Michael Connolly is a Hawai‘i-based artist whose work is inspired by volcanic activity, hot rod flames, and graphic novels. Connolly captures three types of lava—pāhoehoe, ‘a‘ā, and pillow lava. Pāhoehoe is smooth and dense, and forms large, flat areas with smooth bumps. ‘A‘ā is characterized by individual rocks that are rough, porous, jagged, and sharp. Lava exposed to pressure and temperature of the ocean results in pillow-like forms. In his youth, Connolly collected Hot Wheels cars and always favored those painted with hot rod flames; this motif recurs in his work today.
Currently enrolled in the BFA program at Department of Art + Art History, UHM, Connolly has attended ceramic workshops locally and abroad that exposed him to many talented artists, new ideas, and techniques. Much of Connolly’s early ceramic experience was obtained during his service as a studio technician at Leeward Community College where he received the Outstanding Student Employee award. Recently, Connolly’s work and efforts were recognized by the UHM Department of Art + Art History faculty and he received the Ceramic Faculty Book award, 2016.
Connolly states, “I play with traditional and contemporary ceramic art practices in the hope of blurring the line between utilitarian function and sculptural capability. Inspiration from molten lava and flames brings movement to customary ceramic forms that are usually seen as stationary. Layering, curving, carving, curling, churning, wavering and amalgamation with contrasting colors are counterbalanced to create movement and temperature.”
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website