‘Vanishing Points’ artist here to stay

Sakura Korestune works on a painting for her Bachelor of Fine Arts Thesis Exhibit that opens March 15 in the Fine Arts Complex. Photo by Jessica Hoffman/The Sun Star

By Jessica Hoffman
Sun Star Reporter

For most bachelor degree-seeking students, once they’ve completed the course requirements for their major they can pick up their sheepskins and hit the bricks. Bachelor of Fine Arts students, however, must prove themselves with a senior exhibition. From March 15 to 26, BFA student Sakura Koretsune will have a chance to showcase her talent at her senior show.

Koretsune has been working on her show’s series, “Vanishing Points,” for the last four semesters. It will include about 30 of her paintings and some of her sculptures. Koretsune’s paintings have a dream-like quality; human figures at work or play in the foreground, with the background just a blur, devoid of any reference to time or place. Like a reflection in a house of mirrors, you don’t know where the beginning ends or the end begins.

Koretsune said she finds inspiration in being away from her family and culture in Japan. “I’ve always had really strong feelings about my family. Sometimes, I feel lonely being by myself here,” she said. The painter hails from Hiroshima, Japan, and many of her paintings feature scenes reminiscent of her culture. One of the paintings depicts a girl in a backpack watching bamboo shoots sprout within a bamboo forest; another is a scene of women hanging fish on lines strung between poles. “I want to show this kind of fishing scene, something from my culture, to people all around the world,” she said.

The artist came to UAF in 2006 but she did not start painting until 2008 because her focus was on sculpture. Mike Nakoneczny, her painting professor as well as the chair of her Bachelor of Fine Arts Committee said “I like to say I stole her from sculpture but I’m not sure if she sees it that way. She fell in love with painting after her first painting class and never looked back.”

But Koretsune did not always enjoy painting. “When I started painting, I didn’t like working in two dimensional,” she said. But the more she explored the medium, the more expression she found in it. She said she found “more freedom to manipulate human figures.” Using human figures in her art is a recurring theme. “I think the human figure is strong because it’s something we can all feel empathy too. It’s just beautiful,” she said.

Koretsune’s work has been shown at Pioneer Park’s Bear Gallery during the 64th Parallel Contemporary Fine Art Juried Exhibition in October, the Well Street Art Co. gallery and Bunnell Street Arts Center in Homer. During the 2009 BP World Ice Art Championships, Koretsune worked with two other UAF students in the multi-block competition.

The works from “Vanishing Points” will be for sale during the show but Koretsune said she won’t miss them when they’re gone because she’s taken good photographs of them all and “I would be happy if someone will hang them on their wall because right now they are stuck on my shelves.”

“Vanishing Points” opens Monday, March 15. The artist’s reception is Tuesday, March 16 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Student Art Gallery in the Fine Arts Complex.

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