Radford Alumna’s Art Exhibition in Floyd Shows Zen Influence
Artwork by Radford University alumna Sidra Kaluszka '10 is on display through December at the art gallery of the Jessie Peterman Memorial Library in Floyd. The exhibition consists of watercolors supplemented with a ceramics slide show intended to express Kaluszka’s love of nature and light.
Kaluszka said her passion for Zen Buddhism is her artistic inspiration, with the East Asian philosophy materializing through her ceramics and watercolors.
“Zen Buddhism instills a reverence for nature and an awareness of connectivity between people and the natural world,” she said. “There is also an understanding that the world around us is a living entity that deserves respect and understanding.
“Zen philosophies also teach that it is best to learn from firsthand experience rather than the written word, because writings can be interpreted different ways. Therefore with my watercolors, I seek to capture the vitality of nature and convey it to the viewer.”
Kaluszka’s combination of original watercolor and ceramic pieces recently earned her first place honors in the New and Emerging Artists category at the 6th Annual Art on the Lawn event in Pearisburg, organized by the Giles Art Council.
While a graduate student in Radford’s master of fine arts program, Kaluszka was mentored by award-winning art professor Z.L. Feng. She credits Feng with helping her become a better artist, saying he encourages his students to search deep within to discover both their strengths and weaknesses.
“He is a teacher who truly teaches and wants his students to develop their own styles and interests rather than copying his style and subject matter,” she said. “He is a model teacher. Being a teacher is far more than showing up to class, handing out class work and giving feedback. Feng teaches not because he has to but because he loves to.”
Through her Zen-centric art, Kaluszka said, she focuses on daily existence, showing how even the most simple and commonplace can be a source of inspiration.
“The romantic thoughts of nature don't have to be in far-off places devoid of human influence but can be found all around us,” Kaluszka said. “As a result, I use natural objects gathered from the sides of walkways, trails, even the middle of campus. I seek to open the eyes of my viewers to nature’s beauty that immediately surrounds us.”
Kaluszka’s artwork is also currently being exhibited at the Green Heron in Radford, O'Pass Tea & Crepe in Blacksburg and the Jacksonville Center for the Arts in Floyd, where she is manager of the ceramics studio. More information about Kaluszka and her art are on her Facebook page.