John Wisnosky works in his studio in this photo taken in 1982.
Celebrating a life
An exhibition at WCC shows several facets of John Wisnosky's artwork and personality
"John Wisnosky: Little Seen, Less Seen, Unseen," a retrospective that was in the planning stages before the artist died last May, has opened at Windward Community College's 'Iolani Gallery as a celebration of Wisnosky's life work.
"Little Seen, Less Seen, Unseen":
On view: 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday
Place: 'Iolani Gallery, Windward Community College
As the 15-year chairman of the University of Hawaii-Manoa Department of Art, Wisnosky inspired many students to become teachers and artists, and never stopped practicing his craft, particularly in the atmospheric rendering of light on land and cloud-scapes.
He had a full life that art aficionados would say involved two careers, the second embracing his alter ego SAM redspoon, whose work involved colorful and lighthearted, photo-inspired images of people going about the business of enjoying life. Images from the exhibition showcase both aspects of the artist's personality and ability.
Friends, family and colleagues gathered at a Remembrance Celebration Jan. 20 that coincided with the show's opening under the Koolaus, where clouds like those that always fascinated the artist bloomed and dissipated without obscuring the mountaintops or blocking the sun, causing friends to remark, "He would have loved this."
This 1996 acrylic on watercolor paper cloudscape by John Wisnosky is untitled.
A tableau of the artist's studio accompanies an exhibition of his work at Windward Community College's 'Iolani Gallery.
The celebration "was something my daughter and I really wanted to do, because if John were alive he would have wanted to make an occasion for people to have a good time," said Wisnosky's wife, MiMi.
Among his favorite foods offered to guests at a buffet table were potato kugeli, brie, salmon mousse, shrimp cocktail, roasted vegetables, hummus, brownies and Ben & Jerry's ice cream.
In the foyer leading to the exhibition, family members set up a tableau of Wisnosky's working studio with a drawing table blanketed with brushes, paint tubes and objects such as coconuts, orchid plants and automobiles that were recurring images in the artist's still lifes.
"He always loved cars," MiMi said while confessing, "They all looked alike to me, but I tried to pay attention."
A sign alongside a bucket of toy cars on the shelf invited guests to "take one" in Wisnosky's memory, and for those who missed it, daughter Mimi E. Wisnosky-Chang made the rounds to make sure everyone left with a car.
An untitled watercolor by Wisnosky.
COURTESY NADINE KAM
At a Remembrance Celebration at WCC, John Wisnosky's daughter Mimi distributed toy cars to guests. Cars were among the artists' many passions.
"A Cup of Joe," a 1995 acrylic work credited to John Wisnosky's alter ego, SAM redspoon.