Maui has its fair share of galleries specializing in art that showcases the beauty of our island paradise. Realistic depictions of splashing humpback whales, sunsets, tropical flowers and other island scenes are abundant and well represented. Abstract art is not nearly as well represented.
One gallery that specializes in abstract, contemporary work is Paia Contemporary Gallery at 83 Hana Highway. Created by a core group of Hawaii artists, alongside national, and international established talents, will present a new show with an artist reception from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday.
The featured artists are Jessica Drenk, a sculptor from South Carolina; Joseph Segal, a sculptor from Florida; and Al Schwartz, a Maui artist who has turned to contemporary painting after a long history in ceramics.
Al Schwartz incorporates certain minerals from the clay he has collected on Maui, giving his abstract paintings an earthly sheen. This work, created by Schwartz this year, is titled “#194.” Schwartz and two other contemporary artists will be featured in a new show at Paia Contemporary Gallery. The artists’ reception will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday.
For the last 15 years, Schwartz has collected certain minerals from the clays on the island. He has now found a way to incorporate those same minerals into his paintings, giving an earthly sheen to these modern color fields.
Drenk works with everyday items, objects of modern society, and turns them into something iconic. Pencils, toilet paper, books, ear buds, PVC pipe these are some of the elements Drenk masterfully transforms, to gracefully enter the realm of fine art.
"By transforming familiar objects into nature-inspired forms and patterns, I examine how we classify the world around us," says Drenk. "Manufactured goods appear as natural objects, something functional becomes something decorative, a simple material is made complex, and the commonplace becomes unique."
Segal's honors include the Historic Preservation Award from the City of Jacksonville, multiple Artistic Enhancement Grants from the State of Florida and multiple Fostering Vitality in the Arts Grants from the Jacksonville Community Foundation. His work has been featured in over 150 solo and group exhibitions in public buildings and national galleries since 1993.
"I impose a geometric composition on natural materials to examine our relationship with the environment," says Segal. "A need for order is balanced with a desire for deeper understanding of the essence of the elements that I work with. I use processes and finishes that either obscure or illuminate the nature of these materials to reiterate the divergence within these concepts."
The show runs through Aug. 22.
Art happenings in Makawao during its Third Friday Celebration include a presentation of the fine jewelry of Shauna Morrison from 6 to 9 p.m. at Maui Hands Gallery at 1169 Makawao Ave.
Morrison draws inspiration from a broad range of sources, from dreams, dance, the shape of a stone or maybe a pile of dried leaves outside of her studio. These take her thoughts off on many different tangents, but in the end she is always drawn back to her Scottish roots as well as her great fondness for Celtic art and jewelry.
"It is the final stage, the relationship between the wearer and the jewelry that is most important to me," says Morrison. "For only when the pieces are worn do they become alive and transformed into moving sculpture."
The theme for Makawao's Third Friday Celebration is "Red, White and Blues Block Party." Baldwin Avenue will be closed between Brewer Road and Makawao Avenue, between 5:15 and 9:30 p.m.