Design student’s work grabs Best of Show in 2nd juried exhibit
May 25, 2011
By Darla Martin Tucker
The ‘Best of Show’ announcement came as a surprise to senior graphic design major Kiyomi Fukui. Her art exhibit pieces were smaller than most of the other student entries nor were they “fancy” three-dimensional works, she said.
Yet judges for La Sierra University’s second annual juried student art show decided her prints possessed depth and personality. During the awards ceremony on May 9 at Brandstater Gallery, they awarded Fukui Best of Show and a $300 prize.
“To hear all of their comments about my works was incredible. That was a great affirmation and encouragement, especially because those judges were the people I really admired,” said Fukui.
Show judge Jeff Koegel, an award-winning Laguna Beach artist and previous exhibitor at Brandstater Gallery said he liked how Fukui’s works related to each other. “Like a group of individuals [they] are very different, but you can tell that they are members of the same family. Kiyomi created all her work with a personal and consistent visual language, and at the same time, each had its own personality,” he said.
The juried student art show involved 110 pieces created by 38 students over the past school year. Of the artists, 22 were art majors and the remainder from various disciplines around campus. Their works ran the gamut of imagination, creativity and media. Their art included a three-dimensional series called “The Inklings” of owl-like pieces involving eye glasses, pine cones and book pages; a large, burgundy hued work on batik fabric of three little girls called “Hermanas”; delicate butterflies cut from magazine pages springing off of canvasses in curving and circular flight patterns; a tipped-over bucket of burlap fish with red gills; intriguing self-portraits in varying two and three-dimensional form involving various digital and mixed media.
Professor Sant Khalsa, chair of the art department at California State University, San Bernardino, Professor Andrew Byrom, California State University, Long Beach, Dreamworks matte painting supervisor Justin Brandstater and Koegel served as judges for the show. They arrived at the gallery and critiqued the students’ work the afternoon of the awards ceremony.
The four artists reached consensus relatively easily on pieces to be awarded, Koegel said. “The nature of the work varied so much, but after taking about an hour of just looking over the show, passing through three times, I began to look for the work that made the strongest impression on me,” he said. “I wanted to see work that represented the artist’s unique view of the world, and that the execution of the work delivers the idea to me.”
During the ceremony, the judges commented on the successful elements of each winner’s pieces and presented a total of $1,100 in prizes to students. Judges awarded a $200 first place award each in graphic design and fine art, a $100 second place award each in graphic design and fine art, and four, $50 honorable mention awards.
Josh Harwood received first place in graphic design and Krissi Traustason took second place; Nick Reise placed first in fine arts while Avi Ille placed second; works by Katie Pershing, Rebecca Waring-Crane, Krissi Traustason, and Nicki Anthony received honorable mentions.
“The students received good feed back and encouragement from the judges, and feel very motivated to continue producing the best work they can,” said art department chair and gallery director Beatriz Mejia-Krumbein. This is the second year the gallery has held a professional, juried show for students. Previously art professors submitted their students’ work and students had little say in deciding which pieces were included. Now the students “bring what they love, what they are proud of,” Mejia-Krumbein said. “It’s really exciting to see what they bring.”
On May 12 the art department hosted a viewing of the student exhibit for La Sierra administration and staff and answered questions about the various art works. Click here for a photo gallery of the event: http://lasierra.edu/uploads/pics/2011_studentart/.
Fukui submitted a series of small intaglio prints including one awash in aqua and greens titled “A Bell of the Sunday Morning.” A larger linoleum reduction print in greens, grays and yellows she called “Holes.” Fukui created the latter piece by carving individual layers on a linoleum block and printing each layer. The work depicts Fukui’s ideas about “quiet state over chaos,” she said. Linoleum reduction cuts are sometimes called suicide cuts because carving the linoleum block destroys it. But the act of destruction also creates and builds up a work of art. “I thought that the juxtaposition of destructive process and the end result created by building up multiple layers were very interesting,” the artist said. She worked nearly 40 hours on the piece printing about nine layers all together.
The etching print titled “Bell of the Sunday Morning” characterizes Fukui’s memories of the quiet, surreal morning following the apparent suicide of an academy classmate. The piece incorporates images of a path leading uphill to a dorm, bells, laundry lines and hidden images, all intending to represent contradictions and chaos, she said.
“All I could think of was how beautiful that Sunday morning was, when I stepped outside of my dorm not knowing about what happened to my classmate,” Fukui said. “It was so strange … I had never seen a beautiful morning like that. The air was so clear that I felt that if someone rang a bell I would still hear it across the campus.”
Fukui is a native of Japan where her father serves as a Seventh-day Adventist pastor. She came to La Sierra to study art as the schools in Japan may not honor her Sabbath beliefs, she said. She intends to earn a Master of Fine Arts in printmaking. Meanwhile, Fukui plans to use her winnings to pay for a trip next year to a printmaking shop in South Dakota. But perhaps the best award was the judges’ appreciation and encouragement.
“Through this prize and the feedback I received from the judges, it felt like it is all right for me to fully devote myself to what I love,” said the young artist.
PR Contact: Larry Becker
Executive Director of University Relations
La Sierra University