HONOLULU — “Unpleasant Conversations” with Princeville artist Roberta Griffith starts July 28 and continues through November at the John Dominis and Patches Damon Holt Gallery at the Honolulu Museum of Art.
The event opens to the public during ARTafterDARK from 6 to 9 p.m.
“Unpleasant Conversations” is two parts, consisting of “Unpleasant Conversation 46,” which include 46 porcelain plates with four fired-on decals made from original “The NO Series” ink drawings by Griffith. “NO,” “NOT,” “NOPE,” “NO-NO” is installed around the gallery on a yellow band embellished with a narrow red line and arrow.
“Beginning with NO, The NO Series expanded to include the words NEVER, NOT, NOPE, NOTHING and NO-NO,” Griffith said while describing the show. “These negatives are a visual response to natural and man-made disasters, political and social conflicts, and incivilities that plague our contemporary world.”
At the center, “Unpleasant Conversation 21” includes 21 porcelain plates with fired-on decals created from original “The NO Series” installed in disarray on a square black table.
The idea of conversation is further examined through variations of the text.
Griffith, who has been incorporating image transfers into her ceramic work since the 1970s, said research for “Unpleasant Conversations” started three years ago.
“I began painting abstract compositions with underglaze colors, including text, on thin porcelain sheets, then kiln-firing them for permanence,” she said. “The text consisted of one word — ‘NO.’”
Griffith, traveling internationally with her works on ceramics, has presented at the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts in Kansas City, Missouri. She also presented recently at the International Academy of Ceramics in Barcelona, Spain, where she studied on a Fulbright Grant from 1962 to 1964.
Her most recent artistic endeavor started after the passing of her husband Bill Woods in February 2016.
“He made it possible for me to remain here in our home for as long as I live,” Griffith said. “I remained in Barcelona for the month following the International Academy of Ceramics presentation. I hadn’t been there in 16 years since my last major solo exhibition in the Museum of Ceramics. I was staying in the home of my friend and worked together while I was living and working in Spain.”
Following a trip to Hong Kong to help her son, Griffith returned to her studio in Otego, New York, to continue work on her installation for the museum. In April, she received an all-expenses-paid invitation to an International Ceramic Cultural Exchange in Yixing, China.
“Yixing is the teapot city of China,” Griffith said. “They grow wonderful green tea there as well. There were 75 potters representing 25 countries, and I have a lot of new potter friends from around the world. It was a trip of a lifetime. We were all featured with two works each in an exhibition at the City Museum of Yixing. I now have work in their permanent collection.”
Griffith is also exhibiting at the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art in Sedalia, Missouri, with “New Works Now 3; Recent Additions to the Collection,” from which two works were acquired by the museum.
“This (Honolulu Museum of Art) show is important to me,” she said. “I did just turn 80 in May, and I am making art full time. Life is good.”