Fishcake turns into a gallery to celebrate Hawaii culture in two ways: ranch-inspired imagery from Margo Ray, and the Honolulu Printmakers Show.
Stepping into Fishcake, the design and furnishings store in Kakaako, transports you to a bright and whimsical world. The space might be called “friendly industrial,” with a floor of painted cement and a boxy layout, but around every corner are quirky lamps, tables, chairs, sofas, and plenty of fanciful and practical items. Fishcake, which opened in 2007, is also gaining a reputation as a place to look at art in rotating exhibitions.
This month Fishcake features the work of Big Island artist Margo Ray, as well as prints by members of the Honolulu Printmakers.
Ray’s work, including a large, free-standing water tower, depicts nostalgia-tinged scenes in candy colors, reflecting her years growing up in paniolo country. Her mother, an artist for Parker Ranch, at one time painted four large murals of paniolo history in Waimea. Her father, a long-time Parker Ranch trustee, had keys to every gate and roamed the area with his daughter, who often turned their traipsing into a photo safari. The ranch landscape, cattle, goats, horses and local plants permeate Ray’s work and bring into view the relationship between man and the natural world, as well as the effects of Hawaii’s unique history.
Ray, who currently lives in Honokaa, returned to Hawaii in 2006 after pursuing a graduate degree in Quebec. She says, “I really felt deeply connected to living here. Logistically it’s challenging, but the art world has changed and it’s possible now to live anywhere and show your work around the world.”
The once-common water towers share space in her paintings with bright flowers, lanterns, airplanes, barbed wire and horses. Stepping inside the large water tank, whose mini-room interior is a mixture of painting on canvas with collaged Japanese papers and digital images, is like entering a gallery of Ray’s memories, reveries and ponderings. The bright orange couch Fishcake has placed in the middle allows viewers to lose themselves temporarily in this universe.
Ray says the idea of showing art outside a gallery appealed to her. “People interact differently in the space than they do in a more formal situation.”
In addition to displaying Ray’s work, Fishcake’s walls will feature original prints by members of the Honolulu Printmakers, including the group’s director, Laura Smith. This is the first time the group has had a showing in the space. Smith says the show at Fishcake allows viewers to see what the art would look like in a home environment. “It makes it easy to find art you want to live with.”
Fishcake curator Keiko Hatano adds, “The Honolulu Printmakers show is one of our favorites. Having Ray’s containment series together with the Printmakers is an example of the different applications of printmaking. It’s a great show.”
Fishcake, 307c Kamani St., 593-1231, fishcake.us/home.html. Hours: Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, by appointment.