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Article

Chika Okeke-Agulu

(b Cairo, May 22, 1963).

American painter, sculptor, fibre and installation artist of Egyptian birth. Amer, one of the few young artists of African origin to gain prominence in the late 1990s international art scene, studied painting in France at the Villa Arson EPIAR, Nice (MFA, 1989), and the Institut des Hautes Etudes en Art Plastique, Paris (1991). She subsequently moved to New York. She is best known for her canvases in which paint and embroidery are combined to explore themes of love, desire, sexuality, and women’s identity in a patriarchal world. Amer’s use of Embroidery, historically regarded as a genteel female craft, to create images of women fulfilling their sexual desires without inhibition, recalls the provocations and strategies of 1970s Western feminist art. However, her work also reflects her alarm at the incremental curbing of women’s social and political freedoms in her native Egypt following the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, especially after the regime of Gamal Abdel Nasser ended in ...

Article

French, 20th century, male.

Born 26 June 1909, in Dijon; died 6 December 1996, in Paris.

Painter, collage artist, engraver, draughtsman. Wall decorations, designs for mosaics, stained glass windows, tapestries, stage costumes and sets.

A pupil at the École des Beaux-Arts in Lyons in 1930, Bertholle studied in Paris from 1932-1934, and subsequently attended classes run by the painter Roger Bissière at the Académie Ranson, where he met his friends and associates Manessier, Etienne-Martin, Le Moal and Véra Pagava. He was artistic director of the Gien porcelain factory from 1943-1957, and taught at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris from 1965-1980. He was a member of the Institut de France, a Chevalier of the Légion d'Honneur and a Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Initially an admirer of Puvis de Chavannes, whose work he had encountered at the city museum in Lyons, Bertholle later discovered Manet (at the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1932), and through the latter, Van Gogh and Renoir. Following his early, highly-coloured Expressionist period, Bertholle was greatly influenced by the Flemish fantasies of Breughel and Heironymus Bosch, and ultimately by the Surrealists - as may be seen in his painting of the ...

Article

Naomi Beckwith

(b Fulton, MO, Feb 4, 1959).

American sculptor and multimedia artist working in fibre, installation, video, and performance. The youngest of seven sons born into a central Missouri family, Cave demonstrated an early acumen with hand-made objects and throughout his career has created works out of texturally rich materials imbued with cultural meaning. Cave received his BFA (1982) from the Kansas City Art Institute, developing an interest in textiles and, after some graduate-level work at North Texas State University, received his MFA (1989) from the Cranbrook Academy of Art, renowned for their textile, fibre art, and design programmes. While working toward his art degrees, Cave simultaneously studied with the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, a company known for introducing African American folk traditions into the modern dance vocabulary. Cave moved to Chicago where he became chair of the Department of Fashion Design at the School of the Art Institute in 1980.

Working across the disciplines of sculpture, textile, dance, and cultural performance, Cave’s oeuvre is based on the human figure; he has produced wearable art as sculptures, arrangements of human and animal figurines as installations, and performance works. Cave’s signature works, the multi-sensory ‘...

Article

Denise Carvalho

(b Belo Horizonte, Oct 23, 1920; d Rio de Janeiro, April 25, 1988).

Brazilian painter, sculptor, interactive artist and art therapist. She was a cofounder in 1959 of the Neo-Concrete movement, whose members laid the foundation for much of Brazilian contemporary art. The Neo-Concretists broke with the rigidity of the rationalism of Concrete art and advocated a more sensorial, interactive art. Lygia Clark and her creative soul-mate, Hélio Oiticica, created participatory works that challenged not only longstanding artistic dogmas, but also the role of the art object itself, as well as the role of the artist, the spectator, and the art institution. Their most groundbreaking works required the viewer to be part of the artwork and thereby experience it sensorially, all of which made their work difficult to categorize. Clark came to see even her exhibitions at major art events as meaningless, and her emphasis on person-to-person dialogue eventually led her into art therapy. Without a therapeutic license, she devoted her last decades solely to treating patients with her own form of art therapy....

Article

Canadian, 20th–21st century, female.

Born 1937, in Marquette (Manitoba).

Sculptor, mixed-media artist. Fabric art, environmental art.

Aganetha Dyck is best known for her sculptural work that involves a long-term collaboration with bees. Dyck places ready-made items in beehives, often repeatedly, and the bees build honeycombs onto the surfaces of these objects. An early example is her series ...

Article

Joan Kee

[Kim Sooja; Kim Soo-ja; Kim Soo Ja]

(b Daegu, April 24, 1957).

Korean mixed-media artist, active also in the USA. Kim studied painting at Hongik University, Seoul, graduating in 1984. That same year she received a scholarship to study art at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. During the mid-1980s Kim became interested in employing commonly used Korean textiles in her work. Distinctively patterned and coloured, the textiles offered different formal possibilities, and early works featured various swathes cut and sewn together to form large, continuous surfaces. In 1992 Kim was awarded a residency as part of the International Studio Program at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in New York. Inspired by the objects collected in her studio, Kim began to use the figure of the bottari, wrapped bundles used in Korea for the easy transport of goods, in installations such as Deductive Object (1994). She also began to experiment with performance and interactive works. In Sewing Into Walking...

Article

Romanian, 20th century, female.

Born 1940, in Cluj.

Textile sculptor, installation artist, environmental artist. Designs for tapestries.

Conceptual Art.

Ana Lupas trained at the Ioan Andreesco Fine Arts Institute in Cluj, where she later taught. She has produced monumental tapestries for the students' hall in Cluj and for the History Museum in Iasi. She lives in Cluj. Her technique could be called 'free tapestry' and lends itself to environment-like installations. Ana Lupas has been involved in symposia and conferences on tapestry and has participated in several collective exhibitions in Romania including the 7th International Aesthetics Congress in Bucharest (...

Article

Călin Dan

(b Cluj-Napoca, 1940).

Romanian tapestry designer and installation artist. She studied tapestry design at the ‘Ion Andreescu’ Institute of Fine and Decorative Art in Cluj-Napoca, first exhibiting her work at the National Exhibition for Decorative Arts, Bucharest, in 1965. She evolved from a two-dimensional concept of tapestry towards an original attempt to work in a three-dimensional context. She was quickly recognized internationally as an innovative designer, whose suppleness of technique (passing from high warp to ikat, or the Oriental tassel technique) enabled her to move beyond the confines of conventional tapestry design to participate in installations and happenings. In her work the textile is set in opposition to hard elements, such as wood or stone, or unexpected ones, such as leather or fruit, forming only the ambient structure of an idea of a space. An organic and disquieting element appeared in her Flying Machines and Nests, small works that attempt a Dadaist effect by being absurd and aggressive. Lupas’s ecological concerns, which dominate much of her work, were first expressed in optimistic works made from wheat sheaves and by installations such as the one executed with the help of peasant women in a Transylvanian village, who unfolded on a hill huge rolls of white hand-woven fabric. In the 1970s and 1980s, however, she became more pessimistic about the future of mankind, expressing her more morbid attitude in photographs, videos, drawings and texts as well as further installations. The festive installation of bleached hand-woven fabric was repeated in an urban context, with tar-spread fabric and funerary symbols (Bucharest, ...

Article

Paula J. Birnbaum

(b Brooklyn, NY, April 30, 1943).

American conceptual artist. Reichek earned a BFA from Yale University and a BA from Brooklyn College, where she studied painting with Ad Reinhardt. Well versed in the traditions of modernist painting, Reichek began critiquing those traditions in the 1970s by making art using the vehicles of embroidery, knitting, and weaving. She then engaged in a range of large-scale installation projects that retool domestic media and formats to analyse the patriarchal and modernist assumptions of American culture. In her series of samplers, including Sampler (Kruger/Holzer) (1998; priv. col.), Reichek placed post-modern media-related art within a long history of alphabetic Samplers, a decorative form of needlework long practised by American and European women to demonstrate skill as well as exercise instructional aphorisms. Reichek’s samplers also strategically reference the rectilinear grid as structuring principle in abstract painting, revealing the artist’s interest in recurring patterns of representation of both image and text....

Article

Andrew Cross

revised by Mary Chou

(b London Aug 9, 1962).

British sculptor, painter and installation artist. Born to Nigerian parents, he grew up in Nigeria before returning to England to study Fine Art in London at Byam Shaw School of Art and Goldsmiths’ College where he completed his MFA. Shonibare’s West African heritage has been at the heart of his work since he started exhibiting in 1988, when he began using ‘Dutch-wax’ dyed fabrics, commonly found in Western Africa, both for wall-mounted works (as pseudo paintings) and for sculpted figures. Generally perceived as ‘authentic’African cloth, the tradition of Batik originated in Indonesia, and was appropriated by the Dutch who colonized the country. Manufactured in Holland and Britain, the cloth was then shipped to West Africa where it became the dress of the working class in nations such as Nigeria. Shonibare used the material as a way of deconstructing the more complex histories that determine these and other images of ethnicity. As such, he has been described as a ‘post-cultural hybrid’ or the ‘quintessential postcolonial artist’ by critics as well as the artist himself....