Maui artists Kari McCarthy and John Shoemaker return to Viewpoints Gallery in Makawao with a joint exhibition entitled “Transitions,” August 18 through September 14. The public is invited to meet the artists at the opening reception on Saturday, August 20, from 6 to 8 p.m.
For Shoemaker, the show’s title reflects an evolution in both method and medium. After a decade as a printmaker, he now explores encaustic painting, using beeswax, pigment and heat to create his archetypal abstract compositions.
“The process has been around at least 2,500 years,” says Shoemaker. “The ancient Egyptians used it to create funeral portraits. The word ‘encaustic’ comes from the Greek ‘enkaustikos,’ meaning ‘to heat’ or ‘to burn.’ The wax must be maintained in a molten state as it’s applied.”
While his medium has changed, Shoemaker is still drawn to archetypal motifs, though adapting to the new process has encouraged more abstraction. “I love to explore, to see the different effects of color, of translucence and opacity, that result when the pigment is or is not in the wax.”
For Kari McCarthy, the theme of transition is more subtle. One of Maui’s premier colorists, she explores the influences of light and the subtle gradations of color in atmospheric landscapes, many of them views from her Upcountry home. “I love to return to the same scene, often many times, and see how it changes with the light.”
Lately, the artist finds herself returning to the same scene on canvas—and digging deeper. “I’ll start with a large seascape, and realize that I’m drawn to a detail I want to study. I’ll create a new painting to delve into that detail. As I focus more on the colors, less on the scene, some of my pieces are becoming more abstract. I’m including a number of these studies in the show, along with my landscapes.”