Cody Naganuma is our administrative assistant at Spalding House, as well as a talented artist. We asked him what his favorite work of art in the museum collection is, and this is what he wrote:

To be honest, this was a very difficult question to answer. What about all of the works in the museum vault that I haven’t experienced? Which brilliant work done by which famous artist should I choose over the rest? Images of works done by Robert Rauchenberg, Richard Diebenkorn, Claude Monet, Helen Frankenthaler, Francis Bacon, and so on, flew into my mind’s eye, and I couldn’t just choose one! I walked through the galleries again to find the work of art that screamed at me louder than the rest, and I found myself in front of a piece that wasn’t screaming at all. The piece is at once monumental and fluid; quiet yet present. It’s so interesting to me that while I can really love certain works of art, there are only a few that I would ever hang in my own home. I feel like this could be a piece that I would love to own.

Adventures in Articulation I is a self-portrait by artist David Nyzio. He’s worked collaboratively with nature in many of his works, notably: beavers, sheep, insects and, in this case, the blue-green algae called Cyanobacteria Oscillatoria. He immersed paper into a tub of the algae and projected a negative over it, allowing algae to grow only in the areas bathed in light and water. I find the process so exciting and attractive because it’s so unexpected when you look at the finished piece. I also like the inclusion of nature as a variable in the making of the work.

I really relish the details of the piece, like the rusted rivets, the faint diagonal grid, and the way the paper warped and caused the bacteria to grow in wave-like patterns.

David Nyzio
Adventures in Articulation I, 1994
Algae on paper, steel (TCM.1996.5)
Gift of The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, 2011, and purchased with funds derived from Gifts of the Honolulu Advertiser Collection at Persis Corporation, by exchange. (TCM.1996.5)

Now on view in Inquiring Finds at Spalding House.