Neha Puri Dhir / Transition
Continuing its 32-year legacy of representing and exhibiting works devoted to contemporary fiber arts, browngrotta arts presents this year’s “Art in the Barn” multimedia group show Art + Identity: an International View, in Wilton, Connecticut, from April 27 – May 5, 2019. The exhibition will feature more than 50 international artists whose works are included in major museum collections around the world.
With a representation of artists reflecting five continents, the exhibition will take an expansive survey of identity and art in a global world. The identity that each artist explores may be personal, political, social or cultural; it may reflect the influence of a hometown, country of birth or adoption, a place visited, or a region whose art has made an impression, an artistic or scientific movement or a broader focus on the effects globalization. Works by artists from, or influenced by, North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and the UK will create an intriguing dialogue about the influence of culture, geography and personal experience and spur questions about the universality of art.
Lia Cook, Data Dots Emotions Intensity / Keiji Nio, Photo Tom Grotta, courtesy of browngrotta arts
Marianne Kemp / Vibrant Conversation
The range of works will include ceramic vessels, woodblock prints, three-dimensional sculptures made of paper, wood jute, wax linen, steel and lead, and basket forms of bark and twigs, ginger and bamboo, willow and cedar. A number of artists have created wall works of linen, viscose, steel, cotton, horsehair, coconut fibers and in one case, silk, from silkworm raised by the artists. The techniques are as varied as the materials – weaving, plaiting, knotting, molding, ikat, tying, bundling, crochet, Kagami and photography.
“The artists we have invited to Art + Identity have taken a wide-ranging approach to the exhibition’s theme,” says Tom Grotta, co-curator of browngrotta arts. “We are delighted by the diversity and the accomplishment of the works that will be included.” Among the artists participating will be Gudrun Pagter of Denmark, whose work is reflective of a serene and abstract Scandinavian sensibility – “I get inspirations from many places in the world, but the Nordic ‘cool’ sensitivity is the foundation for everything I’m dealing with. The pictograms I use are sober and concrete and reflects Scandinavian temperament and philosophy of life.”
Christine Joy, Boat Becoming River / Photo Tom Grotta, courtesy of browngrotta arts
Mary Giles, Lead Relief / Photo Tom Grotta, courtesy of browngrotta arts
Kiyomi Iwata, Fungus Three / Photo Tom Grotta, courtesy of browngrotta arts
Mary Merkel-Hess is inspired by the prairie of her native Midwest. Her work, Last Light, was inspired by a line from Willa Cather, “the whole prairie was like the bush that burned with fire and was not consumed.” For other artists, that sense of place may be broader, transcending boundaries and reflecting effects of increased exchange among artists. Rachel Max from the UK merges multiple influences. “I’ve been hugely inspired by Japanese basketry,” she says. “The material I use is imported from Indonesia and the technique is torchon lace, which I first saw used on a Scandinavian basket.” US artist, Norma Minkowitz’s work, The Path, speaks to the universal – “the path we each take regardless of who we are or where we began.” She uses camouflage to suggest the act of hiding to avoid the inevitable end of the path. Nnenna Okore, who grew up and studied in Nigeria with El Anatsui, uses ordinary materials, repetitive processes, and varying textures to make references to everyday Nigerian practices and cultural objects. Ashioke, her work in Art + Identity, is made of multiple ceramic pieces, individually sewn into hessian burlap. It derives its form and name from the popular Yoruba textile known as Aso oke. Kyoko Kumai of Japan weaves, sew, knits and twists metallic fibers, spun steel, and titanium, to celebrate the myriad Gods she feels in Japanese nature. A relentless innovator, Lia Cook explores identity as perceived by others. To create Data Dots Emotional Intensity, the tapestry that will be included in Art + Identity, Cook conducted an informal survey of viewers of a large childhood photo of herself and weaving of the same image, asking which was more emotionally affecting. She wove the survey results – represented by dots of varying sizes and colors – into her work. The woven image won, telling us about ourselves and how we experience art and image.
Art + Identity: an International View is part of browngrotta’s “Art in the Barn” series – an annual 10-day exhibition held in a barn built in 1895 and expanded and contemporized by architect David Ling. Over 3500-square feet of space with a viewing vista of 55’ allows for experiencing works that reflect complex illusionary space.
Tamiko Kawata / Photo Tom Grotta, courtesy of browngrotta arts
Wendy Wahl, Honey and Hive / Photo Tom Grotta, courtesy of browngrotta arts
Lewis Kanuss / Photo Tom Grotta, courtesy of browngrotta arts
Adela Akers (US), Polly Barton (US), Michelene Beauchemin (Canada), Nancy Moore Bess (US), Marian Bijlenga (the Netherlands), Birgit Birkkjaer (Denmark), Lia Cook (US), Wlodzimierz Cygan (Poland), Neha Pura Dhir (India), Lizzie Farey (UK), Paul Furneaux (UK), Mary Giles (US), Susie Gillespie (UK), Agneta Hobin (Finland), Kazue Honma (Japan), Kiyomi Iwata (Japan), Peter and Ritzi Jacobi (Romania/Germany), Stéphanie Jacques (Belgium), Tim Johnson (UK), Christine Joy (US), Tamiko Kawata (US), Marianne Kemp (Netherlands), Anda Klancic (Slovenia), Lewis Knauss (US), Nancy Koenigsberg (US), Yasuhisa Kohyama (Japan), Irina Kolnesikova (Russia/Germany), Markku Kosonen (Finland), Lila Kulka (Poland), Kyoko Kumai (Japan), Gyöngy Laky (US), Sue Lawty (UK), Jennifer Falck-Linssen (US), Federica Luzzi (Italy), Rachel Max (UK), John McQueen (US), Mary Merkel-Hess (US), Norma Minkowitz (US), Judy Mulford (US), Nnenna Okore (Australia/Nigeria/US), Gudrun Pagter (Denmark), Eduardo Portillo & Mariá Eugenia Dávila (Venezuela), Lija Rage (Latvia), Ed Rossbach (US), Heidrun Schimmel (Germany), Toshio Sekiji (Kapan), Brigitte Bouquin Selles (France), Naoko Serino (Japan), Sylvia Seventy (US), Jin-Sook So (Korea), Aleksandra Stoyanov (Russia/Israel), Polly Sutton (US), Chiyoko Tanaka (Japan), Hideho Tanaka (Japan), Eva Vargo (Sweden), Ulla-Maija Vikman (Finland), Wendy Wahl (US), Gizella Warburton (UK), Katherine Westphal (US), Merja Winquist (Finland), Jiro Yonezawa (Japan), Carolina Yrarrázaval (Chile).