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Volcanic Conversations at La Huipilista Artspace

By Zola Delburn

Hawaii-based artist Rose-Marie Glen is all about the lava. From the moment she arrived on the island of Hawaii seven years ago, she was taken by the inescapable old flows cutting swaths down the mountains defining the landscape. As a painter and installation artist, her focus has been the effect of time passing, the changes made to our environment and what is lost and what is gained. The lava embodied all of this.

Known for large-scale installation pieces created in Germany and in Gloucester, Massachusetts, she recently immersed herself in the art of Japanese wood block printing known as Mokuhanga, studying with Hawaiian National Treasure artist Hiroki Morinoue. Carving blocks and hand printing with energetic movements seemed a natural way to express this force of nature. The Mokuhanga artist does all aspects of the print making from preparing the wood block, to carving the design and hand printing with water color on washi (rice or mulberry paper) with a baren. She recently was one of six artists from around the world who attended the Mi-Lab Mokuhanga Artist-in-Residence program in Kawaguchiko, Japan, at the base of Mount Fuji.

Then, just as she decided to seek new themes to express, a major event occurred two months ago. Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano, which is reigned over by the Goddess Pele, became highly active—the summit crater collapsed, more than 9,000 earthquakes ensued to date ,and 22 new fissures began disgorging magma from the depths of the earth at a mighty rate, eating up the landscape, with homes, farms, the magical bay of Kapoho—all buried. The flow goes on punctuating daily life on the island with emissions, searing hot magma and even spun glass called Pele’s hair. Pele’s sister volcanos have also spoken in Guatemala, Fuego, and in Mexico, Popocatepetl and others in the Pacific are making their voices heard. There was no escaping the need to carry on with the all-encompassing demanding endlessly fascinating motif. The large 1.5.x 1.5 meter focal piece of the exhibit, Madame Pele Speaks, incorporates 5 blocks printed on washi collaged as a hanging viewable from both sides.

The legend of Pele is deeply embedded in the culture of the Hawaiian people. She is revered and feared and accepted. The awe of the birth of new land mixed with destruction is taken as all part of life. The story of Pele is that of a rambunctious, vengeful, and jealous woman who fought with other gods and her sister before finally settling at Hale Ma’u Ma’u crater on the summit of Kilauea. Today her power cannot be denied. This power drives the art.

Along with prints, collage, and mixed media works, pieces in the exhibit also reflect some of the places that have influenced her art, including Japan, Peru, Canada, the East Coast of the US, and México, using various techniques such as shibori indigo and as thread tying on washi and fabric.


Art Opening

Work from Rose-Marie Glen

Fri, Jul 20, 6–8pm

La Huilpilista Artspace

Julian Carillo 1, Colonia Guadalupe

Exhibit: July 15–August 15

Contact: 415 121 0661


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