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The beauty in between

  • COURTESY THE CONTEMPORARY MUSEUM
    A trio of exhibits are showing at The Contemporary Museum at First Hawaiian Center through Feb. 11. Paintings by Lynne Gilroy, such as "West Fall," above, will be on display.
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Just as many 3-D artists start off with a sketch, 2-D artist Janetta Napp begins with maquettes of forms she later turns into sketches. Her imaginative pieces are interesting as much for their materials — she uses found objects — as for their unique structure and the emotions they imply.

So why would she turn them into 2-D works?

"I like them to have a sense of movement and to be in an environment," she says. "If it’s night, (the setting) is darker or more somber. I also play with what it is supposed to be doing."

Napp bases her drawings on one-celled forms she examines under the microscope while feeding her interest in microbiology.

ON EXHIBIT

"In-between: Recent Works by Janetta Napp," "Horizons: Paintings by Lynne Gilroy" and "Woven Vessels"

When: Through Feb. 11, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays and until 6 p.m. Fridays

Where: The Contemporary Museum at First Hawaiian Center, 999 Bishop St.

Call: 526-0232 or visit www.tcmhi.org

 

"I’ve always been fascinated by the organic. I love forms and creating my own forms," she says.

In her artist’s statement, Napp says she likes to work in "in-between" zones, exploring places between the tangible and invisible, and the personal and anonymous.

"I search for some sort of truth that I only seem to near in the areas less defined," she writes.

Putting herself in between is something Napp does not just figuratively in her work, but literally, living in both Hawaii and Germany. She was born on Kauai and earned an undergraduate degree at the University of Hawaii before moving to Germany to earn a master of fine arts.

"I love the ocean and the people here, but I also really like the art scene in Berlin," she says.

Though she’s engaged in the scenes of both cities, Napp is reserved about stating how the two places influence her art.

"I wouldn’t really know," she says. "I guess if I compare myself to other Hawaii artists, we all love the organic, and I think that’s because we’re closer to nature than lots of other artists. There’s a multitude of forms in Hawaii and a multitude of organic forms, too.

"The somber (aspect) of my art, or the earnestness, maybe, come from my time in Germany."

Whatever the influences, much of Napp’s work is generated from her "Daily Bath" series created with a ballpoint pen on small pieces of paper that make them travel friendly.

The works are journal-like in function, a means for Napp "to try to cover every aspect of what everyone feels."

"There are thoughts, ideas and emotions, and I find there’s no one aspect that’s more valuable than another. It’s all part of the spectrum of being human."

SHOWING ALONGSIDE "In-between" are paintings by Maui artist Lynne Gilroy and woven pieces by a host of fiber artists.

Generated from photographs, Gilroy’s "Horizons" paintings take subjects that are cliches, such as sunsets, clouds and horizons, and offers a fresh presentation that explores change and time.

The artist describes her work as simultaneously "conceptual and literal, realistic and abstract."

"Woven Vessels" is a collection of woven forms made using traditional techniques and diverse, sometimes surprising, materials: fiber, glass, wood, metal and found objects.

Artists Bernice Akamine, Pam Barton, Mark Chai, Michael Mortara, Misato Mortara, Mika McCann, Scott Fitzel and Gail Toma illustrate "the evolving boundaries between functional and sculptural art," says an exhibit brochure.

 

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