Upstairs at Pegge Hopper Gallery (1164 Nuuanu Ave., peggehopper.com) are the renowned artist’s familiar paintings of reclining voluptuous Hawaiian women. It’s not a vacation sort of lounging and relaxation that the paintings depict, but a comfortable, feeling-at-home kind of posture. The ladies are in pink or purple muumuu, with a plumeria or hibiscus behind their ears, capturing a sense of island life. Also on hand are some of Hopper’s less familiar works of clouds, motorcycles and an assortment of whimsical subjects.
Downstairs is reserved for exhibits by guest artists. Through Jan. 11, seasoned University of Hawaii experts flaunt “Material/Immaterial,” a thoroughly modern exhibit showcasing a variety of materials and styles. The 3-D show features sculpture, ceramics and glass-work – all visual surprises.
Shawn Spangler‘s ceramic vessels are marvelous creations from an inspired mind. The confectionary colors and patterns, and involved layers, invoke some delicate and priceless porcelain piece from an Austrian castle, but with substance. His inspiration comes from industrial design and digital technology.
Tall glass vases in tantalizing tones, holding stems bearing round bulbs, all in glass, belong to Rick Mills. Nearby are Fred Roster‘s frosted glass containers, some accented with metal parts – an unexpected pairing – and some containing fine crystal sand and marbles, mini collectibles that tease the imagination. Playful geometric and kinetic shapes are by Mamoru Sato, and Brad Evan Taylor displays seaweed-inspired shapes with a tangle of ceramic “spaghetti” enveloped by parts flat and smooth.
Then there’s Suzanne Wolfe, the inspiration behind the exhibit, with several of her signature ceramic pillows that bear an attractive montage of imagery and text.
“One reason we decided to have this show is that about 25 years ago or even longer, Pegge bought one of Suzanne’s pillows. It’s one of her treasured pieces. For all of these years, it’s been sitting on her coffee table,” points out gallery manager Melanie Yang. Hence the idea was born to feature Wolfe’s pillows and other 3-D work by UH faculty. Together, the distinct styles make for an absorbing gallery experience. Spangler’s works alone are must-see beauties from another dimension.
From A Distance
Photographer Ric Noyle’s aerial exhibit “High Over Hawaii” graces Canon’s hallways (210 Ward Ave., through December), giving the public his exceptional view of the Islands we know and love, but from a fresh angle. “Look at that,” pipes up one admirer as she gazes at Noyle’s shot of a smoking Kilauea crater, all rough, cracked and earthy. “It looks like chocolate fudge, like a lava cake!”
All viewers present gasp at a shot of a wave ferociously separating sand from ocean as it pounds the shoreline. The accompanying title card reads: “Sandy Beach. It is known for its excellent bodyboarding and bodysurfing opportunities … My son Zak was banned from going to this beach when he was growing up. Sure!” In case the tongue-in-cheekiness of the comment is lost on unfamiliar readers, Zak is now a renowned photographer in his own right – a surf photographer, joyfully tackling 20-foot waves at the world’s most spectacular breaks.
Noyle Sr. features outstanding mountains, waterfalls, tide pools and landmarks from all of our islands. In a rainbow shot, we’re so high up that we’re actually looking down at the iridescent arch. Perhaps the photo that most pops off the wall is one of Waikiki, where bright aqua liquid meets ribbons of sand in several shades. Candy-colored specks of bright bathing suits, towels and floaties dot the view. You can’t help wanting to gobble it up with your eyes. He’s been capturing his Hawaii home for 30 years, and he’s still finding novel, transcendent perspectives.