FACULTY EXHIBITION Series Part 1 Abstract Fragments

Emily McIlroy, South/Summer (in progress), 2023

Faculty Exhibition Series Part 1


August 27 – September 30, 2023

THE COMMONS GALLERY, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

The Commons Gallery, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM), is pleased to present Abstract Fragments, the first in a series of thematic faculty exhibitions. Featured works explore patterns and connections between the “micro” and “macro” through paintings, fiber, glass casting, and ceramics made by the Department of Art & Art History faculty.


Debra Drexler, Nick Hunsinger, Wendy Kawabata, Emily McIlroy, Rick Mills, and Brad Evan Taylor

Artist Bios 

Debra Drexler has studios in Brooklyn and Oʻahu, and her unique bicoastal experience informs her work. Noteworthy recent exhibitions include Flirt: Helen Frankenthaler and Debra Drexler (2022), shown in two separate Manhattan locations: ART SHE SAYS salon and Ann Kendall Richards Gallery (Tussle Magazine), and Abstraction X3 (2021), a three-person show   focusing on internationally recognized Hawaiʻi-based painters at the Schaefer International Gallery of Maui Arts and Cultural Center (2021) . Her significant exhibits include: Front Room Gallery  (solo 2019, group exhibitions 2018–present), Drawing Center, NY (2014), Van Der Plas Gallery, NY (solo exhibits in 2018, 2017, 2015, and a three-person  exhibition in 2014), Exit Art, NY (2010–11), White Box–The Annex, NY (solo, 2005, reviewed in New York Arts Magazine), Honolulu Museum of Art (solo, 2002, numerous reviews and articles), and Maui Arts and Cultural Center, HI (solo, 2003, three-person 2021). Her work is featured in Accession: Recent Additions to the Art in Public Places Collection at the Hawai‘i State Art Museum. She has had more than  thirty solo exhibits and more than  one hundred group exhibitions. Debra Drexler is a Professor of Drawing and Painting and the Acting Director of the John Young Museum of Art and University Galleries.

Nick Hunsinger is a multi-disciplined contemporary artist known for his captivating and evocative creations that blend the line between art, engineering, and design. A Michigan native, Nick relocated to the islands to earn his BFA in Graphic Design from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Notable design clients include Local Motion Inc., Maker’s Mark, Beam Suntory, and KAI Vodka. His bespoke woodwork can be found in many local upscale restaurants and eateries such as Senia, Bar Podmore, and Hau Tree. He was recently featured in Honolulu Magazine for his work in the restaurant industry. Nick has participated in numerous group exhibitions in prestigious galleries around Oʻahu throughout his career, his artwork has been met with critical acclaim, and he has received awards for his exceptional talent and artistic vision. Nick’s glasswork can be found at Nohea Gallery and in the Hawaiʻi State Foundation on Culture and the Arts Collection. Recent group exhibitions include Gathering Glass, Inspirations, and Surrounded by Water . Nick is a Lecturer in Graphic Design and manages the woodshop facilities at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

Wendy Kawabata was born in Lansing, Michigan, and obtained her BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art, followed by an MFA from the University of New Mexico. She has exhibited her artwork in both solo and group shows at various locations such as Smith College in Northampton, MA, the Carriageworks in Sydney, Australia, the Corban Estate Arts Centre in Auckland, New Zealand, the Texas State  Galleries  in San Marcos, TX, The Fed Galleries at Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, MI, and the Center for Book and Paper Arts in Chicago, IL. She has also completed residencies in Iceland and Michigan. In addition, Kawabata curated the group exhibition called Material Slip, which was held at the UHM Commons Gallery(2017) and the University of Wyoming Art Museum (2020). Her work has been featured in well-known publications like Art in America, Modern Painters, The New Yorker, Artweek, The Aucklander, and NO Magazine. Her artwork is featured in the books 20/20: Twenty Artists, Twenty Writers, One New Zealand Gallery (Sanderson Contemporary, Auckland, NZ), The Artists: 21 Practitioners in New Zealand Contemporary Art (Beatnik Publishing, Auckland, NZ), and PromptPress 1 (PromptPress, Iowa City). Wendy Kawabata is the Associate Chair of the department and a Professor of Drawing and Painting.

Emily McIlroy was born and raised in Norman, Oklahoma. She completed her BA in Studio Art from the University of Arizona in 2005 and pursued her MFA in Drawing and Painting from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa in 2011. Emily has served as an instructor and art educator for the Honolulu Museum of Art School and the Hawai‘i State Art Museum for several years. Emily's artwork has recently been showcased at various locations, including Gallery 'Iolani (Kaneohe, HI), Dairy Arts Center (Boulder, CO), Emerson Center for the Arts and Culture (Bozeman, MT), Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts (Fond du Lac, WI), Fitton Center for Creative Arts (Hamilton, OH), and the Honolulu Museum of Art (Honolulu, HI). In the past, she has been an Artist-in-Residence at Chulitna Lodge Creative Residency Program (Port Alsworth, AK), Sitka Center for Art and Ecology (Otis, OR), Glacier National Park (West Glacier, MT), and Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts (Saratoga, WY). Emily McIlroy is a Lecturer in Drawing and Painting.

Rick Mills, a Marion, Ohio native, is a glass and mixed-media sculptor. He received his  BFA from The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, and a MFA from the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, Honolulu. Mills has received two Creative Glass Center of America Fellowships and a research fellowship at the Royal College of Art in London, England, where he studied under Keith Cummings. In 1988 he returned to Hawaiʻi and established the Glass Area in the Department of Art and Art History as an Assistant Professor . In 1989 he initiated the Visiting Artist Program in Glass to bring artists from around the world to the University. His work has been widely exhibited locally, nationally, and internationally in places such as the International Exhibition of Glass Kanazawa 1990, Japan, Crossings, 1989 France and Hawaiʻi; solo exhibitions at The Contemporary Museum, Hawaiʻi in 1995, Friesen Gallery in Seattle, Washington in 1997 and 2000, and at the Museum of Northwest Art in La Conner, Washington in 1999.   Rick Mills is a Professor of Art at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, where he has directed the Glass Program for  thirty-five years.

Brad Evan Taylor is an artist working with the phenomenology of matter. He is known for his large-scale ceramic installations in architectural settings as well as in the landscape, and these larger works are in “communication” with his pieces at the scale of the body and the hand.  He received an MFA with an emphasis in Ceramic Sculpture from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 1992, and a BFA with an emphasis in Sculpture and Ceramics from the University of Utah in 1988. After receiving his MFA, he was the artist and factory liaison for the Kohler Arts Industry Program. Brad Taylor  began teaching at the University of Utah in 1994, and in 2002 he accepted a position at Konkuk University in Seoul, Korea, where he lived and worked until 2008 when he accepted a position as an Assistant Professor in Hawai'i. He exhibits and participates in symposia and workshops internationally, and is a member of IAC, the International Academy of Ceramics.   Brad Taylor is a Professor of Ceramics and Department Chair at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa.

Curated by Sheika Alghezawi, Assistant Director, John Young Museum of Art and University Galleries.


This exhibition is made possible by University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s Department of Art + Art History and College of Arts, Languages & Letters; supported by the Halekulani Hotel– Hospitality Sponsor for the Arts at UH Mānoa; the State Foundation for Culture and the Arts; and anonymous donors. Special thanks to The Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.

THE COMMONS GALLERY is located on the ground floor of The Art Building. From Dole Street, take East-West Road, turn left to Correa Road, and then turn right for the Art Building.

Hours & Admission

Tuesday–Friday, & Sunday, 12–4 p.m.

Closed Mondays, Saturday, school breaks, and state holidays.

Free admission. Donations are appreciated.

Parking is free on Sundays. Parking fees may apply during weekdays.

For more information, please contact 808.956.6888 and gallery@hawaii.edu