Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Visualizing Green Exhibition

On Friday, August 26 the Hui hosted a lively opening reception for its Visualizing Green exhibition, attended by 100+ members of Maui’s devoted arts community sponsored by Green Building LLC. As the sun set on Kaluanui, exhibiting artists, friends, family, and Hui members surveyed the gallery, enjoyed potluck dishes and wine, and spilled out onto the lawn to socialize and take in the view.

For this themed exhibition, artists were challenged to investigate and creatively interpret the many ways in which “green” appears in our world, in any medium. Whether inspired by nature, the environmental movement, the emotions this color provokes, or any other inspiration, artists were encouraged to develop and express an authentic vision of what “green” means to them. Visualizing Green includes works that delve deep into creativity, engage the viewer in a thoughtful way, offer new insight, and demonstrate the profound importance and diversity of this omnipresent hue.

33 works were selected by juror Stephen Freedman, a sculptor from the Big Island who has previously taught ceramics and sculpture at Hui No‘eau. We were pleased to welcome him back to take part in jurying a passionately crafted and diverse group of works from both local and mainland artists.

Visualizing Green will be on view during the entirety of world-renowned sculptor Patrick Dougherty’s September 2011 artist residency at Hui No‘eau. During this time, we anticipate a sharp visitor increase as he works with hundreds of community members to design and build a monumental “Stickwork” sculpture on the Hui grounds.

Visualizing Green Exhibition 2011: August 27 – November 12
Gallery Hours: Monday-Saturday, 10:00am-4:00pm, FREE

Please visit huinoeau.com for more details, or contact Exhibitions Coordinator Rachel Edelman at (808) 572-6560 x26 with questions. The gallery, solarium, grounds and studios are available to rent for events, parties, meetings or your unique function during this exciting event — call the reception desk at 572-6560 to inquire.

The Hui’s next open call to artists will receive work on December 28, 2011 for next year’s Annual Juried Exhibition, on view from January 7 — February 19, 2012 (including Maui Open Studios 2012 upcountry weekend).

About the Juror
Stephen Freedman is an internationally accomplished ceramicist whose career has spanned four decades, creating and exhibiting sculpture for galleries, public commissions and solo museum exhibitions in the United States, Australia and Asia. Born in South Africa, he migrated to the Big Island of Hawai‘i in 1992 where he has been the proprietor of idspace, an alternative gallery, and co-creator of HI Art Magazine, an online arts publication, for the past decade. In partnership with the Volcano Art Center he has presented the “Faces of Hawaii” statewide photo portrait competition annually since 2008. Stephen has curated numerous exhibitions, published several books and written extensively on the arts for various publications. His work is represented in such collections as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Getty Museum, the American Craft Museum and the Art Institute of Boston. Visit www.stephenfreedman.com for more details.


Excerpts from the Juror’s Statement:
"Passing through the… room of unexpectedly high quality works, each passionately crafted to address a ubiquitous theme, I selected… pieces which leapt out at me in some compellingly personal way. Inundated in a sea of “green” over the span of just a few hours I waded through two hundred and fourteen personal expressions of artists, created with detailed attention over months of their lives! My greatest concern is always to avoid missing some great work. When an artwork is viewed, two people are judged — the creator and the viewer. Within the confines of theme and the biases of a juror, an artist’s heartfelt expression is offered in the context of a cacophony of competing works. For those of you certain I missed a gem when I failed to select your work, you are very likely correct. Thank you all for sharing your visions with me." —Stephen Freedman

Image: Juror's Choice "I'm so Green" (detail) by Gabrielle Anderman

Friday, August 26, 2011

Turnips & Technology: Hui No’eau Solo Artist Exhibition Review By Lily Diamond

What do turnips and high tech have in common? Hui No’eau’s June-July 2011 Solo Artist Exhibition reveals an interstitial space between the two, given meaning by humanity, culture, and consumerism. Scott Groeniger’s sparse yet eloquent digiscapes in “Welcome to the New Lifestyle” are the perfect high note to Sidney Yee and Kevin Omuro’s earthy exploration, “I TURNED TO THE TURNIP.” While the two exhibits initially seem an odd pair—the country turnips bumping up against the digital artistry of the ├╝ber modern—their contrast is ultimately fruitful.

Groeniger’s world is one of numbers, industry, technology, cartoon faces, smoke stacks, fighter jets, fast food, and the crumbling emblems of Chinese culture. Archival pigment prints and collages—composites of past and future set on an insistently digitized canvas—question the decaying remnants of a societal structure that may or may not be sustainable. Groeniger demands that we pay attention, answer to the hard numbers of our consumption (in the “Take Notice of Safe” series and “Broken Grid”), and the endless tickertape of money, gas, war, religion, and relationship (“40-60#4” series). Even the empty space between planes, smoke stacks, and buddhas feels claustrophobic, burdened by a longing for answers or an end to the ongoing trail of numbers that leads us, however messily, into the melee of global consciousness.

“The Ping Yao Continuum” video and sound installation perpetuates Groeniger’s incisive portrayal of cultural behavior. A one-hour family luncheon is reversed and slowed to one-hour eighteen minutes; accompanied by a calming electronic music soundtrack, the piece becomes a nearly robotic still life. The human interaction loses its sharp vivacity, each rise and fall of arm or chopstick becoming machine-like in its reverie. Characteristically, even this most human element of “Welcome to the New Lifestyle” is more technology than flesh and blood.

By contrast, Yee and Omuro’s “I TURNED TO THE TURNIP” offers an appropriately rootsy complement to Groeniger’s heady work. The three dimensional, earthen, tactile qualities of Omuro’s stoneware and porcelain turnips and daikons—and their direct connection to an Asian legacy of food, culture, place, and family—suggests a playful examination of this oft-overlooked root. Omuro presents a plethora of variations, from “Our Potential Inside,” a burgeoning explosion of baby turnip eggs, to the “From the Ground Up” series, in which the artist’s form breaks with tradition and expectation.

The steady yet subtle progression of Yee’s turnip portraiture alternately placates and surprises the viewer. Newspaper layered with paint speaks to us of history embedded in the soil that grows the food we eat. In the “Conforming Turnips” series and beyond, a complex question about conformity and individuality, whiteness and otherness, emerges. “Not There There, But There” is Yee’s ghostly paean to the intersection of food and humanity, featuring a chorus of transparent turnips weaving in and out of a peopled city street.

From Hawaii to China to the liminal space of hypertechnology, these two exhibits work together to point a way forward while looking back, an attempt to integrate history, culture, and progress in a fluid, contemporary identity.

Lily Diamond was raised on Maui and works as a freelance writer and editor in San Francisco. She is co-founder of Write to Wellbeing™, and author of the forthcoming memoir The End: A Mother-Daughter Love Story. Visit www.writetowellbeing.com.