Friday - December 26, 2008
The best way to experience the art of painter Shawn Ardoin is to see the brightly colored, outrageous geometrical shapes and textures he applies in his paintings, and then talk to him. His soft-spoken, gentle manner is a good juxtaposition that makes his art fun and whimsical.
“The work is happy,” says Ardoin. “I guess what I’ve tried to do is try to create something that’s approachable by a larger audience, that at the same time can be put in a serious vein as an artwork in regard to technique or style.”
Ardoin recently moved from Oahu to Maui, and holds a day job as a horticulturist. “Art is my second job,” he says.
As with other artists profiled in this column, it’s always hard to pinpoint an exact time when Ardoin began enjoying art and taking it seriously. But, when pressured, he says painting began to play a larger role in his life during his college years at Louisiana Tech. “Painting kind of took over the (landscape) architectural part at some point,“he says.“Before that, I was always inclined toward the arts, but it really started to develop when I had some direction in college.”
Ardoin’s art has many elements at work in each piece. Squares and other straight-edged shapes fill the space in radiant primary and secondary colors, and to add more flavor,he adds bolts and blocks.“I kinda was playing around with different materials over the years,“he explains, adding that he paints on wood boards so he can apply bolts and other elements.
The bolts and wooden blocks attached to each painting are meant to accentuate its geometric shapes.“It’s kind of like an echo of the shape that’s been painted, in a way,“he says.
Another signature piece Ardoin paints is a large segmented fish using the same color schemes. The fish is usually painted on two separate boards and can be hung the tradition head-leading-to-tail way or the eye-catching tailfin-facing-head position.
When asked where he draws his inspiration, Ardoin says it’s simply getting his artistic ideas and thoughts out of his head. “It’s just all of these images and ideas that I have, and the drive to get those images and compositions down onto the panel or canvas so I can move onto the next thing.”
Ardoin’s work can be seen regularly at Haleiwa Art Gallery, or on his website at http://www.shawnardoin.com.
The internationally acclaimed Makk family - dad Americo, mom Eva, son A.B. and daughter-in-law Sylvia - will show a retrospective of their works from more than 50 years of painting this weekend from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, and 3 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki. Works will be for sale.
Artwork shown include several unseen Amazon jungle paintings from the days when impressionist painters Eva and Americo were commissioned by the Brazilian government to paint the region’s native tribes and scenery. The family also will be on site to discuss their works, and talk story with art enthusiasts.
“The Makks represent true regality,“says Dayna Kalakau, the family’s spokesperson. “This retrospective is the perfect opportunity to reintroduce them to Hawaii, the place they love and have lived for 40 years. They are the Rembrandts and the Renoirs of our time, and are truly deserving of such a show.”
Americo was born in Hungary and met Eva while attending the Academy of Fine Art of Rome. Eva, who also is of Hungarian descent, was continuing her education after graduating from the Fine Art Academy of Paris.
The couple moved to Brazil in 1949, where A.B. was born, and became professors of art and official artists of the Brazilian government, which led them on a two-year journey through the Amazon to document its native inhabitants.
Many of the pieces on display are seri-graphs, renditions of the originals made by silkscreening in a complicated process that requires up to 90 layers to create one piece.
“This show is a collective of all my family has done,” says the 57-year-old A.B., who also is an accomplished painter. “It represents our best, and it is, perhaps, something Hawaii has never seen before. There will be unveilings of artwork never seen before that was made over half a century ago. This retrospective will be more than an exhibit; it’s like revealing the riches in a treasure chest.”
Other family accomplishments include several church ceiling murals in both Brazil and on the mainland U.S. - the most famous is the Metropolitan Cathedral in Manaus, Brazil, and the newest is the Queen of Peace Church in Aurora, Colo., completed in 2001.
In more recent news, Americo underwent back surgery and is now recovering quite well.“He is already back painting a large piece, and even the surgeon is shocked at how well he is recovering,” says Kalakau. “Though he still has pain, he’s working through it.”
“We try to add a little bit in our humble contribution to wherever we travel, whether it be socially or physically capturing the beauty and the heartbeat of the place,” says Eva, who is in her mid-70s. “My husband and I, throughout our history in art, try to capture the transient beauty and the ephemeral feeling of the people and the places we tread.”
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