Archive for Kay Sekimachi

Art into Type: Books We Talked Up in 2010

Posted in Books with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 6, 2011 by arttextstyle

Last year saw several books published that we recommended to clients and purchased for family and friends.  Among these were Handcrafted Modern: At Home with Mid-century Designers by Leslie Williamson, a collection of photographs of beautiful, iconic, and undiscovered mid-century interiors, including the homes of Russel Wright, George Nakashima, Harry Bertoia, Charles and Ray Eames, and Eva Zeisel, among others. Williamson’s photographs show these creative homes as they were lived in by their designers: Walter Gropius’ historic Bauhaus home in Massachusetts; Albert Frey’s floating modernist aerie on a Palm Springs rock outcropping; and Wharton Esherick’s completely handmade Pennsylvania house, from the organic hand-carved staircase to the iconic furniture.

Another favorite volume of ours was 3-D Typography. We added “text” to the title of this blog so that we could cover two things we are passionate about: art that involves text and interesting books.  3-D Typography, which includes work by Gyöngy Laky and dozens of other artists who have created lettering out of everything from shopping carts and toilet paper to toothpaste and pinched flesh, fits both criteria.  The book’s creation was serendipitous.  The authors, Jeanne Abbink and Emily CM Anderson looked at three-dimensional type in the course on a redesign of American Craft magazine in 2007. There’s a 3D Typography Book blog, too at: http://www.3dtypographybook.com.  If you enjoy the book as much as we have, check out the blog, including Bavarian pretzel alphabet.

Long overdue was the first comprehensive survey of modern craft in the United States, Makers: A History of American Studio Craft, by Janet Koplos and Bruce Metcalf.  Makers follows the development of studio craft–objects in fiber, clay, glass, wood, and metal–from its roots in 19th-century reform movements to the rich diversity of expression at the end of the 20th century. More than 400 illustrations — including two photographs by Tom — complement this chronological exploration of the American craft tradition. Keeping as their main focus the objects and the makers — including Lenore Tawney, Ed Rossbach, Kay Sekimachi, Katherine Westphal, François Grossen, Lia Cook, Warren Seelig, Arturo Sandoval, Gyöngy Laky, Dorothy Gill Barnes, Clare Zeisler, Anni Albers, Lillian Elliott, Helena Hernmarck, Norma Minkowitz and Trude Guermonprez — the authors offer a detailed analysis of major works and discuss education, institutional support and the philosophical underpinnings of craft.

Another very special volume from 2010 is Written Weed, by Marian Bijlenga, published by Hein Elferink. This exquisite book includes 111 paste-ups / collages by the artist made of dried leaves, grasses and seeds. The images are like handwriting, Chinese characters, the letters of an alphabet. In order to emphasize the graphic quality of these works, the book is published in black/white. Only 400 copies were produced; each is numbered and signed. You can order it from browngrotta arts for $185.00

Though it was written in 2009, I didn’t discover The Bird Catcher, by Laura Jacobs, until last year. I loved it and ordered copies for several friends.  It’s a tender story of grief and healing in the big city.  But it was the detailed description of the protagonist’s window displays for a high-end department store and the evolution of her closest friend’s craft gallery — including a display of elegantly crafted goblets — that I most appreciated.

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Exhibit News: Contained Excitement – Pleasures of the Void

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on December 19, 2010 by arttextstyle

Jiro Yonezawa, Nancy Moore Bess, Hisako Sekijima at Cavin-Morris Gallery Exhibit photo courtesy of Cavin-Morris Gallery

Through January 22, 2011, the Cavin-Morris Gallery in New York is exhibiting a remarkable grouping of eclectic  cross-cultural, multi-genre objects.  The exhibition, entitled, Contained Excitement – Pleasures of the Void, includes work  by several artists represented by browngrotta arts,  including Dorothy Gill Barnes, Nancy Moore Bess, Lizzy Farey, Mutsumi Iwasaki, Jennifer Falck Linssen, Hisako Sekijima, Kay Sekimachi, Jiro Yonezawa and Masako Yoshida, deftly combined with ceramics, boxes, bowls, books and furniture and more.

Hisako Sekijima and Jiro Yonezawa at Cavin-Morris Gallery Exhibit photo courtesy of Cavin-Morris Gallery

Mutsumi Iwasaki at Cavin-Morris Gallery Exhibit photo courtesy of Cavin-Morris Gallery

photo courtesy of Cavin-Morris Gallery

photo courtesy of Cavin-Morris Gallery

The exhibition focuses on the way the artists control the sensual expectations of space in an object, which may or may not take leave of its utilitarian purpose. The exhibition features Art Brut, ancient and contemporary ceramics, New Basketry, and other media. Included are Chinese ceramic reliquaries for keeping wrapped sutr as, the transformation of Native American Sweetgrass into deconstructions of molecular perfection in Debora Muhl’s work; the nervous and dark recycling in the forms made by Jerry Bleem and John Garrett; the beckoning toward initiatory revelation in Susan Kavicky and Lissa Hunter; the brooding presence in the lithops-like ceramic sculptures of Kenji Gomi; the Zen poems inscribed in the early ceramics of the Buddhist nun Rengetsu; hidden books of healing and magic from the tribal peoples in Southern China; the incredible repression and resultant freedom in the ceramics boxes of Shuji Ikeda where the clay is woven like bamboo; the opening of soul to the elements of wind and light in the sweeping bamboo constructions of Charissa Brock met by the dark compression of clay into Place and Mortality in the ceramics of Tim Rowan; the erotic beckoning of release through restraint and role-play in the bondage bed made by Sullivan Walsh; the New Baskets of JoAnne Russo and Nancy Moore Bess; and the ancient feminism of the ceramics of Avital Sheffer. A special inclusion will be an installation of Choson-period tea bowls from Korea and two intricate and rare woven rattan shields from early Kongo.

Also included are: Emogayu,  Jill Bonovitz, Polly Jacobs Giacchina, Deirdre Hawthorne, Mei-Ling Hom, Kentaro Kawabata, Gerri Johnson-McMillin,  Shozo Michikawa, Drew Nichols, Akira Satake, Hyungsub Shin, Polly Adams Sutton, Akiko Tanaka, Tyrome Tripoli, and Shannon Weber. The Gallery is at 210 Eleventh Avenue, Suite 201, between 24th and 25th, For more information contact: Shari Cavin, Randall Morris, or Mariko Tanaka: 212-226-3768 or email: mtanaka@cavinmorris.comwww.cavinmorris.com.

Books Make Great Gifts, Part I Artist Recommendations

Posted in Books with tags , , , , , on December 19, 2009 by arttextstyle

My day job is in publishing, and thanks to browngrotta arts’ catalog publishing program, my night job is too. We’ve got books and papers everywhere. My rules for 2010: No pile of papers, books or magazines may grow taller than two feet and there may not be more than six piles (that are mine) in the house at one time. That’s 12 feet of reading for next year. You’d think that would be enough, but maybe not. So, I asked artists whose work browngrotta arts represents for book recommendations. Specifically: “Is there a book that has had a particular influence on your work or decision to pursue art as a career?” Here’s the first installment of their thoughtful replies: Gyöngy Laky: It is difficult for me to think of a particular book that launched me into what I am doing today…there have been many and it was long ago that I set out on this path in art! But, there is one general art history book that I bought as a young person when I spent a year studying art and French in Paris in 1963-64! And, funny enough… it was titled The Loom of Art by Germain Bazin, curator of the Louvre (Simon Schuster, NY, 1962) probably way out of print! The book is beautiful and I have it and love it still. More recently my friend, who is a builder, designer, wood collector extraordinaire, Paul Discoe, put out a book on his work, Zen Architecture: The Building Process as Practice (with Alexandra Quinn, Gibbs Smith, 2008). It is a wonderful book. He collects street trees and mills them and uses them in his work so he is dear to my heart. Another book, for children, but adults love it too is If… (Getty Trust Publications : J. Paul Getty Museum) IF (Getty Publications; J. Paul Getty Museum; First Edition edition 1995) by another artist friend of mine, Sarah Perry. And, of course, I love and am inspired by Martin Puryear (The Museum of Modern Art, New York 2007) by John Elderfield, Elizabeth Reede, Richard Powell, Michael Auping, Martin Puryear. Scott Rothstein: Here is one I love: Lucie Rie by Tony Birks (Marston House 1994). I feel this book documents her work very well. I am always amazed at the “drawing” she could do with glaze. Kay Sekimachi: Yes, there is a book. Anni Albers: On Designing (Wesleyan 1971). It was my weaving “Bible”. In fact everything she wrote makes so much sense to me. Nancy Koenigsberg: I have worked as an artist – painter, rug designer, knitter – for many years, but when I read Beyond Craft: The Art Fabric: Mainstream by Mildred Constantine/Jack Larsen (Van Nostrand Reinhold 1972) it just turned my ideas and work upside down. I saw what was possible with the materials I was using and what else was out there. That book opened up a whole new world to me. Mary Merkel-Hess: Your question has set me thinking about exactly why I did choose art as a career. I think, actually, the desire originated in the ethnographic collection of the Milwaukee Public Museum where I whiled away hours between classes looking at objects from South America, Africa and Europe. But, back to your question. A book that is much on my mind just recently is The Unknown Craftsman: A Japanese Insight into Beauty by Soetsu Yanagi (Kodansha International, Revised edition, 1990). One of my first trips after arriving in Tokyo three weeks ago was to the Mingeikan, Yanagi’s museum and home. It was a delight, after so many years, to see some of the work pictured in the book. Yanagi’s theory that hard, repetitive practice resulted eventually in the disengagement of self and led to work of merit produced with ease was an inspiration to me. I was a young grad student when I first read the book and at the time every day was a struggle. Kate Hunt: The Savage Mind (Nature of Human Society) by Claude Levi-Strauss (University Of Chicago Press, 1968). The introduction made me think about the role of an artist and about materials.

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