Perpetual Reflections: Identity in Contemporary Art
The piece The Usual Suspects by photographer John Hook is an apt precursor to the latest exhibition at Gallery of Hawaii Artists (GoHA): a composite black and white portrait superimposing the faces of all the local artists participating in a new group exhibition, Perpetual Reflections: Identity in Contemporary Art. It’s a common, but relevant, topic for this roster of names we’re equally familiar and unacquainted with; their median age hovers at 29.
If you were able to single out each individual with the naked eye, you’d see this line up of stoic contributors standing before you: Oliver Coloma, Elizabeth C. Curtis, Kamea Hadar, John Hook, Vincent Ricafort, Abigail Romanchak, Boz Schurr and Kirsten Rae Simonsen.
Q&A with Carolyn Mirante, director/curator
I’m always curious about the artwork curators keep in their homes.
Right now I’m in love with my plate pieces by Michigan-based ceramicist Gail Kendall. I have them propped up on plate stands in a display case, but I do take them out and use them sometimes. It’s what the artist intended, which is so taboo and wonderful.
Since GoHA opened in late 2009, this show is it’s biggest yet. That’s exciting.
Yes, definitely. This isn’t the first group show I’ve organized, but it’s exciting to have such a strong, amazing group of artists exhibiting together in one show. They all work in different mediums too, which adds diversity, perfect for a subjective theme like “identity.”
Given that subject, I’d imagine it’s also been a time for you to reflect… What do you still have to learn in your role?
It’s hard for me to say what I still have to learn, but I know I have much to experience. Every show serves as a learning experience, you learn to be versatile and to think on your feet. Every artist I work with has a unique personality and vision. Art has a profound power. It can act as an agent for social and political change, expression and so much more.
At 22, your age offers a unique perspective to Honolulu’s art scene. Biggest challenge for young artists living and working in Hawaii today?
Space. It goes from studio space all the way to the galleries that’ll eventually represent and exhibit the work. High costs and particular criteria make it especially difficult for the young up-and-comings.
Best feedback you could get from someone visiting Perpetual Reflections?
Something along the lines of, “a piece in that show really got me thinking…,” or “I felt strongly, positive or negative, about the show.”