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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, August 25, 2002

'Commitment to Excellence' puts Islands' best on display

By Victoria Gail-White
Advertiser Art Reviewer

Yes, the stars are out at Linekona. And 16 invited art luminaries are displaying their stellar art works along with those that have been accepted by the jurors of the 24th annual "Commitment to Excellence" show. The Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce and local businesses sponsor this exhibition to showcase the internationally acclaimed artists who live in this state, recognize new talent and demonstrate their support of the arts as a successful industry. The resulting show is delightful and fortified with brilliance.

24th Annual 'Commitment to Excellence' Art Exhibition

Sponsored by The Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce

Through Friday

1-5 p.m. today, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday

Academy Art Center at Linekona

Installed in a new location this year (the Academy Arts Center at Linekona, a good move), the show fills the upstairs and downstairs exhibition spaces. Make it a point to visit the upstairs gallery, because a few prize winners are hiding up there.

The two-dimensional jurors who deserve commendation are George Ellis, director of the Honolulu Academy of Arts; Tom Klobe, professor and art gallery director of the University of Hawai'i-Manoa; and Marcia Morse, artist, writer, art critic and professor at Honolulu Community College. The three-dimensional jurors are James Foster, Wayne Kawamoto and Allison Wong.

Fine works in many media

The many invited artists, exempt from the eligibility requirements, give the show an excellent foundation in their assortment of materials, subject matter and mastery; acrylic on canvas, digital with watercolor, mixed media, bronze/wood and silk/cotton and wire sculptures, clay and wood, photographs, monoprints and watercolor paintings. The invited artists — Reiko Mochinaga Brandon, Sean K. L. Browne, Satoko Dung, Dorothy Faison, Charles Eisho Higa, Anne Irons, John Tanji Koga, Hanae Uechi Mills, Mary M. Mitsuda, Hiroki Morinoue, John Takami Morita, Marcia Morse, Fred H. Roster, Mamoru Sato, Stan Tomita and Doug Young — have exhibited art pieces that have charisma.

The amount of two-dimensional work in the show has a stronger presence than the three-dimensional work. Apart from the invited artist's works, a few of the 3-D pieces are noteworthy, having won awards in this category: Mari Sakamoto's stuffed canvas "Swimmers" won first place, Johanette Rowley's porcelain "Me, Myself and I" won second place, and "The Relationship Between Form and Edge," a work in clay by Kenny Kicklighter, won third place.

An Honorable Mention was awarded to Robert W. Butts for his Norfolk pine "Refuge Bowl." The clay/raku vessel "Kiawe Bush" by Joel Park is striking in its use of matte and shiny black glazes and calligraphic patterns. Speaking of patterns, "My Everyday Life Fabric Journal & Book," a quilt and journal by Charlene Hughes, gives us a peek at her daily life and spotlights the more personal and historical qualities of quilt-making.

"Runway Model," an elongated figure with exceptionally long legs, which Jay Marr carved out of wood, was purchased by the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts. Let's hope we'll see it again in the near future at the state Art Museum.

Significant acquisitions

The foundation made a few other significant acquisitions: Romolo Valencia's "Antes Y Ahora," a rich, sepia-toned mixed-media work regarding the sugar industry; "Boompje," an elegant monoprint by Hanae Uechi Mills; and John Koga's fanciful clay and wood "Walking Forest."

Romolo Valencia is on a winning streak. He also won first place in the 2-D category for his mixed-media "De LaTierra."

Second place went to Jodi Endicott for her large mixed-media painting "Bull" and third place to Kaui Chun in mixed media. Honorable mention went to Kloe Kang for her oil painting "Tracing a Stranger Self."

The Yomiuri America Inc. Outstanding Newcomer Award went to Dana Teruya Len for "I Pledge Allegiance Too."

It was encouraging to see in the exhibit: the silver art clay jewelry of Gordon Uyehara, the digital prints by Jan Hathaway and Joan Dubanoski, and a work by newcomer Joshua Tollefson, who won a printmaking fellowship from the Laila Twigg-Smith Art Fund of the Hawai'i Community Foundation.

This exhibit has a great deal of remarkable work. It must have been a tough call selecting the winners.

Exquisite compositions in all sizes with varied styles and subjects literally entice your attention at every turn.

A great visual stew like this one, with such superb local ingredients, takes time to savor.

Give yourself a few hours to fill your plate and delight in the art feast. Maybe even go back for seconds.

Correction: Kaui Chun was the third-place winner in mixed media in the "Commitment to Excellence" art exhibition. He was incorrectly identified in a previous version of this review.