Student’s art draws from life’s flow

"Circulation," etching, 2011
"Circulation," etching, 2011

May 11, 2012

By Darla Martin Tucker

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – ( She might have made a good physicist. Kiyomi Fukui is captivated by tiny elements and their role in earth’s grand lifecycles.

But Fukui is an artist who chooses to express her interests with etchings and other works that depict ways miniscule elements essentially hold together nature’s overarching, circular systems.

Fukui, a native of Japan, is graduating this June from La Sierra University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design, but before she receives her degree, she will put her talents on display at La Sierra’s Brandstater Gallery. Her solo show, “Circulation,” opens May 14 and will feature work the student created this school year. Fukui will display approximately 10 pieces, most of which are 14x18 inches. Her show will include a site-specific installation involving murals painted on gallery walls.

An artist’s reception will be held May 14, 6-8 p.m. The exhibit runs through May 28. Admission is free. La Sierra’s Brandstater Gallery is located in the Visual Art Center 112, Building 1. Gallery hours are Mon. – Thurs., 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Sun., 2 – 5 p.m. La Sierra University is at 4500 Riverwalk Parkway, Riverside. For additional information call 951-785-2170.

“Holes,” reduction linoleum cut, 2011
“Holes,” reduction linoleum cut, 2011

“I named my show “Circulation” because I wanted to capture the beauty of ephemeral balance in nature and human relationships, to be more specific, a big system of circulation that we live in,” said Fukui. “We are not perfect and not everything is pretty, but there is something beautiful about it. I wanted to trace …the deconstruction and accumulation of the particles of life, creating a bigger image.”

Says Fukui, “To recognize the ‘self’ being a mere part of a bigger system, and to really own this powerlessness is my central goal in this show.”

Fukui chose etchings as the primary artistic vehicle for bringing her concepts to life. “Etching takes a number of different stages, from preparing the copper plates to letting the acid etch the marks I created on the plate. It is sort of a meditative process, since it takes long to complete one image,” she said. “ ‘Circulation’ is my attempt to grasp the meaning of self through creating marks and images.”

Fukui’s show includes a linoleum reduction print in greens, grays and yellows she calls “Holes.” Fukui created the 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.

“A Bell of the Sunday Morning,” etching with watercolor, 2011
“A Bell of the Sunday Morning,” etching with watercolor, 2011

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. Fukui worked nearly 40 hours on the piece printing about nine layers all together. “I thought that the juxtaposition of destructive process and the end result created by building up multiple layers were very interesting,” the artist said.

Fukui, age 23, was raised in Japan and came to the United States at age 19 to study graphic design. Her father serves as a Seventh-day Adventist pastor. Fukui said she came to La Sierra University, a Seventh-day Adventist institution, as the schools in Japan might not honor her Sabbath beliefs.

“My plan after graduation is to continue working on my portfolio pieces to prepare for graduate school. My overall career goal is to be able to support myself as an artist, perhaps with a teaching job, but I do not know yet,” said Fukui. “I will go and do what God leads me to. Wherever I end up, I would love to keep aiming higher, developing my concepts and my visual vocabulary, and stay humble at God’s feet.”


PR Contact: Larry Becker

Executive Director of University Relations

La Sierra University

Riverside, California

951.785.2460 (voice)

  • Last update on  May 11, 2012