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Viewpoints Featured Show
March 1st through 21st, 2001


To reach Beth Marcil's studio, I drove south on the Hana Highway. Just where the road markers start over, I turned towards the ocean, into a long driveway and finally in a clearing overlooking a wildly wonderful gulch, there was Beth's house, civilization in the wilderness of lower Peahi.

On the way to the studio, I encountered impressive and varied folk art, a personal collection reflecting Beth's peripatetic life, and including some truly elegant pieces which occupied walls and floor. In the studio, a large space filled with north light, stood many paintings, the basic structure of a show called "Island Fresh".

"Over time", the artist told me, "my love affair with the island is increasing". The subject matter emphasized things she has noticed – parts of life jumping out at her – such as driving down the highway behind surfing cars, one a Mercedes and one rusty and ready for the dump, or a huge pineapple truck on its way to market. Beth loves the variety of people she meets here; because of her many interests, she encounters a cross section of Maui society, such as dance and the visual arts.

All the works for the show, painted in acrylic, are intensely hued and composed in deep space. The latter is a departure for this artist, who has mostly worked with the shallow space of graphic art. All but one painting are landscapes; one is an interior. Beth told me that she had learned an immense amount about color from Richard Nelson. In her new paintings, she she is "feeling more playful" in the use of intense hue, playing with brushes and strokes more, and also playing with space. She said "Parts of life are jumping out at me". Her renewed interest in color began while she was doing murals in Sprecklesville, using acrylics and color but still in an illustrative manner. It was a stepping stone.

It is three years since the artist's last show. Besides the core of acrylics, there will be a few oils and watercolors. On the invitation is a print of a watercolor of the Aloha Theater and Café. Beth also showed me a large work scratch board, two by three feet, a dramatic black and white contrast to the rest of the work in the show. While she does many commissions, most of which the rest of us do not see, Beth showed me an original artwork, a stunning painting, which may be included in the show (as only limited reproduction rights were purchased). More real than real, a study in reflections, it was the ultimate image of tropical Hawaii, the Hawaii of our dreams.

Like her present interests and use of media, Marcil's education has covered a wide territory. She studied graphic design, then hand made paper and fine arts, at Columbia College a private women's college in South Carolina. After graduation, Beth worked as a graphic designer, then went to Ringling School of Art and Design for two and a half years, studying illustration, receiving an education in painting geared toward the printed media. She then got married, and subsequently, with her husband, rode the Bike Centennial Trail to the West Coast. While in Seattle, she heard about a job as Creative Director for a publishing company in Winston-Salem. Beth came to Maui on vacation in 1984, returned to her job, and decided to move to Maui in 1985. She joined galleries such as Village and Coast, and for a while ran the hand made paper workshop at the Hui No'eau. She ended up working in a variety of mixed media, such as watercolor/colored pencil/acrylics/a little pastel/charcoal.

In the 90's, Beth did non-representational work to explore color principles. "This work was very quiet and meditative." After that, she said she "felt the need to loosen up". She likes the experience of changing media, comparing it to different movements in dance, as in West African or Afro-Cuban dance, and to the different states in her art.

Margaret Bedell
February 21, 2001

| Intro | | Show Page 1 | |Show Page 2 | |Show Page 3 |
| Interview with Beth |

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