U.S.-China artistic connection illustrated by giants

HERALD STAFF REPORTOctober 14, 2013 

BRADENTON -- The State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota Fine Art Gallery, in partnership with the Ringling College of Art and Design, will present "Forging Connections," a joint exhibit by Chinese artist Kirk Ke Wang and American artist Theo Wujcik that explores the cross-cultural connection between China and the United States.

An opening reception will be held 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Oct. 25, and an artist's talk by Wang will be held at 2 p.m. Nov. 7, at the Fine Art Gallery at SCF Bradenton, 5840 26th St. W.

The events are free and open the public.

"Forging Connections" will feature two installations: "Human Tide" by Wang at the SCF Fine Art Gallery and "New Paintings" premiering 16 new large-scale paintings by Wujcik at the Ringling College of Art and Design Selby Gallery, 2700 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

Following the custom of Asian culture, visitors to Wang's installation will be encouraged to remove their shoes and slip on specially prepared sandals to leave their footprints on the sand-covered gallery floor, which represents the doormat of the "house of humanity."

As guests walk through the "cultural canvas," they will find many sandals around the gallery with letters, words and icons in different languages carved on the soles like stamps. Guests are encouraged to exchange their shoes for the sandals, walk on the sand and leave their footprints to signify the footprints of many cultures. Videos featuring humans from all walks of life will be projected on the gallery wall to represent the diversity of the human family and guests who visit the exhibit.

Wang, a native of China and visual arts professor at Eckerd College, is a painter, sculptor, photographer, mixed media artist and educational software developer. He

earned a master of fine arts degree from Nanjing Normal University and the University of South Florida.

Wang's works of art have been exhibited and collected by museums and galleries in the United States and China, including the National Gallery in Beijing. He also was selected as the international curator for contemporary art exhibitions for museums and art festivals in China.

Wujcik is a professor emeritus at the University of South Florida, where he taught from 1972 to 2003. Known for his silverpoint and lithographic portraits of famous artists, including Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist and Jim Dine, he continues to paint and exhibit his work internationally.

Wang and Wujcik, who both have studios in Tampa, regularly meet to discuss their newest artistic explorations and their mutual interest in pop culture.

Exhibit dates are Oct. 25-Jan. 15.

Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-3 p.m. weekdays.

The SCF Fine Art Gallery will be closed for Veterans Day, Thanksgiving break and winter break.

Information: gallery manager Joe Loccisano, at 941-752-5225. Maps and directions online at scf.edu/maps.

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