Transparency in Translation

Transparency in Translation is a collaborative exhibition that explores the concept of transparency as well as the experience of looking both at and through an object at the same time. The experience is interpreted by artists working in two distinct media: glass and watercolor. Glass transforms from solid—to liquid—to solid (glass being an amorphous solid with liquid-like properties), while watercolor suspends pigment in water mixed with transparent binders. Both mediums possess elements of clarity in transmitted and reflected light, boasting a myriad of brilliant colors in their presentation. This exhibition features works from 75 artists from the well-established Hawaiʻi Watercolor Society, and the newly formed Glass Fusion Collective, selected by jurors Kathleen Conover and Professor Rick Mills, respectively.

The artwork is organized around six qualities that illuminate important characteristics of transparency: crystallinediaphanous, limpid, fluid, luminous, and translucent. The same language may also be used to describe watercolor and glass works. Like light and liquid forms, such categorizations are fluid; many of the works can easily transition from one attribute to another. The overlap and flow of the associated words are symbolic of the works that they describe. Transparency in Translation invites audiences to compare and contrast the shared and divergent qualities of each medium as they contemplate the infinite physical expressions of transparency.

Transparency in Translation is a virtual exhibition presented by the Honolulu Museum of Art School in partnership with the Hawaiʻi Watercolor Society and Glass Fusion Collective.







Kathleen Conover's juror statement for Transparency in Translation, a virtual exhibition sponsored by the Honolulu Museum of Art School in partnership with the Hawai'i Watercolor Society and Glass Fusion Collective.

Kathleen Conover
Juror, Hawaiʻi Watercolor Society

Master Artist, Kathleen Conover exhibits her work, juries exhibitions, gives demonstrations and teaches in-depth workshops. She has been juried into more than 200 exhibitions, receiving national and international recognition for the vision, innovative techniques, and fearless expression that give rise to her unique designs. Painting with openness to her subject matter, she is guided by intense observation and deep personal reflection. The result is rich symbolic layers of literal and figurative design.

Painting from an early age, Kathleen was influenced by teachers and artists in the fertile environment of Southern California’s prominent artists, museums and galleries as well as early international travels. She studied undergraduate fine arts at San Diego State University, finished her Bachelor of Art degree at the University of Washington in Seattle and earned her Master of Arts degree from Northern Michigan University. Continued study with American master watercolor artists over the next decade enriched her depth, understanding, skill and personal style of painting.

Kathleen Conover’s current involvement in the growing international watercolor scene includes invitations to exhibit, judge and demonstrate in China, Turkey, France, Belgium, Thailand and Greece. She has been honored as one of the 40 international master watercolorists invited to exhibit at the first watercolor-exclusive museum in Qingdao, China, the “Birthplace of Watercolor”. Global travel continues to influence her award winning paintings and inspires her work toward her lifetime pursuit “…to be a better artist”.

Rick Mills
Juror, Glass Fusion Collective

Rick Mills is a glass and mixed-media sculptor and Full Professor of Art at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. He received his Bachelors of Fine Art Degree from Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio and a Masters of Fine Art Degree from the University of Hawaiʻi, Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. In 1986 and again in 2004, Mills received Creative Glass Center of America Fellowships in Millville, New Jersey, and in 1987-‘88, he was awarded a research fellowship at the Royal College of Art in London, England and studied under Keith Cummings. In 1988 he accepted the assistant professorship position at the University of Hawaiʻi and established the Glass Program in the Department of Art and Art History. In 1989 he initiated the Visiting Artist Program in Glass (VAPG) to bring artists from around the world to the University to share their expertise with UHM students. Many of these artists donated the work they made to the program to enable the next artists to come to Hawaiʻi. 1992 and 1998 he taught courses in glass casting at the renowned Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Washington. Through the years, his work has been widely exhibited locally, nationally and internationally in places such as the International Glass Kanazawa 1990, Japan, Crossings, 1989 France-Hawaiʻi; solo exhibitions at The Contemporary Museum, Hawaiʻi in 1995, Friesen Gallery in Seattle, Washington in 1997 & 2000 and at the Museum of Northwest Art in La Conner, Washington in 1999.

In 1995 and 1998 he completed large-scale public sculptures commissioned by the Hawaiʻi State Foundation on Culture and the Arts (SFCA) Art in Public Places Program for the Queen Liliʻuokalani Student Services Center at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and the Hawaiʻi Convention Center, in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. In 1999 Mills received the SFCA’s Individual Artist Fellowship Award. In November of 2003, he completed another large glass wall relief sculpture for Leilehua High school in Wahiawa also as part of the SFCA’s Artists in the Schools Program and in January 2007 a glass curtain wall for the Maui Memorial Medical Center in Kahului, Maui. In March 2015, Mills completed a series of five large-scale monolithic glass sculptures entitled “The Spirit of Mānoa: In the Light of Day” for the new Hawaiʻi State Public Library in Mānoa, Honolulu, Hawaiʻi as part of SFCA’s Art in Public Places Program.
In 2002 Mills received the Baciu Award for his glass sculpture entitled “The Midden and the Maid” in the Artists of Hawaiʻi annual statewide exhibition at the Honolulu Academy of Arts. His sculptures and blown glass are in numerous private and public collections such as the Hawaiʻi State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, Persis Corporation Honolulu, HI, DHX Corporate Headquarters, San Francisco, California, Glasmuseum, Ebeltoft, Denmark, Royal College of Art, London, England.

Rick Mills’ Juror Statement

Thank you to The Glass Fusion Collective’s board for inviting me to juror the inaugural exhibition “Transparency in Translation”. What a better way to showcase all that is happening in glass in Hawaiʻi than an open survey call for glass art? It is an honor to be entrusted with the responsibility of selecting the best work for this year’s exhibition and I am humbled by the challenge. Overall, the quality and range of work entered in this year’s exhibition is impressive and demonstrates the sincere commitment to glass making in Hawaiʻi. I was pleased to see the support the exhibition received from The Hawaiʻi Craftsmen, local benefactors and the great number of quality entries this year. For glassmaking to develop and grow in Hawaiʻi this effort needs to be bolstered by all of us.

In selecting the work for this exhibition I weighed three distinct yet interrelated areas when assessing each artwork. To do so, I spent time with each work getting to know it, picking it up when possible and looking carefully for the marks of its making. The questions below are embedded in the jurying process under the categories of “Form and Concept”, “Materiality”, and “Craftsmanship”. I handled each piece, felt its mass, touched its surface, smelled the finish and closely studied the details. As an artist/ sculptor /maker and professor I looked for artifacts in the artist’s process, imagined the decisions each artist made in creating the work and considered how each may have solved technical and creative problems. This is the most engaging part of the jurying experience. The effort each of you put into your work did not go unnoticed.

1. Form and Concept: What does the overall form convey, is the artist’s concept legible? Is the composition, and design successful? What does the artist / work say? Is there ingenuity, originality…imagination? Is there an awareness of tradition, history? The clarity of form and concept is paramount to the success of the artist’s intentions.

2. Materiality: How has the artist worked /dealt with their material? What does the chosen material bring to the work’s form and concept? Is there a balance between eliciting technical control through technique, skill, ability and letting the material speak for itself? Is there an inherit understanding (on the artist’s part) of the qualities of the material, ie: transparency, translucency, fluidity, fragility, rigidity?

3. Craftsmanship: Does the work demonstrate a mastery of technique and a finesse in coaxing the material to do what the artist envisioned to express their concept? Is there virtuosity? Is the level and type of craftsmanship appropriate to the artist’s form and concept? Is there a spark of ingenuity in the process? Is there risk taking evident in pushing the limits of glassmaking?

In the final assessment it is only one person’s opinion. I have been rejected from far more exhibitions than I’ve ever been accepted, lost more prizes than I’ve ever won. There were good works that I did not accept for basic but important reasons. Several times the compositions were awkward, or there were technical flaws in an otherwise successful work or the work simply didn’t speak to my sensibilities. For those who were accepted to “Transparency in Translation” and for those who were not… the message is the same “Keep Working.” Celebrate this time you have for self-determination, and the freedom we so dearly hold. I encourage you all to continue working and I thank you each for the opportunity to view your work.