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By Treena Shapiro

As an accomplished artist with seven children and a full-time career, Helen O. Gilbert-Bushnell possessed an uncommon energy, her husband, Kenneth W. Bushnell, said.

"She would be up at 4 in the morning doing things, and she was just a reservoir of power. I don't know how she did it," he said.

Through principally a painter, early in her career, Gilbert-Bushnell pioneered the use of polarized light in kinetic sculpture and moved into abstract work dealing with architectural planes. Her last few paintings were still lifes from nature, Bushnell said.

Gilbert-Bushnell, 80, died of cancer Monday at her home.

She graduated from Punahou School, received her bachelor's degree in art at Mills College in Oakland, Calif., and earned a master's degree in fine art at the University of Hawaii-Manoa, where she taught for 30 years.

She also held appointments as visiting professor of art at Parson's School of Design and Pratt Institute in New York.

Bushnell's paintings and prints have been exhibited nationally and internationally. Some of her work was exhibited with the American Abstract Artist Portfolio edition at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Tate Gallery in London and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

Her work is also part of local collections at the Honolulu Academy of Arts, the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, the Contemporary Museum, the Persis Collection and others.

Gilbert-Bushnell is survived by her husband; daughters Rondi, Kristin and Lisa; sons Galen, Fred and Gerry; sisters Patricia Coulter and Mary Ann Grady; and six grandchildren.

Private services have already been held.

Donations may be made to the Helen Gilbert-Bushnell Memorial Award for Painting fund through the University of Hawaii Foundation.

E-mail to City Desk


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