January 19, 2007
Maui Art Scene
I was surprised to discover recently that Maui is home to some serious art. One of the things that traveling to Europe brought up for me in December, was how much I missed looking at great art and often.
For those who have lived in the Bay Area for longer, Hawaii is an easy and short plane ride, so most on the left coast may be aware of Maui's art scene....I'm learning that Hawaii and Tahoe are the equivalents of the East Coaster's Caribbean and Martha's Vineyard, Vermont and the Jersey Shore. Short but common hops for a weekend getaway.
While slowly meandering down Lahaina's Front Street, I poked my head into what I thought was going to be one of those tacky tourist galleries, the ones with the loud brash oil landscapes, the bright pastelled still lives and retro-posters. It was a "Chagall" poster that brought me into Martin Lawrence gallery and only after walking around for ten minutes or so, did I realize that it was not a poster after all.
An hour later, I left feeling much "fuller" after feeding my soul with original (and replicas, lithographs, etc) of Chagall, Rembrant and Picasso. Sargent's Fine Art Gallery and Lahaina Galleries had some nice finds as well, including the works of Alessio and Marcello Bugagiar, brothers whose combined style aim to revive the romance of the Renaissance.
I really liked the work of Jamali, who is all about mystical expressionism. One of the art dealers described his work as "dark," and oddly, I didn't think so at all....then again, I only saw a half a dozen paintings and his collection of fresco tempera. His pigmentaton on cork feels somber but I found him fascinating.
The source of Jamali's art and his life lies in the primordial spiritual traditions of the East. In his birthplace Peshawar, the Asian crossroads city, Jamali brings in Buddhist, Hindu, and Sufi ideas. Through many of his works, persistent themes and mythic imagery of dream figures seem to appear and then fade away -- mothers, sons, lovers and dream guides. I think this sums up why I was drawn to his work right away - he brings us toward "the beautiful resolution of opposing forces" — the moment of transcendence in which art coincides with peace.
A complete listing of Maui art galleries can be found here.
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