HAWA September 2008 : 64

THE BY SHANE NELSON RADAR ART INVASIVE MEASURES Anna Peach’s artistic creations go way beyond ready-to-wear SomeHawaii vacationmemories are best forgotten. Six days of rain during a weeklongMaui getaway, for example, or maybe the novel sensation of a box jellyfi sh sting. Nobody’s scheduling itinerary time for these beauties. For artist Anna Peach, however, surviving an activity tourists hope to avoid only encouraged a later fascination. “One of my memories of our fi rst trip was that I was one of the near casualties of a Waikiki rip current,” she explains. “I was just a ten-year-old kid fl oating around and then all of a sudden the pink hotel is disappearing and I was like ‘Whoa!’” Above, from left to right: ‘Metamorphosis,’ ‘Fertility Suit,’ ‘Seed’ and ‘The Moment of Transition.’ Below: ‘Crop Circle.’ Considering the trauma of such a fright, it’s no wonder it took Peach so long to come back.During the time away she tried out business school in Chicago—only about an hour from the 40-acre Wisconsin farm she grew up on. Later, thanks in large part to the advice of several professors, she quit working on economics and fi nance to try an undergraduate degree in art. She started getting paid for painting murals during art school, traveled to Ireland after graduation for a change of perspective, and there began working primarily with black-and-white aerial photography. Peach says she fell in love with islands while in living in Ireland, which led to later trips and work all over the South Pacifi c in places like Tahiti, Fiji, the Cook Islands, Samoa and New Zealand. ButHawaii, it seems, never stopped calling.And not too terribly long after receiving what she describes as some “very cryptic” advice from a tribal chief in the Cook Islands—suggesting she “learn from our big brother Hawaii”— Peach was living on the Big Island in the “tough” little town ofHonokaa. So why come back to Hawaii after nearly drowning off Waikiki? And what’s so darn fascinating about islands anyway? “Th ey’ve got a cutting edge,” Peach says. “Islands so often have a genuinely diffi cult history to them and that’s what really makes them beautiful… they all have kind of a dark side and a light side to them, and Hawaii’s defi nitely that kind of place. It’s very volatile and yet it’s so often dismissed as just this pretty, pretty place.” Much of Peach’s Honokaa work—primarily dresses and swimsuits— explores the subtleties of Hawaii’s personality from different perspectives. Crafted with seeds frominvasive plants, some of her garments were designed to bring attention toHawaii’s ongoing struggle with non-native species. The spirituality of Hawaiian culture is another important theme. Look closely at the swimsuits and dresses and you’ll see they aren’t just flat. Th e idea here is to give viewers the sense that someone’s wearing them, someone we can’t necessarily see but who’s there nonetheless. And Peach says her Big Island creations are also sort of a “tongue-in-cheek” self-portrait, clothing that the artist—an invasive species of sorts in her own right—could actually wear. “I’ve always tried to approachmy art fromdiff erent perspectives,” Peach explains. “I don’t spell it out like this is the right way to see it or that’s the wrong way. Th ree people will view these pieces and each will see something completely diff erent. And that’s very important for me.” See Anna Peach’s work in Th e Contemporary Fiber Art of Hawaii exhibition at Th e Contemporary Museum at First Hawaiian Bank, Sept. 26-Jan. 13. Call 536.5973 or visit www.tcmhi.org for more information. 64 > FALL 2008

The Radar Art

INVASIVE MEASURES <br /> <br /> Anna Peach’s artistic creations go way beyond ready-to-wear <br /> <br /> Some Hawaii vacation memories are best forgotten. Six days of rain during a weeklong Maui getaway, for example, or maybe the novel sensation of a box jellyfi sh sting. Nobody’s scheduling itinerary time for these beauties. For artist Anna Peach, however, surviving an activity tourists hope to avoid only encouraged a later fascination. <br /> <br /> “One of my memories of our fi rst trip was that I was one of the near casualties of a Waikiki rip current,” she explains. “I was just a ten-year-old kid fl oating around and then all of a sudden the pink hotel is disappearing and I was like ‘Whoa!’”<br /> <br /> Considering the trauma of such a fright, it’s no wonder it took Peach so long to come back. During the time away she tried out business school in Chicago—only about an hour from the 40-acre Wisconsin farm she grew up on. Later, thanks in large part to the advice of several professors, she quit working on economics and fi nance to try an undergraduate degree in art. She started getting paid for painting murals during art school, traveled to Ireland after graduation for a change of perspective, and there began working primarily with black-and-white aerial photography. Peach says she fell in love with islands while in living in Ireland, which led to later trips and work all over the South Pacifi c in places like Tahiti, Fiji, the Cook Islands, Samoa and New Zealand. <br /> <br /> But Hawaii, it seems, never stopped calling. And not too terribly long after receiving what she describes as some “very cryptic” advice from a tribal chief in the Cook Islands—suggesting she “learn from our big brother Hawaii”— Peach was living on the Big Island in the “tough” little town of Honokaa. <br /> <br /> So why come back to Hawaii after nearly drowning off Waikiki? And what’s so darn fascinating about islands anyway? <br /> <br /> “They’ve got a cutting edge,” Peach says. “Islands so often have a genuinely diffi cult history to them and that’s what really makes them beautiful… they all have kind of a dark side and a light side to them, and Hawaii’s defi nitely that kind of place. It’s very volatile and yet it’s so often dismissed as just this pretty, pretty place.” <br /> <br /> Much of Peach’s Honokaa work—primarily dresses and swimsuits— explores the subtleties of Hawaii’s personality from diff erent perspectives. Crafted with seeds from invasive plants, some of her garments were designed to bring attention to Hawaii’s ongoing struggle with non-native species. Th e spirituality of Hawaiian culture is another important theme. Look closely at the swimsuits and dresses and you’ll see they aren’t just fl at. Th e idea here is to give viewers the sense that someone’s wearing them, someone we can’t necessarily see but who’s there nonetheless. And Peach says her Big Island creations are also sort of a “tongue-in-cheek” self-portrait, clothing that the artist—an invasive species of sorts in her own right—could actually wear. <br /> <br /> “I’ve always tried to approach my art from diff erent perspectives,” Peach explains. “I don’t spell it out like this is the right way to see it or that’s the wrong way. Th ree people will view these pieces and each will see something completely diff erent. And that’s very important for me.”

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