Virtual Art Reception - Conversation with Iwalani kaluhiokalani
July 21, 2020
Location: Virtual via Zoom
In her paintings, Iwalani Kaluhiokalani studies duration in corporeal gesture. Trace forms of movement appear and disappear as absences or presences in the materiality of the paint. Sight and touch intersect and invoke feelings of connection through the ephemera of kinesthetic perception. Figurative ensembles arise in intervals as dance becomes a site of endurance. It’s repetition in space emboldens the essence of being unbound.
The arena of dance and movement philosophies of different eras inform Iwalani's paintings of figurative groupings. She creates positive and negative paper cut outs of clustered figures and paint to depict human relationships and layers of landscape. Her work often depicts “movement choirs” of the Weimar Era, a time where contemporary dance and performance art of today bear significant lineage as well as an era on the brink of disaster, World War II. The NYC Judson Dance groups and their “huddles” of the 1960’s, are also of inspiration as they sought to elevate everyday movement and free it of being theatrical. By referencing movement histories and expressions, she makes personal paintings about the body, continuity and community, giving depth to pertinent issues of today.
"I make paintings about corporeal bodies, their lack of stillness, their shift of weight into the ground beneath dancing feet. I depict their immersion into light pouring down over them or the ethers of sky floating above them. Their gestures show intense release. Using found photos from bygone eras of significant dance movements, my positive and negative silhouettes are timeless gestural figures.
In these works within UNBOUND, I have imagined a world in essential connection to people who see humanity as a collective, though always in unsettled motion. Most of these were created before COVID-19, but 8 were created during, depicting a slight shift in direction thematically as figures and landscapes are far more gestural, painterly and spill out of the borders of the hand cut positive and negative stencils they were repeatedly painted from. Their colors conjure seasons of spring and summer and budding new growth. The strokes used are much more floral, thus referencing the textures of flora and fauna. Their multitudes of bodies have essentially emerged from confinement and need to express through touch and movement.
The new normal in this series of UNBOUND is to know that nothing is ever certain, movement is change over time. It keeps us adapting as long as we are of the vast multi-colored living world. And so I make a statement that carries us on into a new future where I even suggest what a world beyond this present moment will look like. These moving beings within these paintings create and recreate their own visual and physical site of endurance".