Sunday, December 1, 2002

On View In The Islands

Ryan Higa's "Nude Sockets" exhibition at Hawaii Pacific Univeristy Gallery features acrylic drawings on wood. "Keen," above, sells for $165. "Madame Horowitz's Estate Sale," a whimsical show by Debbie Mitchell, runs in conjunction with Higa's work.

Color and style

Ryan Higa and Debbie Mitchell
bring whimsy and attitude to
Hawaii Pacific University Gallery
with their "Nude Sockets" and "Madame
Horowitz's Estate Sale" exhibitions

By Star-Bulletin Staff

Debbie Mitchell calls "Madame Horowitz's Estate Sale," a "girly show." The fanciful display of assemblages include colorful, outrageously embellished shoes, hats and furniture made of such materials as papier mache and glass.

Mitchell's exhibit has its nucleus in one of her drawings. "When I draw, I create stories about the characters," she says. Here's Madame Horowitz's tale:

"Madame Horowitz lived in a 44-room manse with 127 cats. She made lots of money working the streets and then transformed herself.

"She had huge, giant boobs -- they weren't her real boobs, and she had her face done several times -- and a tiny waist. She's your basic, generic slut."

With the madame's passing, an estate sale of her personal effects -- Mitchell's creations -- is being held.

"The show is pure, unadulterated silliness," she says. "I don't know know if you could call it art. It's just fun."

Mitchell's works include papier mache "Going to Court Shoes" ($85) and "Pearl Cabinet" ($180), both life size.

FOR RYAN HIGA, "NUDE SOCKETS" began with its title.

"I chose it because it relates to images and themes -- and I liked how the words sound together."

Higa says the word "nude" is laden with meaning. Symbolically, it can mean feeling uncovered and vulnerable.

"Very different definitions are all related," he says. "They're tied in human frailties and failings, in feelings of awkwardness."

Higa's explorations are literally colored almost exclusively in pink. It's a color that intrigues him.

"Pink is a loaded color. It provokes an immediate response. It makes you feel something," Higa says. "I like the connotations that the color brings."

"Madame Horowitz's Estate Sale" and "Nude Sockets" run through Jan. 24 at Hawaii Pacific University Art Gallery, 45-045 Kamehameha Highway. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays. Call 544-0287.

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