Grethe Wittrock

April 28 - May 13
Opening Reception: Thursday April 27, 2017 6-8 PM

Later this month at the opening of the Nordic Currents exhibition at Tenri Cultural Institute, artist Grethe Wittrock will show sculptural installations, consisting of bird-like constructions made by using a variety of materials. Employing used ships' sails, Grethe's wish is to illustrate the pristine beauty of the Arctic landscape and intends to make the viewer reflect on the importance of protecting its unique ecosystem.

"Like a face gets wrinkled over time, the sails are full of lines, wrinkles and scars. In fact, the huge weather-beaten sails tell me stories that I do not find in new fabric. They reveal their distinct histories, each wrinkle marking a storied and windswept past. I then use these stories to guide me in cutting, painting and shaping the sails to resemble the striking coolness of Arctic nature" states Grethe.

She adds"as Greenland is a part of my native country Denmark, the fragility of the Arctic ecosystem is of great personal concern to me"

During her recent residency at the Halcyon Arts Lab Studio Program in Washington D.C., she's been working to show how used materials and discarded items can display the unrivaled beauty of the Arctic.

Rebecca A. T. Stevens, Consulting Curator of Contemporary Textiles at The George Washington University Textile Museum writes about Grethe Wittrock in her new catalog:

"Grethe Wittrock is a "Nordic Cool" artist - inventive and audacious yet balanced and restrained. Her unique commentary on our fragile eco-system is rooted in her Danish heritage leavened with experiences from her global travels. Blue is her color of choice, and in pursuit of deeper knowledge of blue, Wittrock studied with master dyer Shihoko Fukumoto in Kyoto, Japan. Wittrock's artwork combines eye-catching originality and superb technical skill. She uses discarded weather beaten sails, which have no history in the art world, to comment on aging and the interconnectedness of sea, sky, land, and the creatures that inhabit those places. She says those sails have stories to tell and so does she.

Textiles have been her primary medium for telling those stories. But, of late, she has begun to incorporate charred wood in her work as she explores the alterations of textures to probe the shifting place of human society in our rapidly changing world. Grethe Wittrock's work is always thought provoking and on the cutting-edge of where textile art is going"

Grethe Wittrock is one of Denmark's most talented and internationally renowned fiber artists. She studied printmaking at Kyoto Seika University, College of Fine Art in Japan and holds a graduate degree from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design.

She is a Halcyon Arts Lab Studio Program Fellow in Washington DC, where she has been living since January 2015. Her work has been exhibited throughout the world and she has won numerous international awards, including multiple grants from the Danish Art Foundation. Grethe focuses on sustainability issues, creating projects which involves wood and textiles as mediums, as well as combining ancient Japanese techniques with modern Nordic design practices.

The Danish Art Foundation, The Halcyon Arts Lab Studio Program in Washington DC and The Danish Art Workshops in Copenhagen have made Nordic Currents possible through their generous support and Residencies.

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