Our series of exhibitions by Hawai‘i artists in our Arts of Hawai‘i Gallery continues with Roberta Griffith’s Unpleasant Conversations. An extension of her recent work The NO Series, the porcelain plates and cups featuring the words NO, NEVER, NOT, NOPE, or NOTHING are a visual response to the disasters, conflicts, and incivilities that plague our contemporary world. These objects that are normally used to share food and drink act as declarations, responses, echoes, or yells. The unexpected negativity may spur the viewer to think about his or her own responses to the stressors of daily life, and of how these responses affect those around them. A yellow band, reminiscent of safety tape, along with a red arrow encircle the gallery wall and allude to both potential danger as well as a direction line or path to follow. Griffith’s installation simultaneously welcomes and pushes away people, and is a timely comment on the anxiety and antagonism pervasive in society today.
Artist and teacher Roberta Griffith, who divides her time between Kaua‘i and New York, was Professor of Art at Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York, from 1966 to 2008. She has been the recipient of grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Fulbright Program, and her work is in the collection of many museums including the Museum of International Ceramic Art, Grimmerhus, Denmark; Museu de Ceramica, Barcelona, Spain; The American Museum of Ceramic Art, Pomona, California; and Honolulu Museum of Art, where she was a featured artist in Artists of Hawai‘i 2013.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website