HAWA Summer 2010 : Page 32

the RadaR | art straight edge tCM’s Biennial of Hawaii Artists IX, opening in september, will feature an enormous wood cut work by abigail romanchak. Prints Charming With patterns as intricate as her name, Abigail Lee Kahilikia Romanchak makes a statement at TCM this fall | By Shane Nelson | Photography by Jyoti Mau | Abigail Lee Kahilikia Romanchak isn’t a name you come across every day. For first-timers, in fact, just hearing it pronounced correctly inspires all sorts of questions about origins. And while many might identify the Hawaiian influence without much trouble, the fact that Romanchak is a Ukrainian surname is a little tougher to guess. Like the story of her diverse heritage, the Maui-born, 33- year-old’s art work is generally the product of many different influences: lithography, wood cuts, etching, screen prints, even photographs. Printmakers make frequent use of all sorts of skills and varied approaches, and Romanchak says those methods have always fascinated her. “I found myself obsessed with the process that printmakers involve in their work,” she explains. “And I just fell in love with the techniques.” Romanchak grew up in Maui’s quiet Mākena region with two brothers and no television. Spending so much time outdoors, inventing games with her brothers, and relying regularly on her imagination in her formative years seems to have had a lasting impact. “I think that was the beginning of me having a very sensitive eye,” Romanchak says. “I was always looking at things carefully and observing.” Perhaps it’s no surprise that Maui itself, and Romanchak’s 32 | | Summer 2010 connection with the Hawaiian culture, have inspired so much of the artist’s work. Her interest in traditional kapa-making and the watermarks embossed on the fabric led to a vibrant collection of richly patterned prints exhibited as Romanchak’s 2004 MFA thesis show at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Two years later, the contrast of contemporary Maui with its centuries-old land divisions grabbed her attention. “I became very interested in how the landscape of Maui was changing and being divided and developed,” Romanchak says. “So I created a solo exhibit commenting on that.” Her work is prominently displayed throughout the islands in the private collections of Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, Hawaii National Bank and Nordstrom to name a few. Beginning September 10, folks visiting Te Contemporary Museum’s Biennial of Hawaii Artists IX will be able to enjoy an enormous—9 feet tall by 20 feet wide—Romanchak wood cut inspired by conservation work in Maui’s most remote watershed. “I’m always trying to make a statement with my work,” she says of the Biennial. “And I’m really thankful for such a wonderful opportunity to reach so many viewers.” For more information, visit abigailromanchak.com

Art

Shane Nelson

Prints Charming<br /> <br /> Abigail Lee Kahilikia Romanchak isn’t a name you come across every day. For first-timers, in fact, just hearing it pronounced correctly inspires all sorts of questions about origins. And while many might identify the Hawaiian influence without much trouble, the fact that Romanchak is a Ukrainian surname is a little tougher to guess. <br /> <br /> Like the story of her diverse heritage, the Maui-born, 33- year-old’s art work is generally the product of many different influences: lithography, wood cuts, etching, screen prints, even photographs. Printmakers make frequent use of all sorts of skills and varied approaches, and Romanchak says those methods have always fascinated her. “I found myself obsessed with the process that printmakers involve in their work,” she explains. “And I just fell in love with the techniques.” <br /> <br /> Romanchak grew up in Maui’s quiet Makena region with two brothers and no television. Spending so much time outdoors, inventing games with her brothers, and relying regularly on her imagination in her formative years seems to have had a lasting impact. “I think that was the beginning of me having a very sensitive eye,” Romanchak says. “I was always looking at things carefully and observing.” <br /> <br /> Perhaps it’s no surprise that Maui itself, and Romanchak’s connection with the Hawaiian culture, have inspired so much of the artist’s work. Her interest in traditional kapa-making and the watermarks embossed on the fabric led to a vibrant collection of richly patterned prints exhibited as Romanchak’s 2004 MFA thesis show at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. Two years later, the contrast of contemporary Maui with its centuries-old land divisions grabbed her attention. “I became very interested in how the landscape of Maui was changing and being divided and developed,” Romanchak says. “So I created a solo exhibit commenting on that.” Her work is prominently displayed throughout the islands in the private collections of Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, Hawaii National Bank and Nordstrom to name a few. <br /> <br /> Beginning September 10, folks visiting Te Contemporary Museum’s Biennial of Hawaii Artists IX will be able to enjoy an enormous—9 feet tall by 20 feet wide—Romanchak wood cut inspired by conservation work in Maui’s most remote watershed. “I’m always trying to make a statement with my work,” she says of the Biennial. “And I’m really thankful for such a wonderful opportunity to reach so many viewers.”

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