Another five are on the cusp of being three-dimensional, but since they are
hanging onthe wall, they can’t really be considered
sculpture because the viewer cannot circumnavigate them.
Caleb O’Connor and Kirk Kurokowa are two of Hawaii’s brightest lights. Kurokowa, the winner of the Schaefer Portrait Challenge, has a wonderful untitled black and white painting of a group of young people sitting outside watching something very intently.
However, it’s O’Connor who is the star of Art Maui 2006. Ever since he burst on the Maui art scene in 2002 at the Hui No’eau’s 20-30 show with his nude King David, O’Connor has been producing one outstanding piece after another. This year he has outdone himself.
O’Connor is one of only five artists in the show with two pieces. His work was one of five recommended for purchase by the State Foundation on the Culture and the Arts. This Untitled painting of a man and a woman in midair trying to leap onto a small volcanic outcrop that seems to hover above the clouds, was selected as Art Maui 2007’s publicity image.
The man, dressed
in a gray pinstriped blazer
and gray trousers
with high-top hiking boots,
looks like he’s going to
make it. The woman, in
contrast, looks fearful and
desperate and her leap in
sandals does not appear
nearly as powerful as the
man’s. O’Connor has
purposely tried to make the
viewer feel disoriented by
painting a strong gradual
diagonal at the base of this
almost life-sized painting.
O’Connor’s other painting is called “Edward in Movement.” It’s a
painting that shows O’Connor’s exploration into painting motion. The
artist sees movement in this work like a series of stop-action photos.
subject is one of the most humble possible, but one well known to travelers along Hana Highway; he’s the man you see picking up trash. O’Connor is fascinated by these anonymous yet public people, people we all know because we’ve seen them, but who we would never engage.
Art is a family affair at the O’Connor home. Caleb’s wife, Cuban-born Ruth Jatib
has, created a complex assemblage of 20
smaller images into a whole titled
“Things Received, Things Made” showing various skies painted
over Caleb’s and other’s drawings.
Jatib and O’Connor’s young son, Ezekial, at 2, is youngest entry in Art
Maui. See if you can
figure out which of the panels in Jatib’s piece was done by him. It’s not as apparent as you think. When and if you do find it, notice how compatible it is with the rest of the work, especially its palette.
Social and political commentary has always been one of the most important roles of artists in society, a role past Art Mauis have largely eschewed. Art Maui ’06 fully embraces and celebrates that role. It’s another element moving this show into a more important realm, from gallery to museum.
The most notable of these is Paul Mullowney’s Orwell/Huxley/Kafkaesque
Freedom is Slavery: A 21st Century Conundrum. The huge (100-by-108-inch) woodcut print shows former
Secretary of State Colin Powell
as Step’n Fetchit.
The printing process allowed Mullowney to manipulate the skin tones to make a powerful statement.
Next, he takes on Powell’s successor, Condoleeza Rice. Rice has nothing to say but an information gap in
Mullowney’s depiction. Finally, President
Bush is shown with cross
gravestones coming out of his mouth.
The captions on W’s panels are
“Ignorance is Strength” and “Ignore It.”
While one may or may not agree with Mullowney, one has to admire his courage to present these thought-provoking images.
Neida Bangerter is showing the third in her Native Land Series. Aloha Ainokea is a hopeful message that incorporates a popular phrase of Hawaiian youth. Ainokea looks like a Hawaiian word, but try to look it up in a Hawaiian dictionary. It’s actually a phonetic spelling of pidgin for I don’t care.
Bangerter shows the result
of that attitude. Homes are
swept away on a river of
lava. A man sprays a garden
hose into the river while he
talks on his mobile phone
next to his transparent,
empty house. Tourists stand
of a billboard with Queen Liliuokalani and graffiti including the phrase, Welcome to Maui, now go away!
Saint Marko makes an unambiguous statement about development with his mixed-media work Opportunity. Over a Carleton Kinkade landscape he has written a strong antidevelopment lament in white block letters.
In the realm of personal commentary, Andrea Patrie’s confessional painting Did You Ever Consider demonstrates the pain of a break up and the elemental nature of mothering. This work is a visual scream. As one reads the phrases, one can hear the shouts of anguish
Roggy is definitely at the head of this category.
Nature is the great creator, but the artist is the one with eye that shows it to
Levine’s photograph is an excellent example. Julie Peterson’s ceramic Cosmos is an example of an artist imitating nature. Through the use of ceramics, Peterson creates naturalistic stones and places them in settings that expand their meaning.
No art show on Maui would be complete without the Worcesters. This one has two, William’s Black/Rose is a terrific hand- blown glass platter. His son Michael ’s Three Judges shows the family legacy is assured.
Every show has work that makes one ask, What were the jurors thinking? This Art Maui has fewer questions than any I have seen since my first in 1998. There are those who will love this show and those who will not, but that is what makes an art show a worthwhile experience.
One of the ways we define our tastes is by having a range of choices. But liking and disliking are not what art is about. Art is about experiencing artists’ visions and receiving their messages. It’s about giving oneself over to that apprehension and growing through appreciation.
Usually at the conclusion of a review, a list of other notable work is given to the reader.
In this case, every work not mentioned in this article is notable as well.
Paul Janes-Brown can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org