Maui Arts & Entertainment

MACC Reopens In-Person, Abstract Art Exhibit Through September

July 6, 2021, 6:15 PM HST
* Updated July 8, 9:38 AM
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  • A sample of Abstraction x3’s Don Bernshouse Gallery at the MACC. Photo Courtesy of the Maui Arts & Cultural Center.
  • A sample of Abstraction x3’s Tom Lieber’s Gallery at the MACC. Photo Courtesy of the Maui Arts & Cultural Center.
  • A sample of Abstraction x3’s Debra Drexler’s Gallery at the MACC. Photo Courtesy of the Maui Arts & Cultural Center.

The Schaefer International Gallery at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center reopens to the public tomorrow, Wednesday, July 7 with the exhibit Abstraction x3, running from July 7 to September 4 with new gallery hours 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday.

Abstractionx3 brings together three Hawai‘i-based artists whose recent bodies of work address issues informing abstraction in the 21st century. Admission is free.

The artists in Abstraction x3 span three different islands throughout Hawai‘i and were invited to exhibit together for the first time by Gallery Director Neida Bangerter. For each, the pursuit of abstraction has become something highly personal, a chance to let their perceptions of the surrounding world and the complexities of human experience matriculate into the visual. Visitors will have the chance to navigate three very distinct takes on abstraction, each their own window into the artist’s reality.

According to Bangerter, abstraction has left an indelible imprint on the trajectory of modern art over the past century, seeking to move beyond precedent by questioning whether what is seen is what is real. Abstraction at its core is inquisitive, whether a search for purity of form, an attempt to reveal the unseen or even a fascination with the workings of the natural world. This exhibit will primarily focus on painting, ranging in scale from expansive wall-mounted canvases to intimate mixed media works on paper.

Exhibiting Artists

Don Bernshouse of Maui will exhibit a series of mixed media works on paper that date from 2008 to 2020. The uniform dimensions of the series establish a rhythmic framework for visuals ranging from vaguely recognizable figures to formal abstractions of ink, paint, graphite, and collaged paper. Collectively, they reveal the subconscious percolations of the artist’s life experiences and his reflections on mortality over a decade-long period. The selections on display are a small fraction of the artist’s prolific output, all part of a daily studio practice that he describes as an exercise in seeing what transpires, rather than focusing on the process. As a parallel to Bernshouse’s works on paper, the exhibit will include an assemblage of his ceramic sculptures. These small forms built from scratchy mark-making and visible finger imprints evoke the immediacy present throughout his entire practice, with the emergence of geometric elements hinting at his career in architecture.

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Debra Drexler of O‘ahu is active within the vastly separate art scenes of Hawai‘i and New York, maintaining a working studio space in each location. She is a Professor of Drawing and Painting in the Department of Art, the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, where she has been working as an educator since 1992. Drexler has harbored a long-lasting interest in abstraction and decided to shift from an earlier career of figuration into fully-realized abstraction around 2007-2010. She engages in a daily practice of meditation, a deeply personal experience that reveals itself the embodiment of light and the unexpected color relationships of her paintings. Her loud saturations of color evoke the synthetic experience of the omnipresent digital device, building up paint pours and thick impasto to create surfaces that then eschew the digital with a textured complexity that can only be realized in person.

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Tom Lieber of Kaua‘i is well-established in his practice of abstract painting and printmaking, having built a substantial career of work in San Francisco before moving to the Garden Isle two decades ago. Nature plays a fundamental role in his life and in his studio – he describes feeling a limitless potential for new paintings in each vista of Kaua‘i’s rich terrain. He seeks to bring out the feeling inherent in these environments rather than distilling their visual elements. This energy of the natural world echoes in Lieber’s gestural marks, which capture the dynamism of the body in swift layers of oil paint and brushstrokes that he blurs into a distinctly moody palette.

For this exhibit, much of the art is also for sale to the public.

Covid-related safety precautions

The gallery has adopted several procedures in accordance with local and state guidelines. Visitors will be limited to 15 at one time and all will be required to wear masks. A touchless hand sanitizer dispenser will be available and touchpoints such as door handles and restrooms will be sanitized regularly.

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The Abstraction x3 exhibit is supported in part by Hawai‘i Tourism through the Community Enrichment Program, and the County of Maui – Office of Economic Development.

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