Tag: Warren Seelig

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 Assembled – New This Week in January

At browngrotta arts, we’re kicking off the year with the same enthusiasm that propels us forward year after year. Throughout January, we’ve had the privilege of shining a spotlight on some extraordinary artists and their creations. The talents of Mariette Rousseau-Vermette, Warren Seeling, Nancy Moore Bess, Federica Luzzi, and Ethel Stein have graced our ‘New This Week’ series.

But, that’s just the beginning of the excitement. We’ve also been hard at work prepping for our next upcoming exhibition.. We will be sharing the details soon, so be sure to keep following along so you don’t miss out!

Until then, we invite you to recap on our past month of ‘New This Week’ features below.

 Ethel Stein
54es Rust Abstract, Ethel Stein, mercerized cotton lampas, 36” x 35.25” x 1”, 2005. Photo by Tom Grotta.

To start off our series for the month, we began by highlighting the late, Ethel Stein. With a career spanning decades, Stein left an indelible mark on the world of weaving and textile art. Her intricate and masterful creations were not only celebrated across the country but also earned her a solo exhibition at the prestigious Art Institute of Chicago in 2014.

What makes Stein’s artistic journey truly exceptional is her mastery of the drawloom—a skill that few contemporary weavers possess. This expertise allowed her to craft intricate textiles that were both technically advanced and visually captivating.

Her influence resonated across the globe, as her works found a place in exhibitions not only in the United States, but also in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and beyond.

Federica Luzzi
13fl White Shell, Federica Luzzi, knotting technique, cotton cord, 15″ x 15″x 7.25″, 2018. Photo by Tom Grotta.

Up next in January, we turned our focus to the talented Federica Luzzi. Luzzi’s vertical loom technique allows her to transform fibers from their traditional two-dimensional frame into captivating three-dimensional creations.

What truly sets Luzzi apart is her presentation. She curates her works in dimensional installations, where they appear as fragments of a galaxy, blending the macrocosm and microcosm seamlessly. Her artistry is akin to a magnetic aggregation of fragile bodies, meticulously arranged like constellations or an enigmatic form of writing.

At the core of Luzzi’s exploration lies a deep connection with nature. Her work delves into the intricate beauty of leaves, barks, seeds, and plant pods. Through her art, she unveils the hidden wonders of these organic elements, inviting viewers to ponder the intricate patterns of the natural world.

Nancy Moore Bess
71nmb Jakago I, Nancy Moore Bess, dyed, kiln-dried Japanese bamboo, waxed linen and cotton, 7.5″ x 4″ x 4″, 2007. Photo Tom Grotta.

Up next in our series, we highlighted the work of artist, Nancy Moore Bess. Based in California, Bess is an artist who views tradition as a reference point rather than a boundary. Her journey has revolved around the idea of mystery and containment within the realm of basketry, and she brings a unique twist to her creations using lids and closures inspired by her time living in Japan.

When creating, Bess seamlessly weaves together the practicality of traditional basketry with an enigmatic, and almost secretive allure. Her works beckon viewers to imagine the hidden treasures they might hold.

We are continuously impressed by the work Bess creates, and that’s exactly why we wanted to shine a light on her, so our audiences can see it too!

 Warren Seeling
7was.1 Shadowfield/ Colored Light/ Single by Warren Seeling, silver brazed stainless steel/ mixed colored plexiglass, 36” x 21” x 8”, 2017. Photo by Tom Grotta.

Nearing the end of the month, we brought you all art from the one and only, Warren Seeling. Seelig’s impact on the art world is significant, with his work featured in over 30 major museum exhibitions worldwide. His relentless exploration of possibilities within textile and fiber art continues to inspire and challenge conventional ideas of texture, weight, and form.

Warren Seelig’s journey as an artist has been marked by a relentless pursuit of innovation. Back in the late ’70s, he ventured into creating structural, fan-like works, using mylar frames and introducing a unique double-weave technique that pushed the boundaries of traditional textile art. Over time, Seelig’s focus evolved, leading him to craft suspended spoke-and-axle pieces and wall-mounted shadow fields.

Mariette Rousseau-Vermette
561mv.1 Repos + Paix, Mariette Rousseau-Vermette, brushed wool, aluminum, 48″ x 54″, 1988.
Photo by Tom Grotta.

To close out our series for the month, we brought you art from the late artist, Mariette Rousseau-Vermette. With a career spanning four decades, she left an indelible mark on the world of tapestries and sculptures, captivating collectors and commissions across the globe.

Rousseau-Vermette’s artistic journey took her from the Quebec School of Fine Arts to working alongside Dorothy Liebes in California. She later participated in five International Tapestry Biennials in Lausanne, using these opportunities to connect with artists worldwide. In the 1980s, she made significant contributions as part of the Art and Architecture program, ultimately heading the Fibers Department at the Banff Center for the Fine Arts.

It’s no wonder why her achievements are so widely recognized! She is truly one of the best.

We hope you enjoyed our January series! Stay tuned for more ‘New This Week’ features in the months ahead.


Sneak Peek: Acclaim! Opens Saturday

Colorful Jane Sauer fiber sculpture
15js Genesis, Jane Sauer, waxed linen and pigment, 11″ x 17″ x 8″, 2001. Photo by Tom Grotta.

Here are more images to pique your interest in our Spring “Art in the Barn” exhibition. Acclaim! Work by Award-Winning International Artists features more than 40 artists who have created art textiles, fiber sculpture and mixed media work from the 60s to the present. Each has received accolades, recognition, and awards. Among the works that will be included are several very rare and special works from the resale market.

Among these special works are Genesis, a colorful and whimsical work from 2001 by noted artist and gallerist Jane Sauer. The Smithsonian says that Sauer’s pieces “reflect her life as a mother to her children and as a productive, professional artist. [Her] closed baskets symbolize these different roles, evoking the sheltering environment of the womb and the ‘personal space’ that all artists require to create their work.”

Two Cynthia Schira textiles
1csh Nightfall, Cynthia Schira, cotton and linen with fabric backing, 28.5 x 28.5, 1979 and 2csh Spring Lyric, Cynthia Schira, cotton and linen with rod, 27″ x 26″, 1979

Another artist whose work we are excited to be including in Acclaim! is Cynthia Schira. Schira’s work often draws imagery from the notational codes, ciphers, and diagrams that visualize systems of knowledge in different disciplines and professions. The works in Acclaim!, Nightfall and Spring Lyric have that sense; they resemble notes jotted down in haste or using shorthand.

Warren Seelig stainless steel sculptures
5was Small Double Ended, Warren Seelig, nylon, stainless steel, 63″ x 33″ x 16.375; 6was Small White Wheel, Warren Seelig, nylon, stainless steel 62″ x 40″ x 12″, 1996. Photo by Tom Grotta.

New for browngrotta arts are also Warren Seelig’s works of metal and stone. Seelig has family ties to fiber milling and the textile industry and was exposed to both textiles and the textile manufacturing machinery. He received a BS from Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science, where he created his first woven works, then an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1974. Seelig moved from woven works to unique structural, fan-like works using mylar frames and an innovative double-weave technique. He then shifted to suspended spoke-and-axle pieces and wall-mounted shadow fields, like White Wheel and Small Double Endedand Stone Shadowfield which viewers will see in Acclaim! Seelig has been regularly commissioned to create installations for corporate offices and convention centers. Seelig teaches, curates, and writes on various subjects related to textile, fiber, and material studies. 

Gerhardt Knodel Jacquard weavings
1gkn Santa Cruz, Gerhardt Knodel, cotton twill tape painted and printed before weaving, Mylar, metallic gimp, linen, lined with cotton fabric, 24.75” x 57” x 1.5”, 1981. Photo by Tom Grotta.

Gerhardt Knodel is another artist new for browngrotta arts. Knodel has contributed to the evolution and identity of contemporary work in the fiber medium for more than four decades. For 25 years he led the graduate program in Fiber at Cranbrook Academy of Art, and subsequently was appointed Director, being awarded Director Emeritus in 2006. Knodel’s work with fiber includes installations, theater, architectural commissions, and the pictorial potential of weaving. In Acclaim! there are three works by Knodel each of which involves intricate patterning and interesting use of metallic threads. Santa Cruz features an image of the boardwalk in California; Jacquard Suite 7 and Jacquard Suite 10 interesting patterning.

29ddm Mourning Station #4, Dominic Di Mare, hawthorn, handmade paper, silk, bone, bird’s egg, feathers, gold and wood beads, 13″ x 7″ x 7″, 1981. Photo by Tom Grotta.

The works by Dominic Di Mare that is included in Acclaim! is particularly intriguing. It includes, The Mourners, a group of woven hangings from the early 60s. It also includes a work from 20 years later, Mourning Station #4, that features the artist’s characteristic assemblage of feathers, handmade paper, beads and woven silk, one of what the Smithsonian calls his, “enigmatic sculptures from handmade papers, polished hawthorne twigs, and feathers.”

Hope you can join us at Acclaim!

Location:
browngrotta arts
276 Ridgefield Road Wilton, CT 06897

Artist Reception and Opening: 
April 29, from 11am to 6 pm

Remaining Days:
Sunday, April 30th: 11AM to 6 PM (40 visitors/ hour)
Monday, May 1st – Saturday, May 6th: 10AM to 5PM (40 visitors/ hour)
Sunday, May 7th: 11AM to 6PM [Final Day] (40 visitors/ hour)

Protocols: 
Eventbrite reservations strongly encouraged • No narrow heels please (barn floors)

Reserve a spot:
Eventbrite

8ddm The Mourners, Dominic Di Mare, waxed linen, wood, (Back row from left to right: 48.5″ x 24″; 46″ x 24″; 50.5″ x 24″; 47″ x 24″) Front row from left to right: 49.5″ x 24″ ; 46.5″ x 24″; 48.5″ x 24″) 1962-63. Photo by Tom Grotta.

Exhibit News: Fiber Philadelphia 2012

This weekend marks the opening of Fiber Philadelphia is an international biennial and regional festival for innovative fiber/textile art.Pick up a copy of the FiberPhiladelphia directory, with all the venues listed (there’s even an app to help you get directions). You’ll see our 25th Anniversary ad in the Directory, featuring work by Ritzi Jacobi and Mary Merkel-Hess, and an ad for SOFA NY featuring a concrete basket by Klaus Titze and a much-appreciated congratulations to us. Among the Philadelphia exhibitions we hope to visit later this month: Distinguished Educators, at the Crane Arts Building: Grey Area, 1440 North American Street through April 12th which includes celebrates significant artist/mentors who have shaped the field:

WINTER GOLD, Adelea Akers, Linen, horsehair, paint & metal 30″ x 72″, 2011

Adela Akers, Lewis Knauss, Gerhardt Knodel, Gyongy Laky, Joan Livingstone, Rebecca Medel, Jason Pollen, Cynthia Schira, Warren Seelig, Deborah C. Warner, Carol Westfall, Pat Hickman, solo and in collaboration with the late Lillian Elliott; Andrea Donnelly: Binary, Sondra Sherman: Found Subjects at the Philadelphia Art Alliance, 251 South 18th Street, through April 21st; and Secret Garden, which includes work by Lenore Tawney, Mary Merkel-Hess, Ted Hallman, Sheila Hicks,
and Jim Hodges at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Perelman Building, Fairmount and Pennsylvania Avenues, through July.
Visit the FiberPhiladelphia website for complete details. http://www.fiberphiladelphia.org/