The Merwin Conservancy Welcomes Acclaimed New York Painter and Naturalist to the Islands and it’s ‘Green Room’ Salon Series
“Rockman’s paintings proffer a vision of the natural world that is
equal parts fantasy and empirical fact.”
– The Smithsonian American Museum
On Wednesday, October 24th and Saturday, October 27th, 2018, The Merwin Conservancy will present two intimate evenings with painter and naturalist Alexis Rockman in The Green Room, an environmental and literary salon series that is hosted by the Conservancy and fosters a reverence for language, nature, and imagination. The event on the 24th takes place at the Doris Duke Theatre in partnership with the Honolulu Museum of Art on O‘ahu, and the event on the 27th will be at the McCoy Studio Theater at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center on Maui. The events both begin at 7pm.
For tickets and more event information, visit these links:
- Wednesday, October 24th: Honolulu Museum of Art (Honolulu, O‘ahu)
- Saturday, October 27th: Maui Arts & Cultural Center (Kahului, Maui)
A visual artist who works at the confluence of art and science, Alexis Rockman boldly depicts what he calls “a natural history psychedelia.” In this installment of the Green Room, Alexis will highlight his dynamic engagement with ecological change, from prehistory through the present. Rockman will make a stage presentation of a selection of his visual works, followed by a book signing at a courtyard reception with refreshments and book fair.
As a child growing up in New York City, Alexis Rockman’s earliest visual inspiration as was found at the iconic American Museum of Natural History and later through 19th–century landscape painting, science fiction film, travels, and firsthand field study. Rockman explores the planet in search of ecological subjects, and along the way he meets with scientists, historians, anthropologists and ecologists and amasses a sizable database of scientific readings and source imagery on the topics of his work.
For more than two decades, he has collected organic materials during extended travels to places including Tasmania, Madagascar, and Antarctica and made delicate field drawings of the things that live in each environment from the soil samples collected there, mixed with water and matte acrylic medium – a technique he developed when his art supplies ran out while traveling in the Amazon. From 2009-12, Rockman collaborated with director Ang Lee on the prize-winning film Life of Pi, serving as “Inspirational Artist” preparing conceptual drawings to serve as visual reference. He has been the subject of many exhibition catalogues and monographic publications including Alexis Rockman, published by Monacelli Press in 2003. Rockman lives and works in New York City.
“Artist Alexis Rockman plants his feet in different landscapes and feels both their prehistoric and contemporary lives,” said Sonnet Coggins, the Merwin Conservancy’s newly appointed Executive Director. ”His bold imagination fuses the two, paying no mind to distinctions between art and science. We hope the community will join us to hear about his discoveries in the layers of the natural world.”
The Honolulu event is made possible by a partnership with the Honolulu Museum of Art, and with additional support from Halekulani Hotel. The Maui event is presented by FIM Group. The overall series is supported by Atherton Family Foundation. Proceeds from the event The Merwin Conservancy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
About Alexis Rockman:
Alexis Rockman has exhibited extensively worldwide since 1985. He has been featured in a number of solo museum exhibitions including Dioramas at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (1996); Alexis Rockman: A Recent History of the World at the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield (1999); Manifest Destiny at the Brooklyn Museum (2005; traveling to the Rhode Island School of Design; Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover; Grand Arts, Kansas City); and a mid career survey Alexis Rockman A Fable for Tomorrow at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC (2010; traveling to the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus); Alexis Rockman: The Weight of Air at the Rose Art Museum. East End Field Drawings at the Parrish Museum of Art in Water Mill, NY ( 2015). The Great Lakes Cycle, Grand Rapids Art Museum; Chicago Cultural Center; Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis; Flint Institute of Art, MI; The Haggerty Museum, Milwaukee Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland (2018-20) His work is represented in public and private collections, including the Brooklyn Museum, New York; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Moscow Museum of Contemporary Art; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven.
From 2009-12, Rockman collaborated with director Ang Lee on the prize-winning film “Life of Pi,” serving as “Inspirational Artist” preparing conceptual drawings to serve as visual reference.
He has been the subject of many exhibition catalogues and monographic publications including Alexis Rockman, published by Monacelli Press in 2003.
Rockman lives and works in New York City. His detailed biography and exhibition history can be found at alexisrockman.net/cv/.
Praise for Alexis Rockman:
“Rockman’s abundant talent as a painter and draftsman can be a liability as much as an asset, lending his realist scenes—warning-cry mergers of fact and fantasy, often on a vast scale—the air of scientific illustrations.” – The New Yorker
“In his beautiful, glowing paintings that tell the story of death stalking us and our polluted environment, [Alexis Rockman] bears better witness than most to lost worlds in the making.” – New York Magazine
“Ultimately [Rockman’s] panoramas are as familiar as they are otherworldly, as idyllic as they are apocalyptic.” – The Chicago Tribune
“Employing an amalgam of traditional Color Field and Hudson River School painting techniques, Rockman tenderly renders—and simultaneously ravages—lush landscapes with the markings of mankind’s destructive footprint, including occasional appearances by deformed fish, genetically-modified crops, and rat infestations.” – Artspace
About The Green Room:
The Green Room is a literary salon series steeped in the values of The Merwin Conservancy, which include a reverence for nature, language, art and imagination. Launched in 2013, The Green Room presents writers, poets, artists, botanists, and environmentalists –from both Hawai’i and off-island – to create enriching, meaningful salons that spark conversation, community engagement and artistic expression. Events are now held 6 times per year, roughly every other month, on Maui at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center, and on O‘ahu at the Honolulu Museum of Art. Past events have included presentations by Tracy K. Smith, Susan Middleton, Cathy Song, Bill McKibben, Billy Collins, Edward Hirsch, Michael Wiegers, Pualani Kanaka‘ole Kanahele, Hope Jahren, Bill Porter aka Red Pine, William Finnegan, Michael Ondaatje, Gary Paul Nabhan, Jane Hirshfield, David Grubin, Susan Casey, Barry Lopez, Naomi Shihab Nye, Terry Tempest Williams, and Dr. Abraham Verghese. For more information, visit: www.merwinconservancy.org/the-green-room.