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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, April 14, 2002

Creative energy for collaborative show gets hand from nature

By Victoria Gail-White
Advertiser Art Critic

A friendship of more than 30 years has woven creativity, affection and respect into a harmonious collection of ceramics and paintings in the "Four Hands in One" show at bibelot gallery.

Top: Peter Drewliner’s large pottery sculptures, created in conjunction with fellow artist Charles Higa, incorporate ashes in the glazes.

Above: Two works are juxtaposed at The Gallery at Ward Center: a Chuck Davis abstract painting and the spilled bowls within bowls sculpture of Steve Martin.

Below: A Steve Martin bowl.

Cory Lum • The Honolulu Advertiser

This recent collaboration of Charles Higa and Peter Drewliner is permeated with their love of nature.

"We tried to incorporate the earth of Hawai'i into the pieces," Higa said, "but since Hawai'i has no real clay of its own, we had to burn the wood of local trees and use the ashes in the glazes."

Focusing on a more personal creative process, the artists emphasized hand-built ceramics for this show. "I have a debilitating muscle disease now, so Peter does the big pots," Higa said. "We work together on the glazes and we both sign the bottom."

The approximately 3-foot-high sculptural forms "Also Sprach" and "3 Columns Joined" of Hawai'i-born Drewliner are bark-and-lichen textured, in contrast to the vine-like coils in "Curly Cue." "We have a nice garden and we could never find garden sculpture, so I said to myself, 'You are an artist, so then, do it,' " Drewliner said.

The 110 pieces that fill the gallery include bowls, plates, vases and "Jewels" — small, hollowed elliptical shapes. "Kabuki," a circular plate employing Higa's poured oxide earth-tone glazes, combines dark and light tones evocative of Zen poetry. The abstract, landscapelike layered glazes in the square plate "Beyond," as well as others, are postcards that bring to mind evenings sitting on the rocks by the water watching the sunset.

Since his recent illness-driven retirement from a long teaching career, Higa said he is doing smaller paintings and some drawings.

Of the pen-and-ink drawing "Reminds Me Of," Higa said, "One of the things that I have always taught is the idea of having variety. We cannot live without it. My work incorporates a variety of things rather than a single direction. The three areas that I work in are realistic, abstract and 'don't give a damn what other people think.' This way I don't get bored."

The abstracts "Fire Moon," "Spectrum," and "UpLift" inspire a reflective fluid dreaminess in their manipulation of color and shapes.

Drewliner studied with Lloyd Sexton, Shirley Russell and Juanita Echevera Kenda, but acknowledges Higa for his "gentle but persuasive guidance."

In the artist statement, Higa said his wish is that we "appreciate and respect nature's and people's accomplishments, whatever they may be."

• • •

Some of the paintings in the "New Abstractions" exhibit by Chuck Davis at The Gallery at Ward Centre have as many as 50 thin layers of colored acrylic medium on them, burnished with steel wool and sandpaper. The effect is a translucence in the color depth suggestive of richly glazed ceramic tile.

Davis is moving in two directions simultaneously: figure studies (recently shown at the Academy Arts Center at Linekona) and abstraction. Four abstracts in this show are "an outgrowth of the 'Net Work' theme of layers of grids and patterns," Davis said. "They represent ways of creating depth in the grids found in underwater fishnets."

In the diptych "Crepuscule," layers of twilight blue recall dusk and "the awakening of crepuscular animals active during that time transition," he said.

While "Another Roadside Attraction" was inspired by magnificent fields of poppies seen during his travels, Davis said it represents his "current state of exploration in a couple of different directions." With 30 years invested in his commitment to artistic expression, Davis said his reward comes in being able to successfully share his vision with other people.

In the outside display window of the gallery, Steve Martin's conceptual seed pod piece of a large, unfired, cut-open pot reveals 50 smaller fired pots. Inside, his intriguing "Double Walled Bowl Stoneware with Rattle" represents a victory in many trials during which he attempted to throw a double-walled bowl in one piece. It is Celtic in appearance with its labyrinthine upper surface, and it really does rattle.

• • •

bibelot gallery: 'Four Hands in One'

• Charles Higa and Peter Drewliner

• Through May 3

• 1130 Koko Head Ave. Suite 2

• 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays- Fridays; 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. Saturdays

• 738-0368

• • •

Chuck Davis: 'New Abstractions'

Steve Martin: 'Turnin' and Burnin': New Ceramics'

• The Gallery at Ward Centre

• Through April 26

• 10 a.m.- 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Sunday

• 597-8034