Watery Abstraction

A new art exhibit explores aquatic beauty through paint and … iPod?

"Sketch for an Underwater Opera No. 7," by Andrew Rose.

Photo: courtesy Andrew Rose

The California-born, New York-trained Andrew Rose is no stranger to Hawaii, having spent extended time here since his youth. So it makes sense that the now Honolulu-based artist’s 2005 return was, as he puts it, “for the richness of the ocean’s color from Diamond Head Lighthouse.” The last three years have been busy for Rose, who is not only prolific in the studio, but also teaches art and writes about it for HONOLULU Magazine.  

With Liminal, Nuuanu Gallery presents Rose’s first solo exhibition in Hawaii, a compilation of gouache-on-paper paintings that the artist describes as “explorations of what lies between and at the edge of our conscious knowledge.” These vivid abstractions are “a manifestation of a feeling of fulfillment that comes with being immersed in vibrant beauty.” Rose composed many of the works to Asian, African and Hawaiian music, which is evident in such paintings as “Sketches for an Underwater Opera No. 7,” in which aquatic life perpetually dances and undulates. The sense of being submerged is further enhanced through the artist’s use of colorful, water-based media that are fine-tuned through carefully applied layers. 

Andrew Rose: Liminal

Through Nov. 26
Nuuanu Gallery
(1161 Nuuanu Ave.)


Rose notes that one of his goals is “to create an immediate experience for the viewer,” as evidenced in his Rain Paintings, a series that includes “Blue Yellow Lavender.” Not to be interpreted literally, these dynamic, soulful objects are stirring impressions of the most fleeting moments. In an effort to better convey his idea, Rose began creating video paintings, which he presents on an iPod Touch and LCD monitor. These slow-moving scenes document gradual changes to what at first appear to be fixed images. In one, a cloudbank is rouged by waning sunlight as rain lightly flecks the screen. One cannot help but notice the contrast between these soothing filmic renderings and the sleek, cutting-edge devices on which they are displayed. What remains constant, in the many ways that Rose presents these images, is the sense of being surrounded by Hawaii’s natural beauty.