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Duane Preble: Art as Process

Noe Tanigawa
Noe Tanigawa

David Behlke
Credit David Behlke
Professor Emeritus of Art Duane Preble, curator of "Art as Process" at the Koa Gallery, KCC
Noe Tanigawa
Credit Noe Tanigawa
(detail) Linda Kane's collection of sources. She seems to use the paper she works on as a site for excavation, and exploration.

Noe Tanigawa
Credit Noe Tanigawa
Cement model for Kazu Kauinana's sculpture at Campbell High School.

Art-making processes not only produce art, they teach life-enhancing attitudes and skills.

--Duane Preble

    An estimated 30 to 40 thousand students in Hawai‘i were introduced to the visual arts through the efforts of UH Professor Emeritus Duane Preble.  Artforms, the text he wrote with his wife, Sarah Preble is a mainstay across the nation, now in its 11th edition.  HPR’sNoeTanigawa reports Preble has just curated a new exhibition on the importance of Art as Process.

Professor Emeritus of Art Duane Preble briefly discusses aesthetics as a lifestyle, the definition of beauty, the misuse of art, and the importance of awareness, commitment, and reverence.

“Art as Process”, curated by Duane Preble, opens at the  Koa Gallery at Kapiolani Community College Wednesday from 4:30 to 7 and continues through September 18th.    Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 10am to 3pm.

Featured artists represent a range of media: Kauka de Silva, Jodi Endicott, Philippe Gross, Vitaly Juterbog, Linda Kane, Kazu Kauinana, Rick Mills, Fred Roster, David Smith, Laura Smith, Z. G. Tong.

If you would like a taste of the art experience so many have found unforgettable over the years, the text, Artforms, written by the Prebles, is a mind expanding read. Find it at your favorite bookseller. 

Ever the educator, Duane has prepared this summary of thoughts regarding the new show for HPR listeners.  Art as Process

There are as many art-making approaches as there are creative people. Those who create art are doing it, in part, because they love the process.


Art as Process is organized to bring awareness to the fact that art-making processes are accessible, stimulating, and meaningful in themselves.  


The show reveals some of these processes. It counter-balances the idea that in our time the emphasis is on Art with a capital A – the focus on final products created by famous master artists,most of them from a foreign country and long deceased. Such awareness on art as a finished product obscures what brought art into being and shifts art’s value to something rare, mysterious, expensive, and removed from everyday life. 


Today’s world of colorful art reproductions, art history books and movies about art and artists can overwhelm would-be art makers and the general public with hyper-awareness of “ART” from the past.   Although such awareness is educational, it can intimidate and even alienate those who would bring forth their own voices.


The art-making processes are like conversations between the art maker’s voice and the expressive character of selected materials.  


There are rewards for BEING in the process, away from the self-conscious, over-controlling critical mind. Playing with possibilities, the artist is energized by what emerges within the developing art form.


“Without excitement there is no art.” -- Paul Cezanne 


Duane Preble

Duane Preble
Credit Duane Preble
Partners in life and work, Sarah and Duane Preble.

Artist’s Key Ideas on Art and Process

(Compiled by Duane Preble)

•  Trust the process. -- Shaun McNiff

•  I believe in my work and the joy of it.  You have to be with the work and the work has to be with you.  It absorbs you totally and you absorb it totally. Everything must fall by the wayside by comparison. --Louise Nevelson

•  Take an object. Do something to it. Do something else to it. -- Jasper Johns

•  Painting relates to both art and life. Neither can be made. I try to act in the gap between the two. --Robert Rauschenberg

•  I do not want to die... until I have faithfully made the most of my talent and cultivated the seed that was placed in me until the last small twig has grown. -- Kathe Kollwitz

•  All knowledge has its origin in our perception...Study the science of art. Study the art of science. Develop your senses --especially learn how to see...Learning is the only thing the mind never exhausts, never fears, and never regrets. --Leonardo de Vinci

•  There is something about art-making processes that can enable personal inner-light experiences resonate for self and others. -- Basho

•  Art is simply a result of expression during right feeling. ...Any material will do.  After all, the object is not to make art, but to be in the wonderful state that makes art inevitable. -- Robert Henri

•  Recognizing that music is nothing but a process.  It's when we start thinking that we bump into the wall of our thinking. What I have been doing lately is getting the thinking out of the doing, which are in fact two different things.” -- Lesley Kline, fiddle player and teacher

• It's the burden of adulthood that leads us to actually ever presume the necessity of becoming "good" at something. I have to remind myself often when I’m musing on how much better I could be, when "playing" music.  Playing is contagious; performing is not nearly as fun... I think one's approach in any creative endeavor has to combine some work and a certain level of curious exploration and sense of discovery.

-- Kilin Reese, string player and luthier

• "I have no special talents. I'm just inquisitive." -- Albert Einstein

• " Awe is what moves us forward.”

-- Joseph Campbell

Noe Tanigawa covered art, culture and ideas for two decades at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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