Six high school seniors are displaying their artwork that explores various social topics and historical art movements in an upcoming showcase at Margaret Lane Gallery in Hillsborough beginning Feb. 24.
The art show is a culmination of each student’s work in the International Baccalaureate program through Cedar Ridge High School.
The event is comprised of three shows: “Our Moments in Time," “A Kaleidoscope of Emotions” and "The Shape of Life Through Color." Each show lasts two weeks, with two students being featured in each showcase.
The students each spent two years creating and compiling a portfolio that includes artwork and written rationales explaining their journey.
“I really want the public to not only appreciate the beauty of their work and their effort,” Lori Shepley, visual arts instructor at Cedar Ridge High School, said. “But also I want them to understand how much thinking goes into creating art and a product that is divergent from anything else.”
Student Olive Youngblood is one of the two Cedar Ridge students putting on "The Shape of Life Through Color" showcase.
“My main intention is for audiences to be able to see my growth as an artist throughout the class,” Youngblood said. “I've explored a lot of different styles and mediums, and the way that I've arranged my exhibition shows my transition between styles, going from a realistic to more abstract style.”
Shepley describes the process for I.B. Art students as an experimentation with art movements, including impressionism, expressionism and fauvism, as well as the application of techniques learned through in-depth research and sketching.
“Around the latter half of my first year in I.B. Art, I stumbled across artists like Hannah Höch and Barbara Kruger who made social commentary,” Michelle Castellanos, one of the students putting on "Our Moments in Time," said. “I was inspired to address these messages of women’s issues and racial issues since it's something that affects me as a Latina.”
Youngblood decided to focus on exploring color, style and the abstraction of portraits in her work by using a variety of artistic styles.
“My two main inspirations were pop art, and fauvism and impressionism – which are two very different styles – but I hope people are able to see how I was able to blend them together and learn a lot from the class in terms of my art making process,” Youngblood said.
But, students in Shepley's I.B. Art class were tasked with working through less than ideal conditions for peer critiques and student collaborations, due to the pandemic.
“The camaraderie and the collegiate sharing of information in a one on one basis is missed, as well as the aspect of actually seeing techniques in person because the computer screen doesn't really do it justice,” Shepley said.
Despite the shift to virtual learning, students were able to find some upsides of working and learning from home.
“Being at home made me be more resourceful, in a sense, to make things that I don't think I would have made otherwise,” Castellanos said.
Youngblood was thankful that the class included lots of independent study, during which she researched to prepare for the actual painting process.
“I'm a little bit nervous because this is my first time really having a formal show in an actual art gallery,” Youngblood said. “But I've been working on this for a really long time, so I feel confident in my work at this point.”
Castellanos is excited for people to see her artwork and the messages they portray.
“I just want to instill the belief that change still needs to be made in society, and although we’ve come far from where we used to be, I want people to get exposed to these messages because they’re real issues that need to be addressed,” Castellanos said.
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