Andrew Binkley's focus on time permeates his timeless observations of human behavior and the history of places in recent work on Maui and Oahu.
The artist uses a variety of media and approaches to uncover and explore our notions of time and people's relationship with it in his upcoming exhibition, "Crossings," which will open March 10 at The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu and in his piece "Shifting the Origin" at Schaefer International Gallery's current exhibition, "The Legacy of the Land," open through Sunday in Kahului.
In "Crossings: Recent Works by Andrew Binkley," the artist, who recently moved from Maui to Oahu, reveals 11 pieces that have roots in Suzhou, China. During Binkley's visit there in 2007, he noticed a market scene in an alley and started snapping pictures.
“Crossings - Suzhou Alley #1”
“Crossings - Suzhou Alley #2”
“Crossings - Suzhou Alley #5”
“Crossings - Suzhou Alley #9”
It wasn't until years later in 2010 that the artist saw the images in a different light. Binkley was immersed in layering at the time, he said, and he looked at the photos to realize they documented "history coming together in one moment."
"It all clicked at the time," Binkley said via telephone Wednesday. "It was very mysterious."
Through the use of an overhead perspective and layering multiple photographs of people passing by on their daily routines, Binkley works with the themes of intersecting or sharing paths, and integrating or transforming relationships, as well as the unknown or transient connections between people through time.
The affairs of people setting up shop, gathering a variety of vegetables, the scales being used - were captured in Binkley's couple hundred shots over a span of 15 to 20 minutes. But he also documented a layered history of the people and the location, a reference point, frozen in movement, that alludes to human and landscape patterns.
"Sometimes we don't recognize the history of the place - like the place we're sitting in," he said. "Even in a span of 15 minutes, (people in the Suzhou marketplace) were all passing the same point in time."
Coinciding with the exhibition will be the release of Binkley's monographic book, "Crossings."
In "The Legacy of Land," an invitational exhibit that asked artists to explore one of six Maui Coastal Land Trust preservation areas and develop work based on their inspiration from the site, Binkley chose Waihe'e Refuge and also investigated issues of place and people and the effects of time on the two.
"You go to Waihee, and it's so layered with different histories," he said. From the Hawaiian presence to military elements to the golf course proposal, he said, "there were a lot of different intentions for that place."
Binkley said he also wanted to focus on the work of MCLT. MCLT, an organization that marks its 10th anniversary this year, recently merged to become Hawaiian Islands Land Trust, a nonprofit that sets out to protect and preserve shoreline access and recreation, endangered species habitat, and agricultural or culturally significant sites.
"They're doing a lot with brining back native vegetation," Binkley said. "I was dealing with that idea, native versus invasive."
The interactive piece allows visitors to change and move square images inspired by the preservation area. "In that act, they are covering up history or uncovering history," he said.
Binkley will return to Maui on Saturday for a talk with other artists prior to Schaefer's "Hike the Inspiration: Family Tour of Waihe'e Refuge," a free guided tour through the Waihe'e Coastal Dunes & Wetlands Refuge to explore the landscape and inspiration for the artwork. Participation was closed weeks ago because the hike reached capacity, according to Gallery Director Neida Bangerter.
Binkley was born in Omaha, Neb., in 1979, and studied painting at The Kansas City Art Institute. In 1998, he left school to travel through China searching for places to practice Chan (Zen) Buddhism. Living in China for one year and studying art, language and philosophies of the Far East eventually led him to Thailand where he was ordained as a Theravadan Buddhist monk. He stayed for two years, living a life of simplicity and meditation. Binkley moved to Maui in 2002 to be close to family. His parents, grandmother, aunt and uncle still live in Haiku.
Two months ago, Binkley's wife got a "great job," and they moved to Oahu.
"I?follow her,"?he said with a laugh.
On the Net:
"Legacy of Land"