Artistic bodies: Sculptures by a model-turned-artist are reflections of her ideas and values
Honolulu Star-Advertiser

25 Aug 2013 / By Lynn Cook 

Artist Nicole Naone, a recent graduate of the University of Hawaii-Manoa’s fine art department, with one of her fiberglass sculptures.
It’s hard to imagine a towering wooden horse described as voluptuous, but in the case of sculptor Nicole Naone’s horse, it is.

The steed, centerpiece at the Parc Promenade gallery of the Waikiki Parc Hotel, is created entirely of scrap hardwood, primarily koa, given to her by a good friend who builds custom kitchens. Turning them into a polished monolith took 15-hour days, nonstop from January to April.

“I was pushing all the mental and physical barriers,” she said, calling herself “borderline crazy” and adding that she cut, polished, fit and sanded more than 2,000 pieces of wood for the piece.

“It was very surprising to me when the geometric shapes of the wood got so round,” she says, describing the subject as “hiding in plain sight.”

Naone grew up around horses and rode with her dad, who was a Parker Ranch cowboy and a photorealism artist. From age 14, Naone followed in her mother’s footsteps and worked as a fashion model. The work took her from Beijing to Morocco and taught her a few things about perceptions of women as well.

“I wouldn’t call myself a feminist but when you are a product of a life focused on the female body you become very aware of being an object,” she said.

These days, Naone has been spending time at the top of a 15foot ladder sculpting wood, operating heavy-duty electric tools and casting bronze and fiberglass.

Her sculptures, which she says are the result of her own ideas and values, show that “the woman can be the object without objectifying her.”

Unlike the massive horse, the sculptural pieces in the exhibit are small enough to fit in a lap. As a matter of fact, they are voluptuous hips, carved first in plastic foam and then layered in fiberglass or bronze. Layer upon layer is added until the sculpture begins to come alive, meaning it appears to move and shift as a viewer walks past it or as lighting subtly changes.

 

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The pieces could have been carved in alabaster or cast in solid bronze, but in considering the art buyer, Naone wanted to use contemporary materials that could be hung on a wall.

In the open gallery space, the centerpiece horse is surrounded by the sculptures, which are placed on pedestals.

NAONE, NOW in her 20s, is a recent graduate of the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s fine art department, where she studied with Fred Roster and Linda Yamamoto and Naone used more than 2,000 pieces of scrap wood to make the horse sculpture on display at the Parc Promenade galler y at the Waikiki Parc Hotel.

NICOLE NAONE

>> On exhibit: Through Oct. 31 (accessible 24 hours a day) >> Where: Parc Promenade, Waikiki Parc Hotel, 2233 Helumoa Road >> Information: Call 921

7272 concentrated on sculpture. Her work is influenced by architects and designers, including Frank Gehry and Elsa Peretti.

There is a theme to every line Naone puts on paper, walls, murals or surfboards. That theme could be simply called curvilinear, inspired by the beauty of her mother. Her black-and-white designs come in wall-size murals that wind around a room or in intricate illustrations that wrap across magazine pages — all are organic patterns inspired by her memories of her father’s graphite drawings.

As part of its partnership with the University of Hawaii Arts Foundation, Waikiki Parc will hold quarterly art exhibits.