Megumi Harada, Reluctant Ruminations, 2021

exhibition icon  EXHIBITION

Kelly Ciurej, Megumi Harada, Sally French, Katherine Love, Kirsten Rae Simonsen

Curated by Kirsten Rae Simonsen

August 23 – September 9, 2021
Commons Gallery, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM), Art Building

The Commons Gallery, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM), is pleased to present Sticky Sweet: Attraction & Anxiety. The artists in Sticky Sweet: Attraction & Anxiety use familiar imagery and materials associated with domesticity, comfort, or nostalgia, to challenge expectations of tradational gender and societal roles. Their work draws on personal history, and is often deceptively cheerful or even seductive, revealing a psychological tension between attraction, artifice, and disgust. In paintings, photographs, fiber, and works on paper, the sentimental sweetness of childhood becomes cloying and unsettling. By reexamining and subverting the familiar and romanticized, these artists reflect an anxious unease.

Curated by Kirsten Rae Simonsen, lecturer in Studio Art at the Department of Art and Art History, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Sticky Sweet: Attraction and Anxiety brings together artists who share a connection to the Department of Art and Art History. All have received degrees, lectured, taught, or served as artists in residence at the University.

Artist Bios

Kelly Ciurej (b, Chicago, Ill.) has exhibited in venues including the Hawai‘i  State Art Museum, Gallery ‘Iolani, East Hawai‘i Cultural Center, Wailoa Center, The ARTS at Marks Garage, and the Honolulu Museum of Art School. Her work has recently been exhibited in national group and solo shows at the Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts; Visual Arts Center Gallery, Chicago; Florida Museum of Photographic Arts; Maine Media Gallery; SXSW, New York City; LENSCRATCH Online; Nuu Muse Gallery, Dallas; and BOX 13 ArtSpace, Houston, TX; among others. Her work is in the collection of the Hawai‘i State Art Museum, SXU Chicago Gallery, and private collections across the United States. She holds a BA in Art and Design from St. Xavier University, Chicago, and an MFA from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM).

Sally French (b. Stockton, California) has lived on Kaua‘i since 1982. Her solo shows were presented in Hawai‘i at venues including The Contemporary Museum (three exhibitions); Honolulu Museum of Art at First Hawaiian Center; Koa Gallery; Schaefer International Gallery; Gallery 103; and Commons Gallery. Nationally, French has exhibited at Heidi Cho Gallery, New York City; I space Gallery, Chicago; Tarble Arts Center, Charleston, IL; and P.R.I.N.T Press, Denton, TX. Awards include a National Endowment for the Arts Educational Grant; LACE Artist Project Grant; and Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts (HSFCA) Individual Artist Fellowship. She was a featured artist in both the Honolulu Printmakers and the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce exhibitions. She has taught at Penland School of Craft, Denver School of the Arts, and widely through the Hawaiian Islands. Venues for talks include the Art Institute of Chicago; Arizona State University; New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts; and UHM. A current panelist for the HSFCA selection committee, she has also been a juror for Art Maui; Schaefer Portrait Challege; Hui No‘eau Visual Arts Center; and the Waimea Arts Council. Interviews and artwork can be found in New American Paintings (vol. 43, vol. 55); Artists/Hawaii; Comic Release by Barbara Bloemink and Vicky Clark; and Flux magazine. She received her education at Stephens College, Columbia, MO; University of Colorado; and the Academy of Art University, San Francisco.

Megumi Harada (they/them), a non-binary artist of mixed Asian and Native Hawaiian descent,  was born in Wahiawā, Hawai‘i, and received a BFA in Digital Imaging from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa in 2018. Their work has been displayed in numerous juried and invitational exhibitions. Megumi was invited to take part in Downtown Drawings at the Honolulu Museum of Art First Hawaiian Center, curated by Katherine Love; and in CONTACT 2019: Acts of Faith at the Hawaiian Mission Houses, curated by Josh Tengan and Ara Laylo. They also have exhibited work at the Honolulu Museum of Art School; Wailoa Center; Pacific Guardian Center; and several other locations. Nationally, their work has been shown at Site:Brooklyn Gallery, NY, and in Laguna Beach, CA.

Born in Santa Monica, California, Katherine Love received her MFA in painting from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Her work has been exhibited extensively in Hawai‘i at venues including at the Honolulu Museum of Art School; The Contemporary Museum; Koa Gallery; Cedar Street Galleries; ARS Cafe; and in solo exhibitions at Hui No‘eau Visual Arts Center; thirtyninehotel; Hawai‘i Pacific University Art Gallery; and Kirsch Gallery. Nationally, she has shown at Togonon Gallery, San Francisco; Indigo Contemporary Art, Norfolk, VA; Lawton Gallery, University of Wisconsin, Green Bay; Coos Art Museum, Coos Bay, OR; and Alexandria Museum of Art, Alexandria, LA. Her work is in the collection of Honolulu Museum of Art, the Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, and in private and corporate collections in the United States and Europe. Since 2017 Love has served as Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the Honolulu Museum of Art.

Kirsten Rae Simonsen (b. Montana) received her MFA from the University of Chicago after studying traditional painting in Bali, Indonesia. She has shown her work nationally and internationally at the LA Art Show; bG Gallery, Santa Monica; Root Division, San Francisco; Pterodactyl Philadelphia Gallery; Artspace Gallery, New Haven; Peter Miller Gallery, Chicago; and The Residence Gallery, London; among others. Simonsen has created drawing installations for the Zendai Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai; and the Mills Gallery at the Boston Center for the Arts. Her work has been published by FreshPaint by Danielle Krysa; PromptPress, Itch magazine, South Africa; and Lost Letters and Other Animals, Black Lawrence Press, New York City. Her writing has been featured by Akashic Books, Brooklyn, NY; and her reviews have been published in Marvels & Tales: A Journal of Fairy-Tale Studies. Awards include Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and Arts Recognition Awards and the Marley Irons Award for printmaking at the Honolulu Printmakers annual exhibition. Her work is in the collection including the Zendai Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai; the Brooklyn Art Library; and the Hawai‘i State Art Museums.


University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s Department of Art + Art History and College of Arts, Languages & Letters; Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, through appropriations from the Legislature of the State of Hawai‘i and by the National Endowment for the Arts; supported by the Halekulani Hotel– Hospitality Sponsor for the Arts at UH Mānoa; and anonymous donors.

Gallery hours & admission:

Sun. – Thurs. noon – 4:00 p.m., Sun. noon - 4:00 p.m.

Closed Fridays & Saturdays; Labor Day, Sept. 6.

Free admission.

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


For more information please contact Sharon Tasaka at 808.956.8364 and gallery@hawaii.edu