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.