SYSTEMS: 2017 Bachelor of Fine Arts Exhibition



UH M? Noa Art Gallery presents an encouraging collection of new works from its graduates of the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design and Studio Art. Fun ideas in a range of materials make these shows a must-see, along with the closing festivities of the Honolulu Biennale.

Allyn Goo. Social interactions: local pest control, 2017. Mixed media.

SYSTEMS: 2017, the exhibition of the Bachelor of Fine Arts at UH M? Noa continues until May 12 at the UH Art Department Gallery. Design graduates are on display in the Commons Gallery next door. Free parking on Sunday. Congratulations to the art gallery installation team for a most favorable arrangement !!

SYSTEMS: 2017 Bachelor of Fine Arts Exhibition
presents works by BFA students in graphic design + art studio
April 23 – May 12, 2017
Commons Gallery (BFA graphic design)
The art gallery (studio art BFA)

noe tanigawa

Credit noe tanigawa

Jonell Carlo Talabong Jugueta. Cooked rice, 2017. Gelatin silver prints. Beautiful portraits.

The question is, how did twenty diverse fine arts graduates come to such a cohesive and satisfying performance? You walk into a school of fish near Sheanae Tam for one thing. Look for Allyn Goo’s Cockroach Crusher. It’s a physical spectacle.

Artist, associate professor, Wendy Kawabata was one of the advisers of the BFA.

Kawabata: It’s one of my favorite things about this band. There is a renewed desire to work with his hands, to know everything about the behavior of the material chosen, to understand its history.

Kawabata points to four jaw-dropping wooden emblems that hang in the show – massive cat cradles carved out of tree trunk blocks.


Dr Hara. K? Kulu a Pa’a 2017. Mixed media.

Kawabata: It reminds me of the four hanging wooden sculptures, hanging from the rope. Sean Ross worked on them where the tree fell on the bank of the creek by Hawaiian Studies. Most of the production of this work took place at the stream bed site with a chainsaw. I think that’s part of what makes the piece speak so loudly, it’s the contact with the material in its place from the start.

Carving with a chainsaw is not like painting with a brush, which comes with centuries of historical baggage. Painter Kainoa Gruspe grapples with this every time he puts his brush on a painting.

noe tanigawa

Credit noe tanigawa

Kainoa Gruspe. Technique Mixte.

Gruspe: I guess with all of them I was sort of undermining or making fun of tech education.

You can do this when you’re really into it, and skillful rendering becomes one language you can deploy.

Gruspe: Take an innocent kid drawing and turn it into a serious painting.

He ends up saying that this kid might be right. Do you think you’ve got your work cut out for you trying to grab people’s attention in the age of virtual reality?

Gruspe: I guess I’m trying to do something that I haven’t seen or something that I would just like to watch. I feel like with the era of virtual reality and digital technology, it’s exciting to come back to it. Come here and see a seven foot canvas painting, I think it’s still refreshing.


Ira Villafranca. Reality of escape. Acrylic paint on wood cut with gesso.

Also refreshing, the three-dimensional comic book world of Ira Villafranca and the obscured images of Monica Woolsey from Tomi Lahren and Donald Trump. Kana Ogawa’s take on Western arts education was honored with a Box Jelly purchase award, well done Box Jelly! Momoe Nakajima’s golden ceramics, Taylor Johnson’s collection of feathers, bones and memorabilia, Allyn Goo’s cockroach breaker and so many other pieces make this a memorable sight.

noe tanigawa

Credit noe tanigawa

Kana Ogawa. New Cloud 2017. Acrylic, gouache on canvas. Won a Box Jelly purchase prize, that’s good Box Jelly!

When it comes to delivering for a show, how do you dig deeper to bring things together?

Kawabata: As an artist and as a teacher, it’s about time spent. The more time you spend in the studio, with your material in the studio, and get response from a group of honest, supportive artists, the easier the process becomes. It’s never really easy.

Kawabata says this group of fine arts students have supported each other remarkably. I wonder what they are going to do around this time next year?


noe tanigawa

Credit noe tanigawa

(ld) Emily Boehm. Flowers, 2016-17. Charcoal on watercolor paper. Eric Cabato. Interim Liminalité, 2017. Engraving ink on paper. Taylor Johnson. Return to the old house. Lithographs, found objects, hand-printed wallpaper. (foreground) Momoe Nakajima. Put the roots. Sandstone.



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