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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, November 17, 2002

Vermont artist brings global vision to local campus

By Victoria Gail-White
Advertiser Art Reviewer

 •  'All One'

Sculpture installation and dedication

1-2 p.m. Friday

Kapi'olani Community College

In a world that can sometimes appear myopic and narcissistic, the 7 1/2-foot steel sculpture "All One" by Kate Pond is a welcome respite. As an artist in residence at Kapi'olani Community College, Vermont-based Pond is here to install her creation on a grassy knoll near the Diamond Head entrance to the campus.

In "All One," the clean-line, minimalist shape of two pieces of steel — forming both the Chinese and Japanese character for person or humankind — support each other. In their effort to bring together art, science, nature, culture and ecology, Pond's sculptures have evolved since her last show here in the early 1980s.

This sculpture is the fourth in the World Sculpture Project series she has been installing around the world, primarily on a volunteer basis, since 1993. All mark the passing of the sun at the summer and winter solstices, or equinoxes, and incorporate shadows cast by the sun in their design. Financing for her projects has come from grants and patrons.

"I am interested in the universal things that tie people together, and the sun is such a basic tie," Pond says.

Her other works in this series have been placed in Stanstead, Quebec; Oslo, Norway; and Sendai, Japan. A sculptor since her youth, Pond says "I grew up in the country on a farm. There were so many opportunities to find objects, make things, and put things together." She graduated from Skidmore College and studied in Paris before beginning to sculpt full time in the early 1970s.

The Associated Students of Kapi'olani Community College underwrote Pond's project, with guidance from Art Advisory Committee co-chairmen Michael Malloy and Sarah McCormick. This is the first time the students have financed a project of this type. And it is fitting, too, because "All One" communicates a positive statement about youth. Every sculpture includes a time capsule that will be buried nearby with postcard-size artwork and poems composed by children from around the world. Their creative energy, good intentions and concerns will be put into the earth and opened with the other capsules in 2015.

"It is important to instill a positive connection, with all the negative connections that people have in a military way around the globe now," says Pond. "It seems so useless in terms of human energy. I like to encourage a positive connection through art."

The final piece of this series is being planned for New Zealand. It will concentrate on the "Lahaina Noon" phenomenon that occurs near the equator. "This happens in late May, early June, when the sun is directly overhead,' Pond says. "It will be the only sculpture that is showing the overhead sun. A person's shadow doesn't show at all."

It is obvious that the sculpture on O'ahu has found a good home. While viewing how well the students had fixed the steel to the concrete base, we noticed that a large grasshopper already had claimed it.

The public is invited to attend the celebration for the dedication of "All One," which will coincide with the heliacal rising of the Pleiades star cluster and the beginning of the ancient Hawaiian Makahiki festival. The open reception is 1:30 p.m. Monday at Lama Library on the Kapi'olani Community College campus. The sculpture dedication will be 1 to 2 p.m. Friday at the entrance to campus opposite the Diamond Head Theatre.

Pond's work, and more information about her World Sculpture Project, may be sstudied at www.vermontsculpture.com.

• • •

 •  Fong Ling: Pastels

9 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays- Fridays, 1-4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Nov. 28

The Gallery on the Pali, 2500 Pali Highway

If the red grapes in the "Pink Carnation" still life by Fong Ling were any juicier, they would pass through the doors of perception and manifest into reality, delicious and sweet. Translucent with light, they arouse Pavlovian responses in the viewer (especially on a hot afternoon). She demonstrates a mastery of her medium in a collection of 31 chalk pastel drawings on exhibit at The Gallery on the Pali in a range of subjects from portraits to golden rice fields.

In 1976, Ling came to Hawai'i from Taiwan with her husband and three children. With her children grown, she now focuses on what she loves to do — draw with pastels. "Age gives you experience," she says. "If I tried pastels 30 years ago, it would have been very different. I see things and feel things differently now. For me, I didn't start as young as I wished, but I don't feel that my time is wasted."

Ling has tried other media, but finds the range and saturation of colors and softness of chalk pastels more to her temperament. "Drawing with pastels is very much like writing instead of painting," she says. After having studied with some of the best pastel teachers in the country — Sally Strand, Jason Chang, Ben Konis and Doug Dawson — Ling now teaches.

"I don't start from a photo unless I can't paint it on location," says Ling. "I use my own photos. I have a very picky feeling about that. I have to remember how I felt about that moment."

The "Red Scarf" series of six drawings is filled with just such a moment of feeling, a sense of sensuous anticipation. And this is puzzling, because it is simply a red scarf draped on a chair with variations (in paper texture and angle) depicted six times. But, Ling has invigorated these drawings with feeling and they hold our attention. There is a sense of mystery here, and a story. Ling tells good stories through her drawings by her affection for her subjects and the viewer. She gives the viewer the option to continue the tale. (The red scarf actually happens to have been a gift from a good friend.)

"Red Door" begins a tale of a wealthy home in China. A vine has grown over the carved door grating, suggesting that history has changed the lives of the former inhabitants. What is particularly delightful about this piece is the understated slice of red door Ling has chosen to isolate in the composition.

"I try to use my heart to draw instead of just my hands," says Ling. "Everything is from my heart. I can't draw something that I can't feel in my heart. It is connected to my whole life. I am determined to draw until my last minute alive."

Ling teaches two sessions a year at the Tsu-Chi Foundation Culture and Education Program, 1238 Wilhemina Rise. Phone 737-8885 for information.

• • •

 •  Association of Hawaii Artists Members Art Exhibition

Through Nov. 29

Pauahi Tower Mezzanine Gallery

1001 Bishop St.

Open during business hours

One never knows what to expect from a members-only exhibit when the members express themselves in a wide variety of media. Juried by University of Hawai'i art professors Pat Hickman and Charles Cohan, this exhibit has some surprises.

Fong Ling's pastel drawings "Onions" and "A Memory From Childhood" confirm her mastery and elegance. The different colors of the onions almost drip into the striped tablecloth, and it seems unclear whether the onions got their color from the cloth or the cloth from the onions.

The sculptural works "Father and Child" in wood by Jay Marr, "Amazing Grace" by Marcia Mager in mixed media, "Maya" by Kenny Kicklighter in stoneware and "Pipemate" by Kurt Ken Kaminaka in copper and glass demonstrate innovative and original uses of materials.

The paintings of Sandra Elizabeth Blazel, Dexter Doi and Bridgette Adams have a sense of playfulness in both their subject matter and the use of light, color and aesthetics.

The ornately patterned "Flow of Obi" in mixed media by Yasuko Abeshima and the quilt entitled "Nu'uanu — Rest Stop On The Wheel Of Life" by Charlene Hughes dazzle the eye.

Chitra Stuiver's photograph "Spaceship Sighted! Red Alert!" and Phil Uhl's digital monoprint "Ancestral Cavern" stretch the imagination.

This exhibit is not crowded with artworks. Roughly 70 pieces have been selected by the jurors, and there is room to let your eyes roam.