The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Flesh and the bonsai

Renee Rosenow

Turpentine containers, paint and brushes litter the floor of the basement. Canvases line the walls and a fan is blowing nearby. It is in this environment that senior Kaz Kuroki’s artwork comes to life.

Kuroki will display his artwork “Flesh and Bonsai” at the Infinitea Tea House, 112 E. Grand Ave., throughout the month of November. A reception will be held tonight from 7 to 9 p.m.

Kuroki said he hopes people are attracted to his artwork.

“There’s a certain amount of grotesqueness to it . but there’s a certain amount of elegance,” he said.

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One of his pieces will be a sculpture painting simulating flesh and bioforms, Kuroki said. Another piece represents bonsai, which are miniaturized trees of Japanese origin. The plants are manipulated to appear larger. In this instance, Kuroki said, bonsai is similar to painting.

The end objective of bonsai and painting, Kuroki said, is for it to appear free flowing. But it’s really the opposite as they both involve manipulation and distortion.

Kuroki said his artwork is intentionally ambiguous.

“They’ll make people contemplate them,” he said. “They’re not too obvious.”

Kuroki added that friends of his will be playing music at the reception for ambiance.

Drew Seveland, co-owner of Infinitea, said the reception will be like an open house and is a good way for people to get out of the house.

“We’ll have a time from 7 to 9 p.m. for people to come in to meet the artist, talk about the art, share different ideas and . meet different people and have a good time, have some tea,” he said.

Seveland said he has seen pictures of the artwork Kuroki plans to display and describes Kuroki’s artwork as darker and expressive, but definitely not abstract.

“(Kuroki) takes things and manipulates them in a way that kind of comes out to be much more expressive than just a painting of a still-life or something,” Seveland said.

Seveland said he and Kuroki became friends during a New York trip offered by the art department. Seveland said when the tea house began to bring in artists for art displays, Kuroki came
to mind.

“I kind of thought of him instantly as someone I wanted to bring in,” Seveland said.

Infinitea began to display local artwork for several reasons. The tea house has the wall space, Seveland said, and he’s been interested in art openings in general since he went on the art trip as a student.

“The fact is that there aren’t that many places around Eau Claire that do this and that turns this into . an event where people can meet different people,” he said.

It’s also an opportunity for young artists or local artists to meet each other and get their work out, he said.

Seveland said he hopes that Kuroki’s art sparks thought in patrons. It’s also an opportunity to see the broad range of art the Chippewa Valley and the university has to offer.

Assistant professor of Art Ned Gannon said the opportunity that Infinitea offers artists is terrific.

Artists are always looking for new venues and opportunities for their work, Gannon said, and when people are just out of school it can be difficult to find places to sell work, to show work or get publicity.

“I think the more opportunities we have for that, the better,”
Gannon said.

Gannon said he has known Kuroki for a number of years through class and like Seveland, knows the artist through the New York art trip, which he co-led once with Karen O’Day, professor of art history. The trip is a one-credit course and it is possible to go three times for a total of three credits. It is offered every spring.

Gannon said Kuroki has gone on the art trip twice and he thinks Kuroki will go again.

“I think that’s sort of indicative of his personality,” Gannon said. “I think he’s really interested in where art’s happening, what kind of art’s happening, where he can fit into that larger scheme of things.”

Gannon said he thinks Kuroki is talented and is a reliable student.

“You can expect the work on time, you can expect good quality work and every once in a while, you can expect a surprise from him,” Gannon said.

Gannon added this is the kind of student that he hopes for. Students like Kuroki are able to develop both conceptually and technically at the same time.

Gannon said he’s always excited to see student’s artwork and thinks it’s interesting that Kuroki took the initiative to use work done outside of class.

“I don’t think that’s necessarily typical,” Gannon said. “I think a lot of times when people have shows around here, it is work that they’ve had feedback on. It’ll be exciting not only to have a student show work, but it will also be exciting to see work that I haven’t commented on or seen.”

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