Artists of Hawai‘i 2015 Update

More on the upcoming Artists of Hawai‘i exhibition, opening July 2nd, 2015 at the Honolulu Museum of Art.

Artist Emily McIlroy, assistant curator of arts of Hawai‘i Healoha Johnston, Jensen, and Love take in McIlroy’s ‘Sky Burial’

Artist Emily McIlroy, assistant curator of arts of Hawai‘i Healoha Johnston, Jensen, and Love take in McIlroy’s ‘Sky Burial’

With the opening of Artists of Hawai‘i 2015 less than two months away, many of the artists are in the home stretch. Last week, curator of contemporary art James Jensen made a round of studio visits to check on their progress.

Emily McIlroy
Just down the hall from Trangmar is Emily McIlroy, whose 7- by 13-foot painting Sky Burial was laid out on the floor in the center of her studio. Like Trangmar’s work, Sky Burial is deceptive at first glance. The work appears to depict the beauty and grace of seemingly harmless hummingbirds, yet upon closer inspection, a darker and more chaotic element is revealed.

The work is an attempt at reconciling how two polar-opposite qualities can exist in the same space. How can beauty and grace exist with chaos and violence? How can something be so fragile yet so aggressive? The dichotomy inherent in these questions is something McIlroy has explored since the loss of her twin brother in 2007.

How can hummingbirds represent these ideas? “They look harmless and gentle at a glance, but up close they show a darkness, they’re very combative towards each other,” says McIlroy. “When you blow these creatures up, they look like warriors.”