Exhibit showcases academy founder's history-laden textiles
By Victoria Gail White
Advertiser Art Reviewer
Textiles have a civilizing effect on us cloth napkins and tablecloths. Textiles have a soothing effect on us the comfort and warmth of an old quilt, a shawl. Textiles have a story to tell because they were once used and worn by humans, or made painstakingly by hand, stitch by stitch. They are infused with our touch. Have you ever inherited shawls, kimonos, quilts or tablecloths from relatives and wondered what part they played in their lives?
Textile Gallery, Honolulu Academy of Arts, 900 S. Beretania 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 1-5 pm Sundays Through Oct. 6 532-8700 Free admission the first Sunday and Wednesday of every month Bachelor of Fine Arts Exhibition 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays- Fridays; noon-4 p.m. Sundays Through May 17 University of Hawai'i-Manoa Art Gallery Department of Art 956-6888 Awards and Scholarships University of Hawai'i-Manoa Art Gallery Commons Gallery Through Friday
Founder's Eye: Textile Gifts from Anna Rice Cooke
Textile Gallery, Honolulu Academy of Arts, 900 S. Beretania
10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 1-5 pm Sundays
Through Oct. 6
Free admission the first Sunday and Wednesday of every month
Bachelor of Fine Arts Exhibition
10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays- Fridays; noon-4 p.m. Sundays
Through May 17
University of Hawai'i-Manoa Art Gallery
Department of Art
Awards and Scholarships
University of Hawai'i-Manoa Art Gallery
In the early days of the academy, these pieces were the core of its textile collection. That collection has now blossomed to more than 5,000 works from more than 60 countries, carefully tended by textile curator (also an accomplished artist) Reiko Brandon and her crew.
Why would anyone spend hundreds of hours to make a lace table cover? Just the thought of those tiny fine stitches makes one dizzy and cross-eyed. The "Lace Table Cover" (late 19th-20th century) has been installed as if floating on air in its Plexiglas case. Cherubs dance around the center and four corners, entwined with garlands of flowers. It is made of cotton with plain weave, point d'Angleterre lace, drawn work and embroidery. It is refined, intricate.
Historically, the "Piece of Furnishing Fabric" (1675-1725) from Southern Europe is the oldest cloth. This satin weave and embroidery on silk is as magnificent as the day it was made with its luxurious baroque design of cornucopias, leaves, flowers and birds in a 3-D affect. It is striking in the intensity and shading of yarn colors.
The Hawaiian quilt "Na Kalaunu" ("The Crowns") is sewn in lavender fabric and features eight crowns.
"Imperial Court Robe" and "Taoist Priest Robe" from China, Noh robes for theater and a leather fireman's jacket from Japan, wall hangings from India and China, shawls from Kashmir and Scotland and a lively Su'zani (bedcover) from Uzbekistan that was part of a bride's dowry all seem part of a universal language of cloth.
The "Chapan" (coat) from Uzbekistan (19th century) is silk, warp ikat and weft ikat (for all the weavers out there). It happens to be one of those simple-looking garments that is extremely complex in structure, verified by its elaborate lining.
An embroidery on linen from May 23, 1767, "Sarah Jagger/ Lord's Prayer," and a "Chasuble" (Christian priest's robe) stretch our perception of devotional needlework from the down-to-earth to the sublime.
Through the eyes and gifts of Anna Rice Cooke, we can appreciate our textile history. Pieces of cloth both connect and cover us.
Students' work commendable
The excitement in the gallery is tangible. The risks taken by the 31 bachelor of fine arts graduating students is commendable and, at times, stunning. The fact that the students also wrote the grants, sold chili, designed and printed a catalog and installed the show is also impressive. Obviously, many lessons were learned.
The four officers/fund-raisers Puni Kukahiko, Marques Marzan, Casey Kaylor and Heather Sorum did a great job, according to their professor, Gaye Chan. "Actually, we had a fantastic group this year, everyone participated. It was an opportunity for them to experience what it's like to be an artist in the world," said Chan.
The exhibit consists of works in painting, printmaking, fiber, photography, graphic design, glass, ceramics, sculpture, inter-media, and installation. As these students were in art classes around the time of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, it is heart-rending to see the threads of the tragedy that appear in their art work.
In "Awakening The Furies," Andrew M. Currivan sets a stage for slaughter in ceramic. Slab-built flat bodies lie on the floor like outlines for a criminal investigation. A gun is posted above them. A life-sized, terra-cotta-colored closed box with a viewing slot houses a face half-covered by a white cloth eerily spotlighted from above. "Why is it that people look upon the death of others as a victory for their cause or justification of their beliefs? ... What causes violence and what is the result of violence?" Currivan writes in his artist statement.
James Nakamura and Maurice Radke addressed the attention the tragedy drew in the media (as it pertained to images and information) in their design works.
"What holds us together yet keeps us apart?" writes Heather Sorum. "What type of walls do societies create in order to separate and segregate, causing people to move in certain ways?" Her powerful yet fragile sculpture, "Held Apart," consists of large, jagged, transparent pieces of slumped, acid-etched and engraved sheet glass held together by a thick rope.
Lisa Nagagawa's "Reconstruction" is a sculpted figure made of copper wire and chopsticks. It focuses the issue more personally, "Breaking down the facade upon which I rediscover and reconstruct myself," she writes in her statement.
Brad Uyehara expresses the pain of change in his black-and-white photographs, "Waialua," which mark the end of a way of life with the closure of the sugar mill.
There is light, hope and beauty in the exhibit as evidenced in the mystical painting "Firefly" by Ayako Iwasaki and illuminations in the darker works of Alicia Leela Logan.
The installation of Marques H. Marzan's "Lines in Time" is a true gift. The wall shadows of this large multitoned cyclical fiber work are as exciting as the piece itself.
It is unfortunate that the entire show was not installed with this level of brilliance. Some of the paintings and graphic design works were hung too high for comfortable viewing. The relationship in the placement of works and the overall consistency may have been a difficult detail to address, but presentation is no less important than the quality of the work.
It is still a show worth seeing and listening to.
More pieces to see
Across from the main gallery at UH is the Commons Gallery. Inside the small space resides the Awards and Scholarships exhibit. This installation is a bit more refined and consistent.
A few of the students mentioned above were given awards and have additional art works on display here.
The sculptural glass work of Fletcher "Kip" Howe, "Transcendence," is a complicated integration of glass and metal.
Mark Miyamoto's "Salvaging Hope" in ceramic echoes the tragedy of Sept. 11, while Makai JHK Tubbs' dark abstract painting, "Addiction," addresses another.
The printmaking work of James Connor in both exhibits is praiseworthy.
These exhibits exemplify the promise and integrity of many young artists. We can only hope they will continue to grow, explore and express their visual voices.