Expert aesthetic


POSTED: Sunday, October 11, 2009

“;Balance”; is the word that comes to mind when considering Helen Drutt. The contemporary craft authority, who served as juror of Hawaii Craftsmen's 42nd annual Statewide Juried Exhibition, offers a total package of expertise, reflective of her 30-plus years in the field.

Drutt possesses not only the institutional knowledge from which to assess fine craft, she also has never lost her reverence for artists and their investment in their work.

“;It's always a privilege for me to come to Hawaii and be given the ability to look at work,”; she says, adding that “;serving as juror is very difficult.”;

Drutt appreciates artists' commitment and the weight of her judgment to include or exclude the fruits of their efforts. Yet she maintains high standards.

“;The range of work must ... respond to being in Hawaii. It must reflect a sense of place,”; she says. “;It can't just be global.”;

Drutt says that, likewise, her response as juror must be to “;broaden my own aesthetic. An object might not be one I respond to on the mainland, but since it's made here, I must consider it in a different way. It must be well made, of course.”;





        Hawaii Craftsmen's show features 113 pieces by 77 artists

Place: Academy Art Center, 1111 Victoria St.


On exhibit: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays, through Oct. 31


Call: 521-3282


THE END RESULT—a juried body of work—is not about her gratifying her own aesthetic sense, Drutt says.

“;I want the exhibit to reveal in the public forum the artistic sensibility in these islands,”; she says.

But Drutt realizes that's easier said than done, revealing yet another facet of her expertise: a practical awareness of what it takes to represent the creative range of a place.

“;I was pleased to see one feather maker and really delighted to see one or two gourds. These works could not be revealed in other parts of the country,”; she says. “;But there are major artists who are not part of the jurying system.

“;I saw one piece of furniture. It was remarkable. But the person lives on Oahu,”; she continues. “;Furniture makers living on other islands face the difficulties of economy of time and shipping and crating their works.”;

Drutt says that sometimes it all comes down to coordinating schedules. This year, a major furniture show on the Big Island limited what was submitted to the Craftsmen show.

“;There are many factors that make it possible to get the most positive results,”; she says.

The goal must be “;to reveal the real creative pulse of these islands: those hidden in their studios or along dirt roads who do not submit their work,”; says Drutt. “;We need to get into the crevices that exist in these islands.”;