Sunday, April 11, 2004

On View In The Isles

An enduring subject of Horan's art is the female form. "Suzi," left, a stoneware piece from 1982, is one of many works inspired by Horan's wife, Suzi Pleyte Horan, also a ceramic artist.

With thanks
to the surf

IF not for the ocean, Hawaii's ceramics community would have been shortchanged. It was the reason Claude Horan, considered by many to be the "father of ceramics in Hawaii," took his first class at San Jose State University more than six decades ago: He wanted to study a subject that left him lots of time for the water (ie: no homework). Later, when Horan accepted the task of establishing a ceramics program at the University of Hawaii, again, it was Hawaii's proximity to the water that sealed his commitment.

"It Ain't Over 'Til Fat Lady Sings," a glazed stoneware piece from 1992, began, as many of Horan's female sculptures do, as a top-heavy vessel.

Over the years, Horan has created public works throughout Honolulu and today, counts such established isle ceramicists as Harue McVay and Toshiko Takaezu as his students.

Koa Gallery at Kapiolani Community College has named Horan the recipient of the 2004 KOA Outstanding Achievement Award, presented to individuals dedicated to the arts in Hawaii. The gallery is exhibiting Horan's work through Friday and will be honoring Horan at a dinner on Tuesday.

Through the decades, Horan has maintained his vigor for life, a quality that continues to display itself in his works. David Behlke, director of the Koa Gallery at Kapiolani Community College, calls Horan's work, "fun and whimsical."

"He's in that play space. Having taught college for so long, he's still a small kid at heart, I think."

The Koa Gallery's hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays to Fridays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. Call 734-9374 for more information.

The Contemporary Museum at Makiki Heights is also exhibiting Horan's works, through May 2. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. Call 536-0232.

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