Artist in Residence Darren Waterston spent a year traveling to Hawai‘i—visiting Volcano National Park and researching writings and images of volcanoes and Pele. The result is the two-venue exhibition Forest Eater, which will be on view at Spalding House (aka The Contemporary Museum) in Makiki Heights and in the Academy’s Holt Gallery. Waterston is at the museum today working with curator Inger Tully and installation designer Larry Maruya to install his show.

Last year, Waterston visited the Academy and selected 19th-century prints of western artists’ depictions of Hawai‘i Island volcanoes. Displayed alongside these prints will be Waterston’s own paintings of volcanoes. While he didn’t specifically use the old prints as a jumping off point, the dialogue between some of the works is uncanny and beautiful. There are two specific works I have in mind that have the exact same misty blue, but produced more than 100 years apart in time.

At the center of the Holt Gallery will be an incredible sculpture that looks like it’s made of lava, but is actually an armature coated in a foam substance. Waterston did a lot of experimentation to get the foam formula just right. The resulting work is just incredible—a slice of lava landscape with delicate tendrils extending from it. Like a giant lava anemone.

Forest Eater, May 27-October 2, 2011.