Volcano Art Center’s “Ever Changing Island” – Exhibit Features Clytie Mead, Hugh Jenkins and Stephanie Ross

Beginning tomorrow, Saturday, July 27, Volcano Art Center will present “Ever Changing Island” at Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This latest exhibition features glass art from artists Hugh Jenkins and Stephanie Ross of the Big Island Glass Gallery juxtaposed against watercolors on prepared silk from artist Clytie Mead.

Featured artwork from VAC’s upcoming “Ever Changing Island” exhibit

Featured artwork from VAC’s upcoming “Ever Changing Island” exhibit

The lavishly detailed and divergent creations of both Honokaa-based art studios effortlessly combine to express the wondrous beauty found within the life cycle of Hawaii Island’s native flora. Join the artists for an opening reception from 5:00–7:00pm on July 27 and enjoy their works from 9:00am–6:00pm daily through September 8.

On Friday, August 16, Mead will conduct a live silk painting demonstration at the gallery from 10:00am–2:00pm, sharing her technique, materials and the inspiration behind her work.

“Mead’s intricate watercolor depictions of bud to flower to seed evoke unexpected emotion and connection to the subject when experienced through the fluid, abstract lense of glasswork offered by Jenkins and Ross,” states Emily Catey, VAC’s Gallery Curator.

Clytie Mead was practically born with a watercolor brush in her hand. As a small child in Pennsylvania, her parents would keep her busy painting while they worked in their home studio creating architectural renderings with watercolors. She later went on to earn a BFA in Painting from Carnegie Mellon University and an MA in Architectural History from Cornell. Mead lived in Southern California until relocating to Hawaii in 1986 and began working in watercolor on silk after studying with the prominent Chinese painter Jane Chao in 1999.

An ancient Asian technique, painting with watercolor on silk has become Mead’s primary focus. She brings a lifetime of experience as well as her own Western point of view to each piece which can take up to 30 hours to complete. Using conventional watercolor paints and brushes, Mead carefully selects imported Chinese silks which have been specially treated to resist blurring or running as her preferred canvas.

“Ever since I first came to Hawaii, I’ve been inspired by the lovely natural surroundings,” says Mead. “I have wanted to express my deep appreciation for the beauty of the many native Hawaiian plant species, and to bring them to the attention of people who may never have had a chance to see these rare and sometimes endangered plants.”

Mead’s work has been exhibited in Hong Kong and Japan, at the Wailoa Center, Firehouse Gallery and Volcano Art Center on Hawaii Island, and is included in many private collections around the United States. She has won several awards, including Best in Show for the Helen Cassidy Show at the Firehouse Gallery in Waimea. She now lives and works in Ahualoa near Honokaa with “her husband Pete, four dogs, and too many cats.”

Hugh Jenkins and Stephanie Ross are the dynamic husband and wife team behind Honokaa’s Big Island Glass Gallery. Even with an extensive collection of glasswork on display and new pieces constantly emerging, Jenkins and Ross proclaim “that perhaps the most creative thing we have done is to create this working relationship. With nature as a constant inspiration, the glass pieces are the natural outcome.”

Hugh Jenkins has pursued a life in glass work from his first introduction to glass blowing in 1969 at The Foundry in Honolulu, Hawaii. He carried his passion with him to the Punahou School in 1972 where he was an art teacher until 1998. Jenkins even spent his summers and sabbaticals engrossed in teaching glass at the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina. Jenkins’ glasswork has evolved through several functional and sculptural phases, usually including highly polished optical surfaces.

Stephanie Ross earned her degrees first at California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, and then received her graduate degrees from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She has taught art to high school and elementary school students since 1975. Ross was introduced to glass in 1995 and has worked in collaboration with her husband since 1996. She excels at design and color, while Jenkins often takes the reins on finishing the form.

Since 1996, the couple has focused in collaboration on a highly-colored series of bowls and vases while also helping other glass blowers improve the efficiency of their equipment. Their recent creations evolved as a direct response to their Hawaii Island life, depicting impressions of the volcanoes, forest, ocean and widely varying climate and light.

“Ever Changing Island” is free to the public, though park entrance fees apply and donations are accepted.  For more information, visit www.volcanoartcenter.org or contact the VAC Gallery at (808) 967-7565 or gallery@volcanoartcenter.org.

Volcano Art Center (VAC) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1974 to develop, promote and perpetuate the artistic, cultural and environmental heritage of Hawaii’s people through the arts and education.

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