Liz Train Woven Steel Frame Sculptures

Liz Train: Woven Steel Frame Sculptures

October 5 – November 21, 2022

THE COMMONS GALLERY, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Commons Gallery is proud to present Liz Train: Woven Steel Frame Sculptures. This exhibition will reunite the majority of Liz Train's woven steel frame sculptures, including Red Hot Mama, Hooded Scarab, and Egyptian Jewel. Made between 1975–78, when Train was an MFA student at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, the colorful, large-scale works inhabit a space between painting, sculpture and textile.

Train’s experimental abstract sculptures evoke both landscapes and vulval forms. As a graduate student at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Train recalls being inspired by Niki de Saint Phalle, the three-dimensional textiles of Magdalena Abakanowicz, and most of all by the reliefs of Lee Bontecou. Although her subsequent work involved 2-D textiles, Train’s woven steel frame sculptures show her establishing a practice that investigates the minimal “specific object” (as Donald Judd termed it in 1964) that is neither painting nor sculpture, through the lenses of gender and non-traditional art mediums. Train writes, “Judd wrote about the work of Bontecou, ‘[The artwork] becomes an object in its own right.... Ordinarily the structural parts lie within a field formed by the rectangle of a painting.’ That is where I was coming from...breaking out of the rectangle, making the external shapes and the internal shapes and textures one object of interest: ‘The image is an object.’”

After earning her MFA, Train worked as a lecturer in Fiber Art and as a section leader for professor Helen Gilbert’s “Women in Art” course at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Art Department. In Gilbert’s course, feminist artists including Agnes Denes, Jackie Winsor, and Betty Saar visited Mānoa and worked with graduate and undergraduate students in art. Reuniting these works made in the context of our department helps us better understand the feminist history of our studio program.

Artist Bio

Liz Train (b. 1952, Colorado Springs, Colorado) holds a BFA in ceramics (1974) and an MFA in Fiber Arts (1979) from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Train has shown extensively including at the Downtown Art Center, the Honolulu Museum of Art and the Honolulu Museum of Art School, Mark’s Garage, Louis Pohl Gallery, Pegge Hopper Gallery, Cedar Street Gallery, Koa Gallery at KCC, The Contemporary Museum, Hawai'i Pacific University Gallery, Honolulu Hale, Punahou School Gallery, and Stones Gallery in Lihue, Kauai, among other venues. She is an active member of Hawai'i Craftsmen and the Hawai'i Handweavers’ Hui. Her work has been reviewed in American Craft Magazine, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Honolulu Advertiser, and Fiber Arts Magazine, among other publications. Train taught weaving and fiber arts at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa (1980 – 1987) and worked as a museum educator at the Contemporary Museum (1998 – 2005); taught classes in fiber arts and weaving at the Honolulu Museum of Art School (2006 – 2020); and worked as a teaching artist in the Hawai'i State Art Museum. In 2022 she began teaching adult fiber arts classes in the newly opened Hawai'i Handweavers’ Hui studio at the Downtown Art Center. Her work is in the collection of the Hawai'i State Foundation on Culture and Arts, as well as many private collections.


This exhibition was curated by Maika Pollack, Director and Chief Curator, John Young Museum of Art and University Galleries with Alexandra Melendez, and the students of the ART 360 seminar at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.


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 in the ground floor of The Art Building. From Dole Street, take East-West Road to Correa Road, and then turn left for the Art Building.

Museum hours & Admission
The Commons Gallery at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa is open 24/7 through the gallery windows. We will be staffing the gallery as staff allows, and hours are noon – 4 pm, Wednesday – Sunday. Closed Mondays, Tuesdays, 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 808.956.8364 and