The prestigious Art Maui juried exhibition is now enticing viewers in the Schaefer International Gallery at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, and before Castle Theater shows and during its intermissions. Admission is free and open to the public.
This year's sole juror, Stephan Jost, is the director of the Honolulu Museum of Art. He flew to Maui last week to select 65 pieces, including three video and sound installations, from a field of 336 artists who submitted 549 artworks. After a Sneak Peek for board members, a Pledge Dinner for prospective buyers and an artists' reception, the show opened Monday.
Juror Stephan Jost has a B.A. and an M.A. in art history. He says he kept works limited because the submissions were of such high quality and felt they would show better in a less cluttered environment. Jost is director of the Honolulu Museum of Art.
CARLA TRACY photo
Sidney Yee’s “Lighting The Way Home” will be next year’s publicity image
CARLA TRACY photo
But since the submissions were from such a large field of qualified artists, how did Jost whittle it down to the "less is more" show of 65 picks?
"The process was quite fun," says Jost, who curated at the Shelburne Museum in Vermont and the Mills College of Art Museum in Oakland, Calif., before he moved to Oahu.
"As the juror, I knew quite quickly after walking into a room with 549 works that it would be enjoyable. The reason is that there were such a huge number of strong works in the group.
"All the works that were selected stood out," he says. "Of course you cannot miss the huge giraffe. I also loved some of the portrait paintings, one of a man with this cool, light-blue background. And, I was impressed by the quality of craftsmanship on some of the furniture submissions."
Jost was talking about works such as Steve Turnbull's "Mother and Child" wood giraffe pieces; George Brinner's "Keoni"; and Shaun Fleming's "Puka Pinao" wood table.
"I tend to spend about an hour just looking," Jost continues. "I wander about and see what jumps out as particularly interesting, regardless of media. Then, in my mind - I select what I consider the anchor works of the show."
Jost then chooses works to complement or challenge the anchor works. He asks himself if he chooses a beautiful, quiet painting, "will it look better hanging next to a similar painting or one that is robust and colorful?"
"At the end, I did another careful tour around the room to make sure I didn't overlook anything, and made some last-second additions. The goal was to have the best possible show."
Originally from Michigan, Jost has a Bachelor of Art History from Hampshire College in Massachusetts and a Masters of Art History from University of Texas at Austin. It took him about three hours to judge the show.
"It went fast for two reasons-a great group of volunteers did a huge amount of work laying out the art and creating an inventory, and the other reason is the quality was very high. Oddly, the higher the quality of the works of art, the easier and faster it goes," Jost says.
Board members say Art Maui usually ranges from 75 to 140 pieces. Was there a reason he kept it small?
"I kept the works limited because the work was of such high quality. It is a pretty simple concept - most good works look less good if they are shown in a jam-packed gallery. I wanted to make sure that the artists would think that they got a show that makes the work look great. Also, when guests see the show, I want them to think, 'Wow, artists on Maui are doing amazing work.' "
This annual juried exhibition, now in its 36th year, features only artists 18 years of age and older who are current residents of Maui County.
All Art Maui entries must be original and have been created within the last two years without supervision. Any work created in a workshop or in a classroom under another person's supervision was rejected. So were those previously shown in any juried exhibition.
"It is rewarding to finally see a year of hard work culminate in such a beautiful and interesting exhibit," says Art Maui board president Renee Lackey. "The founders envisioned an annual event that brings appreciation of the visual arts to the people of Maui. I think this year's show does just that - there is a little something for everyone."
Indeed. Artworks ran the gamut from Susan David's "I Made My Song a Coat" to Tim Garcia's "Inner Beauty" to Bene Cambra's "Black Karma" installation of a talking motorcycle to Gerri Kerrigan's "Pikake Dragon" feather lei.
"Good work appeals to me," Jost says. "Since Maui artists are working in a wide range of media, I wanted to have many different types represented."
Three pieces got picked up by the State Foundation on Culture on the Arts this year, including Mary Ann Leigh's "Eddie Would Go"; Robert Suzuki's "Hello"; and Gary Mukai's "Recurring Dreamscape." This year's official Art Maui image, "Clear Reflective State," is by Robena.
Overall, Jost was impressed.
"I came in knowing very little about the art community in Maui. In some ways that was an asset for me as a judge, as I had a fresh pair of eyes. I think it is a great community of artists. I do hope that the artists continue to push each other to focus on always getting better as well as staying fresh."
For further details, visit the website at www.artmaui.com.
- Story by Carla Tracy