Solo art exhibition by UH Hilo alumnus Christofer Churchill opens at prestigious LA gallery

Christofer Churchill is an Ojai-based artist working primarily in painting, collage, and drawing. His works are often filled with vibrant and saturated color with overlaid lines and scrawls that loosely depict landscapes, faces, and other organic forms.

By Susan Enright

Abstract painting of oranges and browns.
On exhibit now at the Parrasch Heijnen Gallery in Los Angeles, CA, works of UH Hilo alumnus Christofer Churchill. This painting is titled Group Feeling (2018), graphite ink and watercolor, 22 X 30 inches.

A solo art exhibition by a graduate of the art program at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo is now underway at a major gallery in Los Angeles, CA. The Parrasch Heijnen Gallery is currently presenting new work by Ojai-based artist and UH Hilo alumnus Christofer Churchill. The show opened Sept. 7 and will run through Oct. 12, 2019.

Christofer Churchill (b.1971, Long Beach, CA) is an Ojai-based artist working primarily in painting, collage, and drawing. After graduating with a B.A. at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, he went on to receive an M.F.A. from Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI. His works are often characterized by a highly saturated palette and a process of intensely overlaid lines and scrawls which combine to form loosely identifiable images of landscapes, faces, and other organic forms. Churchill’s forms coalesce into a non-objective moment of deep meditation where historical and domestic motifs merge with the emotional resonance of materials. His work has been the focus of numerous solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tucson, AZ; Martos Gallery, New York, NY; Franklin Parrasch Gallery, New York, NY; The Contemporary Museum of Art, Honolulu, HI.

Christofer Churchill
Christofer Churchill. Photo by Michael Weinstein.

“Hilo was where I decided to be an artist,” says Churchill in a recent email. “Working with Michael Marshall and Wayne Miyamoto really gave me the confidence to pursue a career in art.”

Marshall is a professor of art and past chair of the art and performing arts department. The late Miyamoto, who passed in 2010, also served as chair of the art department and taught printmaking there from 1982 until his death. Churchill credits the two professors with teaching him a strong work ethic. “We really worked, learning to maintain the printmaking studio and its equipment as well as the painting studio and its equipment,” he explains.

Churchill says all of the student work experience he did at UH Hilo laid the foundation upon which he built his career.

“At UH Hilo I learned how art exhibitions get started from the ground up, international logistics and communicating with artists, how to frame and unframe works on paper and properly store them, and pack them up for international shipping and design an exhibition.”

“Most importantly,” he says, “the printmaking program and the Campus Center Gallery were key laboratories for me to learn the skill set that would prove valuable later as a graduate student at Cranbrook Academy of Art where I received a scholarship as well as a TA position and served as the student coordinator of the Network Gallery there. When I moved to New York after graduate school, I was able get an entry level gallery job as a preparator and later organize and curate exhibitions and work as the gallery director.”

He also credits UH Hilo’s visiting artist program with bringing him even more valuable experience.

“Through the visiting artist program I was fortunate enough to meet Krishna Reddy and Oliver Lee Jackson and in Jackson’s case help produce a few prints,” Churchill says.

A large triptych (three-part) painting, titled La Lluvia (2000), approximately 84″ x 216″, was created by Churchill while a UH Hilo student and installed on campus at the Student Life Center. The piece incorporates text from a poem by Pablo Neruda (English translation).

Three paintings as one work of art. Splashes of reds and grays on off-white canvas.
A large triptych, La Lluvia (2000), approximately 84″ x 216″ created by Christopher Churchill is installed on the campus of UH Hilo at the Student Life Center. Photo by Raiatea Arcuri/UH Hilo Stories. Click to enlarge.

A diptych (two-part) and single canvas work from this series created during Churchill’s final semester at UH Hilo are in the art department collection and available for an appropriate setting.

See also: Christofer Churchill on Instagram.


Story by Susan Enright, a public information specialist for the Office of the Chancellor and editor of UH Hilo Stories. She received her bachelor of arts in English and certificate in women’s studies from UH Hilo.