Powerful visuals

Show, don’t tell.

It’s a common writing adage that’s used to describe the way in which writers, rather than telling their audiences what to think, allow readers to experience a story through senses, words, actions, thoughts and feelings.

But it’s a concept that can apply to works of art as well, and Rose Anne Jones, who is the co-chair of this year’s Art Kauai exhibition for the Kauai Society of Arts.

“Some people want to see really, really edgy art and I guess I’d say our art can be edgy sometimes, but a lot of it is quietly making statements, so we’re not into shock value of art here,” Jones said. “But you can make a serious statement, too, with your art.”

She points to acrylic painting now hanging in the KSA gallery in Kukui Grove Center created by Kauai artist Alfred Gray called “Cutting Cane.”

The piece, she explains, was inspired by an old photograph and depicts an unidentified Lihue Plantation Company worker, clad in overalls and clutching a scythe, in a cleared cane field with a mill in the background.

“I don’t know what it was like to work in the sugar cane fields, but a lot of people have parents who worked in them and experienced firsthand that kind of labor,” Jones said. “We can’t possibly know what it was like to spend every day bending over working in the fields, but doesn’t that painting tell you everything?” 

It is an experience that, she said, is elicited in many of the art works that will be showcased during this year’s Art Kauai event, which kicks off at 5 p.m. today at Kukui Grove Center.

“It’s the premier exhibition on Kauai for two-dimensional and three-dimensional works because the best in show can win awards … and there’s a lot of interest in it,” Jones said. 

This year, the exhibition was juried by Rich Richardson, the executive director of The ARTS at Mark’s Garage and the Hawaii Academy of Performing Arts in downtown Honolulu.

In all, he chose a total of 63 pieces from 44 artists out of the 128 pieces from 55 artists submitted for the show.

“That makes for a lot of disappointed people and we hate to disappoint anybody,” Jones said. “A lot of the artists would get maybe one piece out of their three maximum entries into the show, a couple got two or three pieces and some people didn’t get anything.”

She said Richardson was looking for several key features in the art that he chose for this year’s Art Kauai show: skill, quality, creativity, and “that special something that might give you a surprise.”

Of the 63 art works that will be showcased, about 10 will receive awards from Richardson on Friday night.

Jones said members of the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts will also be in town on Friday to see if there are any pieces that they would recommend purchasing for the state’s art collection.

Any selected pieces are given a Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts Acquisition Award, which means that “the particular work of art has been given a recommendation for purchase,” according to the state-funded committee’s website.

Those recommendations are then handed to an art acquisition committee that makes a final decision on which pieces should be purchased.

Last year, Jones said, the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts purchased four pieces and spent slightly more than $6,000.

The Art Kauai exhibition will run through Halloween at the Kauai Society of Artists Exhibition Space in Kukui Grove Center, which is open daily, except for Friday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The space is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. every Friday.

For more information, contact the Kauai Society of Artists at artinkauai@gmail.com.

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