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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, December 9, 2001

Kinipopo show features finest in Kaua'i artwork

By Virginia Wageman
Advertiser Art Critic

"Kaua'i artists are remarkably diverse, with quite a few very strong standouts," says Honolulu gallery owner Mike Schnack, and he should know. The owner of Cedar Street Gallery sorted through more than 200 works by Kaua'i artists to choose those displayed in the Small Works Show at Kapa'a's Kinipopo Fine Art Gallery. The show closes Dec. 28.

 •  Kaua'i galleries

Evolve Love Gallery

Where: Ching Young Shopping Center, Hanalei

Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily

Telephone: (808) 826-4755

Kaua'i Museum

Where: 4428 Rice St., Lihu'e

Hours: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.- 4 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Telephone: (808) 245-6931

Kaua'i Village Gallery

Where: Hanapepe Road, Hanapepe

Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily; Friday until 9 p.m.

Telephone: (808) 335-0343


Where: 4-1354 Kuhio Highway, Kapa'a

Hours: Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Telephone: (808) 823-6820

Kinipopo Fine Art

Where: 4-356 Kuhio Highway, Kapa'a

Hours: Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Telephone: (808) 822-4356

Kong Lung Company

Where: Kong Lung Center, Kilauea

Hours: Monday- Saturday 9:30 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

Telephone: (808) 828-1822


Where: Hanalei Dolphin Center

Hours: 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m. daily

Telephone: (808) 826-6937

The show, sponsored by the Kaua'i Society of Artists, was open to all members of the association. The only stipulation was that works could be no longer than 16 inches in any direction.

The 79 artists in the show work in a wide variety of styles and media, from traditional landscape paintings and floral watercolors to quirky ceramics and sculptures that demonstrate a willingness on the part of the makers to take risks with their subjects.

Schnack selected 11 artists for awards, reserving the top prize for Jolly Bodine's exquisite painting of two delicately balanced rocks that dominate a vast landscape. The eloquence of the rock forms and their surreal presence in the spare landscape speak to a pervasive spirituality with which the painting is imbued.

Kinipopo has been the premier art gallery on Kaua'i, representing about 75 local artists — an enormous number for such a small island. It opened with the Small Works Show in 1998. Sad to say, the gallery will close at the end of this month, leaving limited exhibition possibilities for members of the Kaua'i Society of Artists.

To add to the loss, the space at Kukui Grove Center that the society has been using for several large annual shows, including Art Kaua'i, will close late in 2002 and be unavailable for up to a year because of renovations at the shopping center.

Says Kinipopo gallery manager Diane Ferry, "Kaua'i is unusual in that there is a great deal of support for artists, both from the KSA and the Garden Isle Arts Council." While lamenting the loss of exhibition space, she is hopeful that something else will turn up — perhaps a space that could be set up as an artists' cooperative.

Indeed, Kaua'i artists are well organized. The Kaua'i Society of Artists has 200 members and publishes a newsletter that comes out four times a year. Kaua'i art activities are listed, and exhibition opportunities in Honolulu and on the Mainland are announced.

A frequently updated Web site (hawaiian.net/~ksa) provides information about individual artist members. In addition, an annual printed guide to Kaua'i artists includes photos of the artists' works and tells how to reach those who welcome studio visits (for a free copy, e-mail the society: ksa@hawaiian.net).

The work of a number of other Kaua'i artists may be seen at Ola's in Hanalei, a gallery run by artist Sharon Britt. Works by Britt and her husband, Doug, make up most of the pieces on view.

Doug Britt is often seen in Honolulu and in Mainland shows. He makes lively sculptures and home furnishings from found wood, as well as his signature paintings of Diamond Head. The paintings often have a retro-looking sailor or hula girl in the scene, or a propeller airplane coming in low over Diamond Head.

Sharon Britt, a photographer, has made it her life's passion to document Hawai'i's vanishing landscape and architecture — crumbling stone churches and fading plantation homes.

Ola's also features the work of local photographers Cynthia Nicely, Scott Hanft and Lois Coleman, and has greeting cards by, among others, Yasuko Fawcett and Evelyn de Buhr.

Kebanu, a fine crafts gallery in old Kapa'a town, and Evolve Love Gallery in Hanalei also show Kaua'i artists. Kong Lung Company, a store in Kilauea with a tropic/Asian bent, shows the work of Sally French, a Kaua'i artist known for her macabre feminist take on the world. French, who exhibits a lot in Honolulu and on the Mainland, is also president of the Kaua'i Society of Artists.

For a low-key night on the town, viewing art and chatting with the artists, visit Hanapepe on a Friday night, when all the galleries are open. Most of the art is of the tourist variety, but several galleries do show credible work. The Kaua'i Village Gallery is one of them; it's run by artist Lew Shortridge, who paints scenes in a surrealist style.

Included in Shortridge's gallery are 3-D fantasy scenes with intricate beadwork by Kimberlin Blackburn and abstract paintings by Lynn Soehner. There are also photographs of Kaua'i by Brad Lewis, Elfi Kluck and Victoria McCormick.

The Kaua'i Museum in Lihu'e shows the work of local artists in its Mezzanine Gallery. Paintings by Penny Nichols and sculpture by Gabriela Taylor in a show called "Dance of Light and Dark" are on view until Jan. 17.

Virginia Wageman can be reached at VWageman@aol.com.