Oct. 12, 2016

Media contacts:

Scott Whelden
Tel: 808-532-8719

Lesa Griffith

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Four artists working closely with curator for reimagined exhibition opening Feb. 9

WHAT: Artists of Hawai‘i 2017
WHEN: Feb. 9–May 28, 2017
WHERE: Honolulu Museum of Art, 900 Beretania St., Honolulu
COST: Museum admission $10 general, free for visitors age 17 and under
INFO: 808-532-8701, (publishable)

HONOLULU, HAWAI‘I—Four artists—two of them working as a collaborative team—are busy in their studios creating installations for the next Artists of Hawai‘i, slated to open Feb. 9, 2017.

The artists are: Kaili Chun and Hongtao Zhou (O‘ahu), Kasey Lindley (O‘ahu), and Kaori Ukaji (Hawai‘i Island). All artists are working closely with exhibition curator Healoha Johnston, the museum’s curator of the arts of Hawai‘i. The show will be unlike any Artists of Hawai‘i before it.

This prestigious exhibition has showcased the talents of island artists since 1950. After all these years, the Artists of Hawai‘i curatorial committee thought it was time to step back and assess whether the exhibition format and the museum were serving the arts community in the best way possible.

In the process, the curatorial committee realized the Honolulu Museum of Art School has developed a robust community-driven exhibition program featuring numerous annual juried group shows, each focused on contemporary Hawai‘i-based artists. This fact, considered along with feedback from countless artists seeking larger exhibition spaces for their work, and museum visitors wanting to see expansive gallery installations, led to the conclusion that the arts community was not in need of a similarly formatted biennial, juried group show.

After identifying arts community needs, from the perspective of the artist and the audience, the committee decided on three changes to the exhibition format designed to push artists beyond their comfort zones, allowing them to take their work to a new level, while also providing access to audiences to new art experiences.

Artists of Hawai‘i now includes a stronger curator-artist dialogue for all participating artists, with regular studio visits by the curator over eight months in the production of all new work; a shift from object-centric practices to artworks based on spatial experience and participatory visitor experiences to rethink how visitors engage with art and ideas. In addition, artists for the 2017 exhibition were chosen through a combination of open-call and invitation. For example, Johnston approached Chun and Zhou, based on her knowledge of their work, about working together for Artists of Hawai‘i 2017. Unbeknownst to Johnston, the two artists with architecture backgrounds were already close friends, and welcomed the idea of partnering on a project.


Kaili Chun (O‘ahu, b. 1962)

Bio: Honored with multiple awards for her innovative work, multimedia artist Kaili Chun has received national recognition from the Joan Mitchell Foundation and the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation. A graduate of Kamehameha Schools, she holds a bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Princeton University and a master’s of fine arts degree from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa. She currently serves as a lecturer at Kapiolani Community College, and is earning a PhD in Architecture at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa.

Statement: Using unconventional materials I create large-scale installations that often reference the impact the past continues to have on the present day. Themes of self-containment and self-empowerment are juxtaposed against notions of systemic power to untangle the individual from perceived limitations. Installations provide a format for me to examine social concerns in participatory settings. The environments are set up to facilitate interaction between people and installation elements in deliberate ways, but allow for unexpected and uncontrollable developments in the piece as people interact with it.

Kasey Lindley (O‘ahu, b. 1983)

Bio: Kasey Lou Lindley was born in San Francisco, Calif., and raised in Utah. She studied at the New York Studio Program, received her BFA from the Ringling College of Art & Design, and her masterʻs of fine arts degree from the University of Connecticut. Lindley has exhibited nationally and internationally at venues in New York City, Boston, Salt Lake City, India, Germany, Turkey, and Croatia. Kasey lives and works in Honolulu.

Statement: Nature, the act of play, and technology are the main subjects that I explore. With each theme in mind I create multimedia installations that evoke an awkward and playful sense of energy and humor. My aim is to transcend the barriers of a given art medium, and to blur the boundaries between disciplines. My interest in landscape and nature derives from the American southwest in which I was raised. I grew up surrounded by incredibly beautiful landscapes that continue to amaze me, and my early fascination with the outdoors grew into obsession. As a result this work is a response to, and exploration of, environmental concerns. Cell phone towers fabricated to look like trees parody our cultures conflicted need to exploit and conserve the earth. Using a wide range of media, I wish to articulate, understand and emphasize the artificial within contemporary landscapes.

Kaori Ukaji (Hawai‘i Island, b. Japan 1964)

Bio: Born in Japan, and trained as a graphic designer, Hawaii Island artist Kaori Ukaji has had solo exhibitions in Hawaii, New York, Australia and Japan. She was a featured artist in the Fifth Contemporary Museum Biennial of Hawaii artists. Kaori Ukaji is a faculty member in the art program at Hawai‘i Community College.

Statement: The process of peeling and assembling skin is a meditative process for me, the same as assembling the lines of graphite drawing on paper. Repetitive motion brings me to the deep inner side of myself, and brings me to a higher level of being. Maybe it’s time to find out where this journey through black graphite drawing to red colored assembled work will go next.

Hongtao Zhou (O‘ahu, b. China 1978)

Bio: Hongtao Zhou is an assistant professor of the School of Architecture at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa. As an interdisciplinary scholar and artist, he researches, practices and teaches in the areas of Architecture Design, Exhibition Design, Furniture Design & Fabrication and Contemporary Sculpture & Installation. Hongtao holds a PhD from Purdue University, a MFA from University of Wisconsin-Madison and a MS from Northeast Forest University of China.

Statement: I am an artist and designer working in the interdisciplinary areas of furniture design, sculpture installation and architecture. My work is becoming a process, a process of collision and fusion on the boundaries of different creative areas. I produce hybridized objects and concepts that consist of interactive furniture, architecture installation, sculpture and prints with sustainable elements, cultural references, and often humorous aspects. They respect the limitations imposed by function, aesthetics, material and technology as balanced solutions. By introducing these hybridized ideas, I want people to experience the excitement and entertainment of standing on the line of merging boundaries. I want to challenge people to think whether these boundaries should disappear or become even clearer in the future. I want people to reconsider their stand on their own identities as they experience these pieces.


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About the Honolulu Museum of Art

One of the world’s premier art museums, the Honolulu Museum of Art presents international caliber special exhibitions and features a collection that includes Hokusai, van Gogh, Gauguin, Monet, Picasso and Warhol, as well as traditional Asian and Hawaiian art.

Located in two of Honolulu’s most beautiful buildings, visitors enjoy two cafés, gardens, and films and concerts at the theater. The museum is dedicated to bringing together great art and people to create a more harmonious, adaptable, and enjoyable society in Hawai’i.


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