At First Hawaiian Center | Paper Processes, Hawai‘i Crafts I + Garden Reflections

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    Denise Karabinus. 'Tear Mandala: Apricot,' 2016. Woodblock on recycled newsprint.

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    Paula Nokes. 'Stained in Blue,' 2016. Indigo dyed Shibori on handmade kozo paper.

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    Nisha Pinjani. 'Mapping Home,' 2016. Collograph, embroidery on mulberry paper.

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    Michael Lee (American, born 1960). 'Rock-a-Bye Tako,' 1996. Lathe-turned and carved Macassar ebony. Gift of Charlotte and Henry B. Clark, Jr., 2002 (12326.1).

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    Walter Nottingham (American, 1930 – 2014). 'Pu'olo,' 2000. Mixed media. Gift of The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, 2011, and gift of the artist (TCM.2003.15).

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    Yoko Haar. 'Morning Calm,' 2016. High-fire ceramics.

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    Licia McDonald. 'Purple Pomegranate,' 2016. Porcelain.

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April 13, 2017 - July 21, 2017
First Hawaiian Center

Exhibition Overview

Jump to: Paper ProcessesHawai‘i Crafts IGarden Reflections

Paper Processes: Works by Denise Karabinus, Paula Nokes, and Nisha Pinjani

Artists Denise Karabinus, Paula Nokes, and Nisha Pinjani tackle personal and political issues—of suffering and loss, Japanese internment during WWII, and the place of women in society—by transforming the medium of paper through techniques such as collage, stitching, and stapling.

Denise Karabinus transforms the ordinary (recycled newsprint) into the extraordinary by repurposing simple materials into large-scale works. The pieces in her Tear Mandala series feature undulating forms and patterns created by collaging together many small teardrop shapes of woodblock-printed paper. The artist describes her process as “tortured,” and as a form of meditation, conceived after the tragic death of her infant son in 2013. First, individual tear shapes are carefully printed onto recycled newsprint from a hand-carved woodblock matrix. The printed pages are individually water colored in various shades of the same hue. Then, the tear shapes are carefully cut out by hand and methodically glued together into an intricate design. This series works to visually join together the human conditions of suffering and hope in a sculptural whirlpool where each individual tear, organized tightly together, blossoms into a new, complex form. Karabinus holds a Master’s degree from the Vermont College of Fine Arts, and in 2014 was an artist in residence in Paradsinga, India.

Paula Nokes is intrigued by the circular format as a symbol of perfection and inclusion, and incorporates it into her mixed-media series titled Circles on the Edge of Bitter and Sweet. Her work is about unraveling the hurts and secrets of the past, as well as healing through the metaphor of stitching. She states: “75 years ago Japanese American citizens were interned in this country. I was born in San Francisco during WWII into a climate of secrets where no one talked about what had happened to their neighbors and friends. My work celebrates the light and dark sides of this, layering words and images that echo both the scars and transformations of our human experience.” She creates her hand-made paper from alternative fibers such as denim jeans, piecing together smaller sections to produce detailed surfaces onto which she stitches circular patterns inspired by the movement of stars and planets, and which reference medieval astronomical diagrams. Onto these textured surfaces she adds written text or poetry about the Japanese internment through the use of traditional printmaking techniques. Nokes has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Immaculate Heart College, where she studied with artist and educator Sister Corita Kent (1918-1986).

An MFA candidate in printmaking at the University of Hawai‘i Manoa, Pakistani artist Nisha Pinjani incorporates collagraph and woodcut printmaking processes with traditional handicrafts such as embroidery and dying to create densely layered works that symbolically reference her home city of Karachi, Pakistan. She has recently become interested in exploring how women navigate public and private spaces in urban cities of South Asia, and of how various environments affect differences in the dress, body language, and behavior of women. Her work speaks of the many psychological and physical borders that exist for women when they transition between public and domestic space. She analyzes these boundaries by referencing architectural patterns found within the city, such as balcony railings and window screens, to represent the duality between the interior space of a home, which conceals and restricts women's freedom, while also allowing for privacy and unguarded movement within these defined spaces.

Hawai‘i Crafts I: Fiber, Glass, Wood, and Metal from the Collection of Honolulu Museum of Art

Comprised of works selected from the museum’s collection by curator of contemporary art Jay Jensen, this exhibition highlights some of the best contemporary craft work in Hawai‘i, and is the first in a two-part series highlighting the museum’s strong collection of craft-based work. These exhibitions acknowledge and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Hawai‘i Craftsmen organization and its commitment to the art and artists of Hawai‘i.

Garden Reflections: Ceramics by Yoko Haar and Licia McDonald

This exhibition presents wall-mounted ceramic works by Honolulu artist Yoko Haar and Kaua‘i artist Licia McDonald. Haar is known for her subtly toned, delicate tiled pieces which incorporate repeated patterns and textures, while McDonald’s brightly colored, whimsical works are recognizable for soft white edges and undulating forms that allude to petals, plant life, or fantasy.

Yoko Haar’s recent work explores the notion of fragility, impermanence, and the border between existence and destruction. These works not only give the impression of fragility in their finely detailed lace and web-like forms, but are challenging to make, many of which crack during the firing process, and therefore never make it to a finished state. She also challenges herself with the use of color, utilizing a combination of underglazes in gas firings, where the results are often unpredictable. Additionally, Haar’s abstracted patterns appear to be inspired by the impermanence of light and shadow as seen through leaves, or on the surface of water. The play of light and shadow is important in the presentation of the pieces as well, which she hangs in such a way as to cast shadows on the gallery walls. Born in 1957 and raised in Japan, Haar studied painting and graduated from Osaka University of the Arts in 1980. She began working with clay after moving to Hawai‘i from New York, and has shown her award-winning works since 1993.

Kaua‘i-based artist Licia McDonald has been working sculpturally in clay since 2008, and uses color and form to interpret places or objects as seen through the lens of fantasy. She in intrigued by the narrow line that often exists in nature between beautiful and strange and tries to retain that feeling in her ceramic work. She states: “My challenge, my excitement, is to capture the beautiful sensuality that exists in [clay’s] raw state, and retain those characteristics in its hardened, fired final form. My work is meant to be a celebration of life, inspired by the unique and wonderful forms found in the natural world.” McDonald, who works exclusively in clay, most commonly produces free-standing pedestal pieces, but will be creating new wall-mounted works especially for this exhibition. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Florida International University, Miami, Florida and was the co-founder of Island Clayworks Pottery on Kaua‘i. She has received numerous awards, and is currently president and director of the non-profit organization Kaua‘i Society of Artists.