comscore Memories adrift | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Memories adrift

    Allison Uttley Bianco explores personal history and memory through issues of loss in the exhibit "Go Ahead and Sink," showing at Hawaii Pacific University Art Gallery through March 4.
    Bianco grew up in Rhode Island where ships were part of the Atlantic Ocean landscape, prompting her to use shipwrecks as the visual theme of her exhibition.

Our responses to loss and change are as diverse as each person is individual, and so are artistic explorations on the subjects. Artist Allison Uttley Bianco utilizes a metaphor that’s unlikely in these parts but is perhaps more familiar to residents of Rhode Island, where she grew up: the sinking ship.

"The Atlantic Ocean is very different from the Pacific. The water and coastline is very different. I remember ports and ships in the ocean here," said Bianco, who earned a Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Hawaii last year and has since moved back to Rhode Island.

Bianco’s collection of drawings is showing at the Hawaii Pacific University Art Gallery in "Go Ahead and Sink," through March 4.

The show is an offshoot of the works she produced for her master’s thesis that explored nostalgia. This selection continues with a focus on personal history through issues of loss.


An exhibit of works by Allison Uttley Bianco

» When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays through March 4

» Where: Hawaii Pacific University Art Gallery, Hawaii Loa campus, 45-045 Kamehameha Highway

» Info: 544-0228


In her research, Bianco looked for ships that bore the names of friends and family she lost. Her works are depictions of numerous ships, and the drawings are matted in circular frames that mimic the effect of a porthole. All are purposely left untitled.

"These ships became a metaphor for loss in my life," she said. "It was better not to break up the flow of the installation with titles. They’re fragmented groupings of memories that (illustrate) the way memories come and go. Each memory can come at any time, and the show is a seeming continuation of memories."

Bianco’s pieces are based on both recent and historic shipwrecks in the Atlantic Ocean, and a couple of drawings are even humorous. One drawing is based on a boat that was built to look as though it were sinking.

"(The owner) actually drives it around," she said.

But even that piece has its roots in loss.

"Humor is part of the process of loss. It’s the fact that you look back on what happened and make light of situations to make yourself feel better," Bianco said.

"I’ve used shipwrecks instead of familiar home objects to freeze that moment in time between life and death. I catch that moment of metamorphosis, that moment of change."


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