Existential pilgrims Russell Sunabe, Keiko Bonk, Noe Tanigawa, Duane PrebleExistential Pilgrim (and rock star and artist) Keiko Bonk wrote this about her upcoming group show with HNL art godfather Duane Preble, silky-voiced HPR culture reporter and master of wax painting Noe Tanigawa and Russell Sunabe—painter of the apotheosis of the pig-hunting dog (he’s in Artists of Hawai’i 2009 now on view!). Now enjoy some unadulterated Bonk after the jump.
Existential Pilgrims: Preble – Tanigawa – Sunabe – Bonk
Exhibiting Recent Paintings at the Academy’s Art Center Gallery
September 4 – September 30, 2009

Reception September 4, 5-7pm
Gallery Hours 11am- 5pm Tuesday-Sunday

Gallery located at the Academy’s Linekona Annex Victoria St between Beretania St. & Young St.
More information: 551-5994

The Existential Pilgrims, a band of 4 artists deeply rooted in Hawaii’s socio-political and cultural community, come together September 5 to 30, 2009 to exhibit their recent paintings. Duane Preble, Noe Tanigawa, Russell Sunabe and Keiko Bonk are artists who share intense work habits, sustaining long hours of day jobs, grabbing moments, often the hours into the dreamier parts of the night, to make art. These artists’ varied routines & rhythms make it difficult to squeeze in a group photo shoot.
And its no wonder the title of their exhibit reads more like a rock band or philosophy seminar gone awry. The Pilgrims’ common thread are their somewhat old fashioned romantic belief that art is a noble path, a spiritual journey that all human beings have shared from our very beginning. They are bound by a quest to attain something more gratifying than consumptive pleasure.  Although they all share the sentimental refrain that art is an intimate and personal reflection, these artists have their hands imbedded in the mainstream on a daily basis.  They all committed to developing a rich and vibrant community in Hawaii through a deeper understanding of humanity.
If you don’t know Duane Preble, you haven’t lived in Hawaii very long.  Preble is an established fixture in the Hawaii art world. Professor Emeritus Preble taught and mentored generations of artists and inspired most of the “other students” required to take only one Humanities (ART 101) class at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Preble’s exquisite landscapes and portraits often reflect on his expansive knowledge as an art historian. His somewhat Nordic interior thoughts often blur the subject matter and he has developed a shadow painting style that reflects on his moodier musician self. Preble plays the washtub bass in the Kapakahi Jug Band.
Noe Tanigawa, known throughout Hawaii for her sexy poetic voice over the radio waves, makes equally exotic paintings. If you haven’t seen a Tanigawa flower or more abstracted subject matter you haven’t experienced the visual pleasure that her voice only begins to sketch. Warm colors, ethereal motion, jazz-like brush strokes all evoke Tanigawa’s burning passion for life.  “Noe Tanigawa here.”
Russell Sunabe, born on the youngest island of Hawaii, often refers back to this home in his painting through his subjects and symbols. This connection to the land, diversity of local people brings us closer to Sunabe. He appears to be striving daily through his strict painting regime to get closer and closer to the “ontological difference,” the difference between the experience of reality as a whole and the experience of reality as a collection of parts. Sunabe’s work speaks clearly to his own defiant soul searching self, as well as to the many art students he inspires at Kapiolani Community College.
Keiko Bonk, defender of nature, truth & justice is also from the raw active volcanic island of Hawaii. Her work has mutated from politics to visual art to poetry to music to politics and back again. A firm believer in Art being a powerful tool in revamping the human condition, she has translated her ideas from one media to the next in order to save the beauty she loves in Hawaii.  Bonk has been working most recently to protect Hawaii’s ocean life and plays in a band called Kazan (Volcano).
Please join The Existential Pilgrims during the month of September to share in their joie de vivre and yearning to discover the moment.