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Bright young things

FWMoAs 2013 Scholastic Art and Writing Exhibition offers an impressive display of young talent

By Dan Swartz

Fort Wayne Reader


The Fort Wayne Museum of Art's 2013 Scholastic Art and Writing exhibition is always one of the highlights of their year, as they award the best and brightest high school students and the work they have created over the past year. Being one of only 26 Scholastic Programs in the country to offer the full Art and Writing Program, the FWMoA's program includes 52 counties regionally, and has produced numerous national awards. Always impressive, both in the display of hundreds of young artist's work, and in the extreme quality of much of the work presented, this exhibition is a testament to the dedication of both the students and the art educators who assist the development of the creative talent on display.

Also keeping up with tradition, Carroll High School students represented their school well, especially as Nicole Croy's photography students tore up both the Gold and Silver medals. Certain projects like their "Dear Photograph" images (when a photographer aligns a photo from the past with the location it represents in the present, and takes another photo, including the older image) and historical photo recreations are generally interesting and well done, particularly Taylor Jones and Delaney Brown's images. Other Carroll photography highlights include Alison Resac's "Pick me apart piece by piece," a piece composed of many images made to look like Polaroids (made by Poladroid, a photo app), which are snapshots of her life, from dull images from every day, to close ups of bruises, to hairstyles, to laughing with friends. The piece's broken narrative evokes nostalgia, youth, and longing. Taylor Jones also produced "Putting My Life Back Together One Stitch At a Time," a mixed media photo piece including stitched images, including an x-ray looking image of a heart, and a series of family photos, including father and daughter strung along below.

Other notable photographic pieces include Austin White's "Eva And Eve, Adam and Eve, Adam and Steve," and Carrie Hart's "Father Like Daughter." Hart, a South Side senior, created a self portrait image of herself with an image of her father overlaid. The resulting image is striking and elegant, something of an "if they mated" amalgamation of Collier Schorr's work on androgyny and Do-Ho Suh's overlaying yearbook images. White's large format photographic triptych is interesting for a number of formal and content based reasons. Obviously, the work is politically charged and timely, as it depicts three couples locked in an intimate kiss, one female, one male, and one of both genders. The black and white images themselves are well composed, but the piece is further pushed through the use of gold and silver pushpins, which are used to outline the kissers faces, and connecting their eyes, likely a metaphor for the soul. The resulting images remind the viewer of Ellen Gallagher images, and are quite powerful.

While photography truly dominated this exhibition as far as quality, notable non-photographic pieces include Kelly Grant's "Made in the USA," a ceramic Chinese carry out box full of fortune cookies, Riley Schultz's "Self Portrait" etching from Bryan High School, Tory Savage's "Primary Ponder" pointillistic drawing, Samar Almahboosh's "The Gears of Kraken," an intricate octopus made of clay, metal cogs, and clock parts, and Baleigh Haynes' "Cicadian Rhythm," a raised pewter bowl with a fused pewter rim, which took craftsmanship to new levels. All of these young artists are truly deserving of the honors they received.

However, this viewer was most intrigued by two artists on either end of the age spectrum who both submitted film pieces the Scholastics veteran Esther Boller, and the young and talented 8th grade middle school student, Robert Greene. Both of these artists produced works that are engrossing, and ultimately ahead of their time in both craftsmanship and concept.

Greene, a Canterbury student, creates a memorial to the great literary figure Ray Bradbury, who passed away in 2012, with "Untitled," a short film that includes stop motion animation, and crafts a tale taking place in what is presumably Bradbury's study, in which the ink from his pen is animated, writes out "Fahrenheit 451," is confronted by the goings on of modernism, and is then sandwiched into the pages of the journal in which it was playing scribe, only to be found by Bradbury. Greene's piece is successful not only because of its intelligent creation, and use of visual reference, but also its incredibly unique perspective, playing off of the concept of the "genius" in ancient Western history which was the source of inspiration for writers and artists.

Esther Boller's body of work present in the 2013 Scholastics exhibition includes fashion, photography, and film. This exposition of Boller's vision and style is both fresh and timelessly elegant. Boller's beach photos remind the viewer of classic editorial images by Avedon and Dahl-Wolfe, reinvented. Pieces like "Red Feather Dress," an intricate, chic cocktail dress made of satin cotton and synthetic silk, show off Boller's incredibly technical abilities as well as her knowledge of design. Esther Boller's triumph however, is clearly "Where I don't Feel Alone," a short film which depicts her walking and dancing through fields, a dancer in the studio, grieving at the base of a tree, and a particularly beautiful seen where she recreates the pre-Raphaelite painting "Ophelia," laying in a stream. The film is a devotional piece for her brother Daniel, and takes the viewer through the emotional roller coaster(s) of a young woman as she finds ways to cope with this passing. Esther Boller's ability to instantly snag the viewer's attention, carry them through a narrative, all the while entertaining and inspiring them through design is unique and refreshing. Certainly, her successes are only beginning at the end of her High School career, and will continue through college.

The commitment that the Fort Wayne Museum of Art (and its sponsors, this year including Chase Bank, IPFW, and Indiana Weslyan University) has made to foster our region's young talent is incredible. For the third year straight year, these efforts have assisted our region's creative students garner nearly one million dollars in scholarships at colleges and universities across the country.

For more information:
"2013 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards"
Feb 10-April 7, 2013

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