"Invasive Repeat," digital wallpaper on wood panel, is among the works in "Paradise Revisited," an exhibit of recent works by Alison Moritsugu, a former isle resident who now lives in New York.
Sometimes it takes perspective from afar to really see with clarity. For Honolulu-born Alison Moritsugu, leaving Hawaii for college and settling in Beacon, N.Y., allowed her to see how "outside influences continue to shape Hawaii's land and culture."
Moritsugu explores this theme in "Paradise Revisited," on exhibit at The Contemporary Museum at First Hawaiian Center through Jan. 8. Works range from intricately painted, familiar scenes of isle landscapes to a sconce made of kukui nuts and wood.
"Banana Poka," a closeup look at one of the images in the "Invasive Repeat" wallpaper, at top.
The sconce is a modern reinterpretation of the objects and symbols of sovereignty collected by King Kalakaua, bringing together materials and motifs from Hawaii's history with current issues of land use and local culture. Another piece, a digital wallpaper that repeats pretty images of three invasive plants, hides endangered native species and their bird pollinators in the negative space of the pattern.
Moritsugu returns to the isles every several years, and says that even in those rather short snippets of time, changes to the landscape and culture "are vastly apparent." Her show offers local residents some visual food for thought about our home and the direction it's headed.
The Contemporary Museum at First Hawaiian Center is open 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays and until 6 p.m. Fridays. Call 526-0232.
"Tall Sassafras Slice I" is an oil on sassafras log.
A detail shot of a candlenut sconce Moritsugu created using kukui nuts, wood and metal.
"Big Pineapple" is an oil on panel in a koa frame that references the once-powerful pineapple industry in Hawaii.