Depending on where and when you might have made her acquaintance, you’d recognize Mare Akana as, variously, a painter, a sculptor, a wearble-art or ceramics artisan. Perhaps as a card-carrying stage, screen and voice actor — a founding member of New Jersey Repertory Company, an occasional choreographer, a trained hula dancer in her Honolulu hometown. Given that the Long Branch resident is equally adept at canoeing and equestrian pursuits, you might say that her bailiwick is both the surf and the turf — and all this month at the Monmouth County Library Eastern Branch, the artist is the focus of a solo exhibit that could only be called “Surf and Turf.”
On view right now during regular library hours, the exhibit encompasses textured abstract paintings that evoke the bright colors and shapes of the Pacific Rim (“I crave those colors the way another person would seek out comfort food”); sculpted figures of life forms “from the sea or from other worlds;” hand-formed ceramics (often incorporating equine imagery), and sculptural jewelry items in clay and silver. There’s a lot of the artist on display already, and this Thursday evening, Akana herself will be there in person — as will “Laughing Pony” — for an opening reception meet-and-greet.
Served up with light refreshments on the side, the reception happens between the hours of 6:30 and 9 pm, with the “Surf and Turf” installation continuing at the Route 35 biblioteque through July 31 — after which a selection of jewelry items and smaller pieces will move to Rumson’s Oceanic Free Library for a display that runs during the month of August.