He’s a man-sized sculpture made of compressed newspapers (and a lot of glue), but please don’t call him The Newspaper Man. Poised atop a four-foot log with his right hand extended, the sculpture is titled It’s Nice To Meet You, explains sculptor Willie Seo.
The native of South Korea says the work is a statement about life in another culture, which he has embraced for 16 years in Victoria.
The sculpture is one of more than 30 works by graduating student artists on display in the Visual Arts Building.
This year’s Bachelor of Fine Arts theme is work, and the exhibit features paintings, sculpture, photography, drawings, installations and “extended media” presentations.
Now open to the public, the exhibit runs until Saturday.
“It is a true celebration of this moment in contemporary art and shows great promise for the future of visual art,” faculty curator Sandra Meigs said in a statement.
To the casual observer, Seo’s newspaper sculpture looks like it’s made of bleached driftwood.
A quick rap on its leg sounds just like knocking on wood, which is appropriate, given the origins of newsprint.
The sculpture also suggests a geological formation, given that it’s composed of hundreds of still visible layers glued together. Seo started by tracing his own body as a template, then building up the outline, using the Times Colonist along with Korean and Chinese newspapers — an estimated 20 kilograms’ worth.
“It was a really time-consuming project,” said Seo, who confesses the enormity of the undertaking stressed him out. He simplified things by using an iron grinder to keep the outline even and decided not to emphasize genitalia — he didn’t want the figure to be overtly masculine.
Seo is amazed that purely by chance, under the figure’s chin, the word ARTS somehow revealed itself from the millions of words used in construction.
Between the newspaper sculpture and an untitled decomposing salmon suspended in resin, Seo received an A plus for the semester.
Now he’s looking for work.
Graduating Bachelor of Fine Arts Students Exhibition
Where: Visual Arts Building, University of Victoria (Parking lot 6)
When: Weekdays, noon to 8 p.m., and weekends, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., until Saturday
Note: Get a peek at some of the works at tinyurl.com/d7buzxw