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

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Art for the Audience: Wayne Levin, Margo Ray, Casey Neumann, Jacqueline Rush Lee and Madeleine Söder at TCM First Hawaiian Center

Populism has its perks. The Contemporary Museum's Inger Tully has chosen a savvy approach to curating her downtown First Hawaiian gallery space in recent exhibitions: bifurcating the space into two independent spheres. Downstairs, she touts viewer-friendly, easily accessible works like the currently exhibited (and widely applauded) series of Papahānaumokuākea photographs by Wayne Levin. Upstairs, she curates to a slightly more curious crowd with works that sometimes take a bit longer to unfold for the viewer.

Currently on view upstairs is a selection of works by four female artists: Margo Ray, Casey Neumann, Jacqueline Rush Lee and Madeleine Söder. Although this is not an exhibit about gender per se, certain affinities do appear between the grouping, including an emphasis on domestic or found materials, an exploration of the line, and a careful attention to the craftsmanship of the object.

Margo Ray, Containment Landscape #13, Wiliwili with Biplane (2010)

Ray creates bright, playful compositions on canvas utilizing paint, cut paper, and photo digital collage. Her images draw heavily from her own childhood and home in Waimea, on the Big Island. Although the constructed relationship between man-made structures and the vibrantly depicted natural world might at first glace suggest commentary on the encroaching economy of real estate development, the carefully spaced compositions and playful tones keep Ray's works from ever appearing too critical.

Jacqueline Rush Lee Loren, Ipsum II: From the Summer Reading Series (2010)

Ray's canvases, and one large free-standing sculpture take up the majority of the upstairs exhibition space, with Casey Neumann, Jacqueline Rush Lee and Madeleine Söder being exiled to the rear hallway. However, this is where Tully hides the most interesting work of the exhibition: Söder's carefully crafted forms in printed silk organza hang delicately and twist in the drafts. Neumann's prints walk the fine line between organic and architectural. And Lee's repurposed book forms continue to serve as some of the more thoughtful work being created on Oahu.

Act quickly to see the last bit of this exhibit! The exhibitions runs July 2, 2010 through October 15, 2010.

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