnt in a metal program are impressively transferred to other fields of art.

Last, but certainly not least, Rachel Max calls out a “amazing” book: Magdalena Abakanowicz, Writings and Conversations, which she is reading after seeing the brilliant Abakanowicz show at the Tate in London. “It’s an incredible compendium of archival material and a fascinating insight into Abakanowicz’s creative mind,” Rachel says. “She talks of her necessity to create and of soft materials and weaving as something which enabled her to realize her ideas. She also talks of her pieces as compositions in space, of their scale and sense of movement and ours as we walk through her installations. Her Abakans, she says, are ‘shelters’, objects of protection, a second skin and even to some extent mobile homes, giant pockets of interior and exterior spaces. Hardly surprising given that Abakanowicz’s whole life was in her own words, ‘formed and deformed by wars and revolutions of various kinds’.  Art, she says, tells about reality because it springs from the reality from which it develops.” Rachel wishes to some extent that she’d started reading this book before visiting the exhibition, that artist’s “voice feels so present and strong and her words and thoughts so insightful.”

So many books, so little time!

Good gifting and great reading.


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.


Volume 50 Art Focus: The Salon Wall

In our recent exhibition, Volume 50: Chronicling Fiber Art for Three Decadeswe featured a gallery wall with art by nine international artists from five countries.

works by Claude Vermette, Wendy Wahl, Caroline Bartlett, Toshiko Takaezu, Joyce Clear. Photo by Tom Grotta
Works by Claude Vermette, Wendy Wahl, Caroline Bartlett, Toshiko Takaezu, Joyce Seymore. Photo by Tom Grotta

Salon walls, or gallery walls as they are also called, are a favorite with designers, according to Invaluable, for a reason: they can be curated to fit an assortment of styles and work well in virtually any room. (“15 Gallery Walls to Suit Every Style,”  https://www.invaluable.com/blog/gallery-wall-ideas/utm_campaign=weeklyblog&utm_medium=email&utm_source=house&utm_content=blog092420 ) Salon walls “first became popular in France in the late 17th century,” according to the Invaluable article. “Salons across the country began displaying fine art from floor to ceiling, often because of the limited space, that encapsulated the artistic trends of the time. One of the first and most famous salon walls was displayed at the Palace of the Louvre in 1670, helping to establish the Louvre as a global destination for art.”

clockwise, from upper right: Mia Olsson, Jo Barker, Karyl Sisson, Debra Valoma, Jennifer Falck Linssen, Marian Bijlenga, Polly Barton, Åse Ljones. center: Wendy Wahl. Photo by Tom Grotta
clockwise, from upper right: Mia Olsson, Jo Barker, Karyl Sisson, Debra Valoma, Jennifer Falck Linssen, Marian Bijlenga, Polly Barton, Åse Ljones. center: Wendy Wahl. Photo by Tom Grotta

Our Volume 50 salon wall was a fitting testament to the 50 catalogs we have produced and were celebrating in this exhibition. In our 50 catalogs we have featured 172 artists from 28 countries. Our salon wall featured works by nine of those artists from five countries. Wendy Wahl creates work from pages of encyclopedias, leading readers to think about changes over the time to the way acquire information. Mia Olsson of Sweden created a work of brightly colored sisal, inspired by traditional, pleated folk costumes. We included Jo Barker’s tapestry, Cobalt Haze. People often think Barker’s lushly colored tapestries are oil paintings until they are close enough to see the meticulous detail. Lewis Knauss imagined a landscape of prayer flags in creating Prayer Mountain. For Deborah Valoma, simplicity is deceptive. The truth, she says, “scratched down in pencil, lies below the cross-hatched embellishments.” 

Jennifer Falck Linssen found inspiration in Asian ink paintings for her wall work, Mountain. The peaks in the paintings are a play of opposites: serene and forceful, solid and ethereal, strong and vulnerable. Mountain explores this duality and also the layered, often subtle, emotions of the human heart and its own dichotomy. Marian Bijlenga‘s graphic, playful work displays a fascination with patterning. This work was inspired by the geometric patterning of Korean bojagi, which is comparable to modernist paintings by such artists as Piet Mondrian and Paul Klee. In bojagi,small, colorful leftover scraps of fabrics are arranged and sewn together to construct larger artful cloths. The triple-stitched seams are iconic. This work, says the artist, specifically references the grid of these seams and the special Korean use of color. For Polly Barton, the technique of ikat serves as her paintbrush for producing contemporary works. From Norway, Åse Ljones uses a blizzard of stitches to create her works. “No stitch is ever a mistake,” she says. “A mistake is often what creates a dynamic in the work.” 

A salon wall is a great way to collect for people who are interested in different artists and different mediums. At browngrotta we’ve always suggested that clients had more wall space on which to display art — it just hadn’t been uncovered yet. We’ve created another salon wall in our non-gallery space. On it, we’ve combined oil paintings, fiber works, ceramics and photography. The wall can accommodate our continuing desire to collect — above, below and on the side.

works by Ed Rossbach. Photo by Tom Grotta
A gallery wall highlights weavings by Ed Rossbach. Photo by Tom Grotta

“A gallery wall is absolutely ideal for a small apartment, as it can give a room real interest, depth and a properly decorated feel without taking up any floor space — and thereby minimizing clutter,” Luci Douglas-Pennant, told The New York Times in 2017. Douglas-Pennant founded Etalage, with Victoria Leslie, an English company specializing in antique prints, vintage oil paintings and decorative pictures for gallery walls. “If you don’t have one large wall, gallery walls can be hung around windows, around doors, above bed heads, above and around fireplaces or even around cabinets in a kitchen.”

Three works by Sheila Hicks from our 1996 exhibition: Sheila Hicks: Joined by seven artists from Japan
Sheila Hicks introduced us to the gallery wall in an exhibition she curated at browngrotta arts in 1996, Sheila Hicks: Joined by seven artists from Japan. In that exhibition, she displayed three of her works in the space between two windows.

For works of varying sizes and shapes to get you started on your own version of a salon wall, visit browngrotta.com, where we have images of dozens of available artworks to pique your interest.


Creative Quarantining: Artist Check-in 4

Number 4 in our series includes reports from North America, from Nova Scotia to Santa Fe.

Walk With Peace, Dawn MacNutt. Photo Dawn MacNutt

In Canada, Dawn MacNutt reported, they are managing corona restrictions well, but still reeling from a mass shooting earlier in the month. “We’ve had pretty fine leadership regarding management of the virus situation. We remain in isolation, and will continue for some time to come. However, the past few days that is all eclipsed by the tragic situation of a mass attack on a neighboring number of communities. I remember when your nearby Sandy Hook, Connecticut was under attack. The attack here is over, but the extent of loss of life is still being uncovered…23 victims now. We are lucky to have the land to walk on. Lots of scrabble, chess, movies, reading.” In addition, Dawn  was busy getting pictures and lists, to document her solo online exhibition A Fortunate Adversity: COVID-19 Edition, at the Craig Gallery in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia in May.

Nora Minkowitz Spinning in her studio
Norma Minkowitz Spinning amongst her works. Photo by Tom Grotta

“We are good.” Norma Minkowitz writes from Connecticut where she is staying active. “I have been mostly doing what I always do, basically I am at home working most of the day on several artworks at the same time.  I can’t spin now as my club is closed so as always, I am running outside  2-3 miles and also on the treadmill several times a week. I have a training session with my new trainer every Thursday on Zoom. It is really hard work but I enjoy it and feel like I am getting much stronger as time goes by. I have started jumping rope again, at first it was awkward, but now I am getting better at it. I hope to do some qualifying races in October as they were pushed up from the May races I was supposed to participate in. This is also good for my demanding art work as I stand and climb when the work gets bigger. I am again working on my worn out running socks and making intricate stitched work from the frayed and torn socks.” On the entertainment and eating fronts, Norma streams TV from different sources and “often gets drawn into interesting dramas and mysteries from different countries. I don’t cook as my daughter, a chef, brings me food enough for five days, so I am lucky to have her. My hair is a disaster, but it is what it is. Hope everyone is productive and healthy.”

clockwise: Polly Barton's Warp, Kobokusa and Shifuku. Photos by Poly Barton
clockwise: Polly Barton’s Warp, Kobokusa and Shifuku. Photos by Poly Barton

Polly Barton, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, has used the time to take stock. “I have been sorting, thinking, walking daily and uploading 40 years worth of images from CDs into the cloud (BORING!).” Polly has also been sewing shifuku and kobukusa for the Japanese tea ceremony from exploratory color ways of pieces of various warps. “I am finishing up the last pieces on a warp that has challenged me for four years (big accomplishment, though still deciding on how to mount and hang…),” she says. and winding a new warp. “Essentially, it has been a time of quiet, feeling as though I am standing on two logs, one looking backwards and the other pulling me forward, in the middle of a slow-moving stream going … somewhere unknown. This new warp will lead me. Hindsight will be 20/20,” she predicts, “as we look back with gentle compassion at 2020.”

Stay Safe, Stay Separate, Stay Inspired!


Art & Identity: A Sense of Place

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Acquisition News

Diagonal, Kyoko Kumai, stainless steel, 2016.

We have learned about a host of acquisitions for artists who work with browngrotta arts’ since our acquisition reports last July and August 2018.  A large number of our artists’ work are now included in the collection of The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum thanks to the remarkable gift of the late Lloyd Cotsen, former chief executive officer and chairman of the board of Neutrogena Corporation, which included 4,000 textiles, an endowment and equipment to support the textile collections he assembled.

Attitude, Lia Cook, Handwoven cotton and rayon, 1999.Photo by: Bruce M. White@ Lloyd E. Cotsen, 2016.

The gift includes the Cotsen Textile Traces Study Collection, one of the world’s most significant textile study collections ever assembled by an individual and The Box Project: Uncommon Threads, organized by Cotsen Foundation for Academic Research, which includes work by John Garrett, Helena Hernmarck, Agneta Hobin, Kiyomi Iwata, Lewis Knauss, Naomi Kobayashi, Nancy Koenigsberg, Gyöngy Laky, Heidrun Schimmel and Hisako Sekijima. Cotsen’s gift also included Lia Cook’s 1999 work, Attitude.

Other acquisitions of note:

Ed Rossbach: Bobbin Lace, 1970, was acquired by the Minneapolis Institute of Art, through browngrotta arts.

Eduardo Portillo and Mariá Eugenia DávilaNew Nebula, 2017, was acquired by the Toledo Art Museum in Ohio, through browngrotta arts.

Norma Minkowitz: The Minneapolis Institute of Art purchased a crocheted and stitched wall hanging called Journeys End, 2017, and a stitched drawing with collage and crochet, Lunar Landing, 2017.

Shin Young-ok: Rhymes from 2000 was acquired by the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea

Moot, Helena Hernmarck, wool, linen, cotton, 1971. Photo by Helena Hernmarck.

Chang Yeonsoon:  In addition to being a finalist for the Loewe Craft Prize in 2018, the Loewe Foundation in London collected three works of Chang Yeonsoon’s works in August, 2018.

Polly Barton: Fertile Ground, was chosen by the Art in Embassies program to be in the US Embassy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

Nancy Koenigsberg: Teal Concentric Boxes was a gift from Camille and Alex Cook to the Racine Art Museum, Wisconsin.

Ampersand by Gyöngy Laky

Ethel Stein: Butah, 2011, went to the Art Institute of Chicago in Illinois through browngrotta arts.

Kyoko Kumai: Kumai’s tapestry, Diagonal, which was acquired by teh Victoria & Albert Museum in London in 2016, is on display at the Museum until the end of July 2020. The National  Museum of Art in Riga, Latvia collected Kumai’s work in 2018.

Åse Ljones: Three pieces from Ljones’ series, It is Still Quiet, were acquired by KODE Museum, Bergen, Norway in 2017.

Adela Akers: In 2018 Akers’ work, Traced Memories, was acquired by The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco/De Young Museum.

Gyöngy Laky: In addition to This Way and That, which is part of The Box Collection, which went to the The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum, Seek, from 2016, was acquired by the United States State Department for the new Kosovo Embassy in Pristina. 

Helen Hernmarck: Moot, 1971 was acquired by the Minneapolis Institute of Art. 


Who is new in Blue/Green: code/color/context — Micheline Beauchemin and Polly Barton

Blue/Green: color/code/context opens at browngrotta arts, 276 Ridgefield Road, Wilton, Connecticut on April 28th (1 pm to 6 pm). Featured in the exhibition are more than 50 artists, including two new to browngrotta arts, Micheline Beauchemin of Canada and Polly Barton from the US.

 

Details of Totem aux Millefleurs Bleues by Micheline Beauchemin and Synapse by Polly Barton

Details of Totem aux Millefleurs Bleues by Micheline Beauchemin and Synapse by Polly Barton

Beauchemin began her career making stained-glass windows but early on turned to weaving and embroidering spectacular wall hangings in vibrant colors, including blues and greens. traveled and studied in Japan, China, India, North Africa, the Canadian Arctic and the Andes, adding depth and mystery to the love of light, water, wings and nets that is evident in her body of work. She created a number of important commissions throughout Canada, including an acrylic curtain for the Grande Salle of the Théâtre Maisonneuve at Place des Arts in Montréal (1963-1967) a curtain for the National Arts Centre in Ottawa (1966-1969), tapestries for Queen’s Park in Toronto (1968-1969), the Hudson’s Bay Company in Winnipeg (1970) and the Canadian pavilion at the 1970 World’s Fair in Osaka, Japan. She participated in the 10th Lausanne Biennial, was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and was awarded the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts. A book about Beauchemin, her life and works, Micheline Beauchemin: Je rêvais de tapisseries à la grandeur des cathédrales, à la largeur de nos rivières (roughly, I dreamed of tapestries, as wide as rivers, throughout cathedrals) can be purchased through our website at http://store.browngrotta.com/books/

 

Polly Barton is a US artist known for adapting the ancient weaving technique of ikat into contemporary woven imagery. She has provided an ikat of silk, Pillar of Cloud, for Blue/Green: color/code/context. As a young artist, Barton worked as a personal assistant to Helen Frankenthaler. She cites that experience as a formative one, where she learned firsthand the inner drive, resilience, and intention necessary for an artist. The year also introduced her to the challenges and rewards of the New York art world. In 1981, she moved to Kameoka, Japan and lived in the religious heart of the Oomoto Foundation to study with master weaver, Tomohiko Inoue. In Kameoka, she practiced tea ceremony, calligraphy and Noh Drama with Oomoto’s master teachers. Barton has shown her woven ikats on both coasts. Her works are in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and the Mint Museum among others.

 

Blue/Green: color/code/context opens on April 28th for just 10 days. The 140-page color catalog will be available on the 28th at browngrotta.com.
Details: Opening and Artists Reception, Saturday, April 28th, 1-6 pm; Sunday April 29th – Sunday May 6th, Hours: 10-5 pm. For more info: http://www.browngrotta.com/Pages/calendar.php; 203-834-0623.