Wailoa Art & Cultural Center will open the new year with “Skin and Sky,” a mixed-media exhibition of landscape, figurative and functional works that explores the multiple surfaces, textures and emotions of our physical, fantastical, and spiritual worlds.
The public is invited to an opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 4, for Big Island artists Eide Hansamut, David Hubbard, Tim Johnson, Shelby Smith, Esther Szegedy and Robert Weiss. The exhibit will be on display until Jan. 24.
Hansamut, born in December 1976, spent much of her childhood traveling the world with her parents and art has always been the center of her life since a young age. She received a B.F.A. from Northern Arizona University in 1998 and moved to Big Island in 2004. Nature is her inspiration, and she enjoys finding the richness of the elements in this tropical environment.
Expressionist painter Hubbard states, “I have painted the wings of a fly.” Originally from Denver, Colo., he began drawing and painting in 1970 and moved to Hilo in June 2002. Both Hansamut and Hubbard have shown their paintings throughout the islands.
Johnson has been involved in ceramic art since 2000. He is currently living on the windward side of the Big Island and is focusing on functional ceramic wares and sculpture. Prior to his shift into ceramics, he was a landscape designer in and around the Los Angeles area, where he co-owned a company with his fiance which specialized in cacti, succulents and California native gardens. It is from this early experience designing gardens that he finds much of his inspiration. Many of his pieces focus on plants or primitive animal figures as their inspiration.
Smith is a sculptor who uses all types of media to create works that stretch the potential of materials and the imagination. His work has a fantastical and humorous quality that influences his reuse of many materials. Wheel-thrown and hand-built combinations in clay pieces have been his primary media for functional work using multiple clay bodies and firing techniques.
His mixed-media sculpture uses the history and patina of time in each object’s construction. Trained as an architect, Smith began working in ceramics at the University of Kansas in 1998, where he received a double degree in architecture and design ceramics in 2000. He then went on to apprentice with noted ceramic sculptor Jun Kaneko at his studio in Omaha, Neb., for two years.
Smith received an MFA from San Jose State University in California in 2006. Before moving to the Big Island, he was the ceramics and glass technician for the SJSU Art Department, as well as a part-time instructor in the South Bay Area. His works are in many private/public collections across the U.S. His studio is on the east side of the Big Island.
Szegedy moved to Hawaii from New Mexico nearly 20 years ago. She was working as a childrens’ book illustrator at the time, having changed careers from being a therapist working with art and writing. Szegedy had been to art school, theater school, and finally earned a master’s degree in expressive therapies in Cambridge, Mass. She is self taught as an artist in her current mediums.
She began to show her work in galleries in 2001, and is now in several local galleries on the East and West sides of the Big Island. She writes as well as illustrates her own kids’ books, working mostly with pastels and watercolor pencil. The essence of her work is humor, character, movement and color — lots of color.
Since moving to Hawaii in 2006, Weiss has been an ardent practitioner of Plein Air painting, the art of painting directly from nature “in the open air.” Working alone and with the Plein Air Artists of Hawaii Island, he has focused on capturing the light, energy, and beauty of the varied and stunning landscapes of the Big Island.
For the past 27 years, Weiss has been one of the premier practitioners of the art of scrimshaw. After graduating from Pratt Institute, he pursued a career as an art director/graphic designer in Manhattan. In 1985 a friend living on Nantucket sent him a scrimshaw kit as a gift, and this proved to be a major turning point in his career. He fell in love with the art form, and after several years working by day as an art director and nights working on scrimshaw, he quit his “day job” and went into scrimshaw and marine art as a full-time career.
Since then, his unique approach to and appreciation for the traditions of scrimshaw have won him accolades from collectors, gallery directors and artists alike. His work is in private and corporate collections around the world. Weiss has won the prestigious Rudolph J. Schaefer Maritime Heritage Award, given each year at the Mystic International Marine Art Exhibition, a record three times.
Located in Hilo, Wailoa Art and Cultural Center is a facility of the Division of State Parks, Department of Land and Natural Resources and is free and opened to the public Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and on Wednesday from noon to 4:30 p.m. The center is closed Saturday, Sunday and on state holidays. For additional information, please call 933-0416, fax 933-0417 or email email@example.com.