New Hawai‘i Volcanoes Artist-in-Residence uses technology for new perceptions of Hawaiian beauty

Dr. Jean-Rene Leblanc
December 2015 Artist-in-Residence, Dr. Jean-Rene Leblanc

Courtesy photo

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News Release Date: November 16, 2015

Contact: Jessica Ferracane, 808-985-6018

Everyone is invited to experience a bold new perspective on the beauty of Hawai‘i through innovative digital artist Dr. Jean-René Leblanc, the artist in residence at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National for December 2015.
Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and the non-profit National Parks Arts Foundation (NPAF), are pleased to welcome Dr. Leblanc, a professor of fine arts at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada who incorporates infrared spectrum photography into his digital tableaux to “make the invisible visible.” He will be in the park from Dec. 4, 2015 – Jan. 4, 2016.
The artist will present an After Dark in the Park program, “Presentification: Making the Invisible Visible” on Tues., Dec. 22, at 7 p.m. in the Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium. The event is free, but park entrance fees apply. Leblanc will share a series of images that explore the photographic act as an investigative process, and will share insight on the interrelation between his creative impulse and the creation of photographic artifacts. 
Leblanc will also offer two public workshops limited to 10 people on consecutive Fridays: Dec. 11 and 18, at 11 a.m.
Hawai‘i has long been an inspiration to Leblanc, who was married on Hawai‘i Island and has done several Hawai‘i-based art projects. “Hawai‘i is a powerful cultural and geographical place that is quite striking both visually and emotionally. As an artist, I love to connect with the people and places where I am working creatively and Hawai‘i has moved me by its visual and cultural beauty. Both the local residents and tourists who flock to experience the popular connotation of Hawai‘i as “Paradise” may often miss some of the beautiful nuance. In my work and in these workshops, I hope to offer a fresh perspective for what the eye of habit might no longer see, and ideally, a different understanding,” Leblanc said. 
Towards the end of his month-long residency, Leblanc will present a piece of his art to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. 
“We are looking forward to the arrival of Dr. Jean-René Leblanc as our second artist in residence,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “Artists are an important part of the National Park Service and have had a long-standing impact on the establishment and preservation of our parks. Continuing this historic tradition by providing artists the opportunity to draw on inspiration from the park’s volcanic landscapes and cultural resources has long been a goal for Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Translating that inspiration into art brings new insights, beauty and a more thorough understanding of the park,” she said. 
 Originally from Montréal, Leblanc is the co-founder of the Sensorium Lab, a research group that focuses on technology that enhances and transforms kinesthetic perceptions. He was educated at Concordia University and the University of Windsor and has a Ph.d in Gender and Technology from the Université de Quebec, Montréal. 
The National Parks Arts Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to the promotion of the National Parks of the U.S. through creating dynamic opportunities for artworks that are based in our natural and historic heritage. This project is supported by the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, National Endowment for the Arts, The Atherton Foundation, the Jhamandas Watumull Fund, and other generous benefactors. For details, visit 

Last updated: April 23, 2018

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