A blog of art happenings in and around Honolulu, Hawai'i

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Art Lunch with Aaron Padilla at HiSAM

Artist Aaron Padilla, Vice President of the Hawai'i Craftsmen and Assistant Curator for Education at the Honolulu Academy of Arts, will discuss his current body of work this Tuesday, March 31, from noon to 1pm at the Hawai‘i State Art Museum. Padilla's work can be found in the collection of the Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts and in private collections in the United States, England, and Japan. His work can also currently be seen at Town restaurant in Kaimuki, as part of their art@town series curated by Natalie Aczon.

Hawaii Craftsmen Annual Juried Exhibition

The lunchtime lecture series is an ongoing program of public art talks on the last Tuesday of the month, sponsored by the Hawai'i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts. More information about this lecture as well as other HSFCA programming can be found in their monthly Enews.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Apple for the Teacher: Noreen Naughton's Clan at Koa Gallery

The degree to which local artists draw inspiration from the natural topography of our Hawaiian surroundings can prove to be either a strength or a weakness depending on execution. When a strength, artists may utilize the localized culture and history of Hawaii as a point of influence for their innovative artistic projects. Or perhaps, as juror Laura Hoptman of Artists of Hawaii recently suggested, the strength can come from a distinctly Hawaiian palette of light and color. When a weakness, local artists may become stuck in ruts of obvious or derivative description of the environment and culture without challenging traditional modes of representation or adding their own perspective to the work.

At the Koa Gallery at Kapiolani Community College, the exhibit Sharing the Knowledge showcases professor emeritus Noreen Naughton and five of her former students, all now professional artists. These six case studies demonstrate an example of artists working in similar modes to utilize a combination of figuration and abstraction to attempt to describe the world around them.

Noreen Naughton, Forest and Window, 2009

Naughton's works seem heavily influenced by the loose-brushed abstract expressionism of New York in the 1950s through 60s. She reinterprets that abstraction onto a distinctly local landscape, utilizing rapid strokes of pigmentation to gesture at the scene rather than describing it.

Atsumi Yamamoto, Bathers #6, 2004

Naughton's students take her propensity for oil painting to different ends. Atsumi Yamamoto's appealing Bathers series makes use of sunny, Wayne Thiebaud-like coloration and brushwork to depict a day at the beach. Karen Lee's linear abstractions combine unlikely imagery into dream-like canvases. Mari Sakamoto's SimCity-like works on canvas and paper play with scale and perspective to comment on the relationship between man and nature, with graphic repetition.

Mari Sakamoto, Under the Tree #1, 2009

Taken together, the works demonstrate the long-lasting influence of a teacher on a generation of students. Sharing the Knowledge features artists Noreen Naughton, Chris Lan Hui Chou, Karen Lee, Mari Sakamoto, Atsumi Yamamoto and Reuben Young. The exhibit was on display at Koa Gallery at Kapiolani Community College from February 18 through March 14, 2009.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Art Lecture with Patrick Nagatani at UH Manoa

Photographer Patrick Nagatani will be speaking at UH Manoa this Wednesday as part of their Intersections visiting artists and scholars program. New Mexico-based Nagatni is known for his intricately-constructed photo tableaux. His work has recently been featured in one-person exhibitions at The Albuquerque Museum; the California Museum of Photography, University of California, Riverside; CEPA Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Isla Center for the Arts at the University of Guam, Mangilao; and at the Royal Photographic Society, Bath, England.

Image courtesy of Andrew Smith Gallery

Nagatani will speak on Wednesday, March 11, at 6pm at the UH Manoa Art Building Auditorium. For more information on Intersections, contact current Intersections director Jaimey Hamilton at jaimeyh@hawaii.edu.

Identity Politics: Humor and Gesture in the Making of Self

Dürer did it with religious aspirations, Van Gogh did it with psychological strain, and some people even say that Leonardo did it with the Mona Lisa: Self portraiture is a sort of rite of passage for artists. At the HPU Art Gallery this winter, two emerging artists explore concepts of self through a series of works. The dual-billed show, featuring Rudiments by Mark Fujishige and Vanity by Mat Kubo, utilizes graphic rendering of the artists' own visages to address issues of identity.

Mat Kubo, Article 7

Kubo has culled images from 15 years of old snapshots and re-worked them into squares of baltic birch plywood. These cut-outs form a sort of detailed stencil bearing his image. The strength of the exhibit comes in its numbers. Lining the entry foyer of HPU's Kaneohe campus, the pieces in Vanity form an investigation of Kubo's various physical permutations over the years.

Installation view of Mat Kubo, Vanity

Kubo's work is injected with his trademark tongue-and-cheek humor through the choice of title. But while self-portraiture may provide artist with a cheap, readily-available subject, and even perhaps an outlet for certain artists' self-adorations, it is not without its own complexities. To undergo a series of self portraits is to embark upon a mandatory time of self reflection. For Kubo, that reflection is one of assimilation. The memories of the past become white-washed, devoid of color or depth and engulfed in a plywood sameness. The stencils are outlines of history, pointing to a prior era but remaining removed from the intricacies of that snapshot in time.

Mark Fujishige, Untitled

Mark Fujishige's self portraiture takes a very different tact. Utilizing intricately layered line upon paper, Fujishige builds images through swirling ink pattern. The method of layers of line does a good job on conveying depth of surface while simultaneously doing the more important work of marking the artist's movements onto paper. Unlike Kubo's gestures towards past memories, Fujishige's Rudiments are all about the present, and the act of creation.

Mark Fujishige, Flexibility

The gesture towards creation is made explicit in Fujishige's Flexibility, in which hands reach out to touch each other. The work is a self-portrait on multiple levels. More than just describing Fujishige's exterior image, it records his act of creation through the labored use of intricately drawn lines. The work has become residue and record for Fujishige's working process and state as an artist.

Rudiments and Vanity were on display at the HPU Art Gallery from January 25 through March 6, 2009. Mat Kubo will also be featured in the Contemporary Museum's upcoming exhibit 20 Going On 21, to open March 19.