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Exploring Contemporary Asian Art

This March, browngrotta arts, Wilton, Connecticut, presents An Unexpected Approach: Exploring Asian Contemporary Art, an online exhibition featuring 21 accomplished artists from Japan, Korea and the US whose work reflects a contemporary Asian sensibility.

Each Spring, Tom and Rhonda Brown open their private home – a two-story barn built in 1895 expanded and contemporized by architect David Ling in 2000 – for “Art in the Barn”, a unique annual salon-style exhibition for 10 days. The  3500+ square foot space is airy with a viewing vista of 55’ that allows for experiencing works that reflect complex illusionary space. The 21’  high ceilings permit the installation of tall sculptures and two free-standing walls enable dramatically shaped fiber structures best hung off the wall. The living environment also grants the artwork to be shown in situ.

Select works of ceramic, textile, basketry and sculpture that each reflect an Asian sensibility.

The artists in this exhibition, including Jiro Yonezawa, Yasuhisa Kohyama, Nancy Moore Bess and Jin-Sook So, have an understanding of traditional processes and aesthetics, but apply this understanding in a contemporary manner. Conventional Asian materials and/or techniques are featured, but used in unconventional ways.

Kiyomi Iwata, for example, who has lived in the US for many years, explores the boundaries of East and West using silk organza metal. She creates sculptures that combine traditional Japanese aesthetics — organza boxes with kimono references – in minimalist grids, forms common in contemporary Western art. Chiyoko Tanaka, who lives on the outskirts of Kyoto, weaves fabric on a traditional obi loom, then distresses it with brick and mud or clay. By grinding her newly woven cloth with earth, she exposes that original warp, unveiling the essence of the fabric. She says of her deconstructions, “I feel that my woven work is about time and the human condition.”

Jin-Sook So’s work is informed by time spent in Korea, Sweden and Japan. So uses transparent steel mesh cloth, folded, stitched, painted and electroplated to create shimmering objects for the wall or tabletop. The past and present are referenced in So’s work in ways that are strikingly modern and original. She has used old Korean schoolbook pages to create collage and steel mesh to create contemporary pojagi and to re-envision common objects — chairs, boxes and bowls.

Kyoko Kumai, subject of a solo show at the Museum of Modern Art, also works in steel, using steel threads to weave or spin strikingly contemporary clouds of steel. Jiro Yonezawa has received numerous awards for his bamboo vessels and sculpture. Formally trained in Beppu, Japan, Jonezawa then moved to the US, and when he did so, the lacquered twill-patterned form associated with Beppu was transformed by the artist into sensuous sculptural vessels, formal yet more freely formed.

To see each individual work in the exhibition and learn more about the artists.

The complete list of artists participating in this exhibition is:

Nancy Moore Bess, Yeonsoon Chang, Mutsumi Iwasaki, Kiyomi Iwata, Glenn Kaufman, Naomi Kobayashi, Yasuhisa Kohyama, Kyoko Kumai, Keiji Nio, Hisako Sekijima, Naoko Serino, Hirouki Shindo, Jin-Sook So, Noriko Takamiya, Chiyoko Tanaka, Hideho Tanaka, Tsuruko Tanikawa, Jun Tomita, Jiro Yonezawa, Masako Yoshida, Shin Young-Ok

Browngrotta arts represents the work of more than 100 international contemporary textile and fiber artists. The firm has published 48 art catalogs and placed art work in dozens of private and corporate collections in the US and abroad, as well as in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Arts and Design, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Museum.

For additional information visit browngrotta.com.

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