September 25, 2015
January 03, 2016
Honolulu Museum of Art
Wendy Kawabata: In the Land features a mixed-media fiber work as well as a series of drawings related to the artist’s experience at a 2011 residency in Iceland. The exhibition presents a visual contradiction, questioning the balance of industry and nature, of manufacturing and making.
About her work the artist states:
“Grow in Light began during a residency on the Arctic Circle in Iceland. In that time I both became acclimated to, and resisted the patterns of near constant daylight and a kind of life close to the bone. I took as my starting point the endless fields of the mountain Spákonufell, the pervasive handiwork of the region, and the vulnerability of the land to aluminum smelting. I traveled to this less inhabited corner of Iceland hoping to hear more clearly amid the quiet. Quiet was found but tempered by the identification of land as a potential commodity. The incongruity between wild nature and industry in Icelandʼs highlands left me feeling spare and dislocated. As always with travel, I went looking for something and found something else. These flowers are not something else, or somewhere else. While born from a search for the wild, they have become routine and domestic. In this way, they become the insistence of interior experiences—the constant pressure of something hidden but not forgotten.
“While Grow in Light relies on the armature of laborious process, the drawings embrace chance effects and are full of longing in the best way possible. They show a landscape both interpreted and remembered. In this way they are visual condensations; materializations of landscapes as a means for mining the remnants of what is physically inaccessible. Born from the same experience, the whole is an attempt to convey beauty, sincere expression, and high regard, with simplicity: to take nothing more than needed and, in doing so, offering more than given.”
Wendy Kawabata earned her MFA in studio art at the University of New Mexico and her BFA in Art History at the Massachusetts College of Art. She has exhibited nationally and internationally, including exhibitions in New Zealand and Australia, and is represented by Sanderson Contemporary Gallery in Auckland, NZ. She is the recipient of numerous awards including a Pollock-Krasner grant in 2012. Artist residencies include the Nes Artist Residency in Skagastrond, Iceland, in 2011. She currently serves as the Associate Professor of Art and the Drawing and Painting Area Chair at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
Read about the installation of In the Land on the museum blog.