The arts of summer
By Lynn Cook
Special to The Advertiser
Remember the adventures we had when mom sent us to something called summer fun? We visited art museums, looked at paintings, then went back to the city park pavilion, grabbed a brush and tried our hand at "impressionism" ... oh yes, those were the days!
This summer is the time to revisit those childhood memories. The list below should challenge your creative muse and maybe keep you out of trouble — just like summer fun.
The creations of local artists featured in Honolulu's summer exhibitions will, at the very least, fire up the imagination and beg the question: "How do they do that?"
• Painter Doug Young is featured at The Gallery At Ward Centre. In years past, his photo-realistic painting style gave us a Chinatown memory of "Tin Tin Chop Suey, Orchid Ballroom," even if we were never there. Young spent three years creating a glass art form never done before, working in Germany with Peters Glasmalerei to create massive, double-paned window walls inspired by the healing waters of Anianikū on the Leeward coast, for the Kapolei Judiciary Complex. The theme and look of Young's glassworks are now reflected in his exhibition of sculpted, painted canvas at the Ward Centre gallery.
• Up on the hill at The Contemporary Museum, a retrospective exhibition of screen printer Allyn Bromley's work opens June 25. Bromley has been using art as commentary on political and conservation issues since the early 1970s, creating art and teaching in Hawai'i for 58 years, as well as heading up the University of Hawai'i-Mānoa printmaking program. "Retirement is just a name for time to liberate myself," she said. Her wall-sized cut-out installation of intricate vines — called "Green Piece" — is printed on the backs of prints that didn't sell. "Recycling my own art for new art was a breakthrough," she said. "I learned that I can cut everything away, leaving only the print."
• In Chinatown, 14 Honolulu Advertiser writers, editors and photographers will cover the walls and floor of the Louis Pohl Gallery with the 2-D and 3-D creations they call "cathARTic!" from June 28 through July 17. Each creates fine art. "Creatively they are just moving on and up," said gallery owner Sandy Pohl. Paula Rath's acrylic and gold leaf image, "Hope is in the Monks," moves her from fashion to the spirit of a world traveler. "I'm painting the energy of my trip to Myanmar in 2006," she said. Travel editor Chris Oliver moves to the drill press in her garage to put the pukas, finger holes, in a set of nesting benches. She says she grew up making clothes and thinks woodwork is an extension of that, "just with bigger and louder machines."
• Mapuana Schneider's paintings of hula dancers will fill the Peggy Chun Gallery from July 16 through mid-August. Schneider's e-mail tag line reads, "if you hear a voice within you say 'I cannot paint,' then by all means, paint!"; a line used often by Chun. Schneider and the late Peggy Chun were both business owners. Neither expected to paint. Schneider says retirement from her company puts her "right in front of my art, all day long," generating the urge to go for what she calls "dangerous colors."
• On Aug. 15, a slightly mysterious artist and an art mystery will be unveiled at the Kapi'olani Community College Library Gallery. Painter Ruth Patterson Hart — whose great grandfather, Robert Love Sr., founded Love's Biscuit and Bread Co. — was born in Portland, Ore., spent childhood summers with her 30 first cousins in Hawai'i, and pursued a long and impressive art education pedigree. In 1934 she had a one-woman show at the Honolulu Academy of Arts, featuring scenes of the Islands. Then family took the lead in her life. When she died, her children were surprised to find 1,500 of her paintings in her basement. Through a series of friendly connections, local art lover Andrea Jepson organized this exhibition of Hart's work — long underground, and now again in the light.
The mystery? One of Hart's paintings won the 1935 purchase prize from the Honolulu Academy of Art — but now has gone missing. A black and white study of "Plantation Dawn" will be exhibited at KCC.
"We have high hopes that an art sleuth will solve the mystery," Jepson says.