Select high school students from all over the valley will showcase their art at the 11th annual high school art invitational at CSUN’s art gallery on Friday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m.
The show, which features student work from over 30 high schools, will display select mixed media pieces of art selected by teachers. Artwork of all media will be on display, including drawings, paintings, sculpture, photography and mixed media pieces.
The show demonstrates the wide and varied talent found across the San Fernando Valley; while some pieces are technically excellent, some pieces thrive in their abstract creativity.
A fun and different feeling is evoked from an image of two peeled bananas sitting in a banana skin boat. The boat floats in the middle of a serene sunset, and real human features were collaged on to their fleshy skin. Hannah Pinson, a student at John F. Kennedy High School, created an intriguing piece by digitally manipulating a photograph. It is the type of work that makes the viewer smile and wonder what the artist could have been thinking, and how her own memories and experiences translated into her art.
A portrait of a young boy crouched on a city street titled “Thailand,” by Shelbi Goldman from Campbell Hall High School, shows the whimsy of youth. The black and white photograph shows excellent emotion, and was printed to perfection. The background behind the subject is gritty and mysterious, but the faint shadows falling on the boy’s face show happiness and intrigue.
Another photograph that displays excellent technicality is a spectacular firework photograph captured by Robert Barry of Harvard-Westlake High School. A slow shutter speed enabled the camera to record every offshoot of light a sparkler created, and the picture touts a brilliant display of orange and yellow rays of light. At first glance, the picture looks like a finely detailed painting of fire, but on closer inspection the viewer can see a person creating the radiant show of light.
Moises Figueroa’s piece, “Diamond,” shows an intricate diamond pattern of glass beads. The tiny beads shimmer under the gallery’s lights, showing off their tight, diagonal pattern. Figueroa, from William Tell Aggeler High School, probably spent painstaking amounts of time perfecting the geographic pattern.
A mixed-media mask by Eva Lopez from San Fernando High School, entitled “The thing from outer space,” captures a carefree, “everything but the kitchen sink” kind of attitude. A face is sculpted out of fabric, plastic, beads, paper and huge amounts of glitter. The eyeballs, made from empty vending machine containers, protrude from the scarily colorful face, serving as a form of surveillance among the confetti colored allure of the piece.
Another face, by Christian Hall, of Stoney Point High School, has created a disturbing visage made out of glazed ceramics. The dark green skin of the face draws attention to a lolling pink tongue, hanging lifelessly out of a crooked mouth. The mouth, jammed with large, chiclet-white teeth, is contorted in a way that registers pain within the face. Hall’s piece provokes a curious state of mind, as red trails ooze from the face’s mouth, nose, and eye.
A piece that invokes a similar eeriness, but this time of a beautiful eeriness, is Conan Zhao’s drawing of a young girl holding an uprooted tree, entitled “Last One Standing.” The piece is reminiscent of surrealist Mark Ryden’s work – soft edges with phenomenal blending, usually featuring innocent, slightly creepy children holding pieces of the earth. The drawing shows immense talent and skill, as the piece looks like it came straight from the Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown Los Angeles.
Another technically stunning piece of art is Peter Lee’s untitled painting of a dish filled with color, growing a bare tree in a background of a beautiful and vacant desert. The colors leap from the piece, and the realness of the painting lends to its amazing, vivid detail.
While many of the pieces seem to promote social awareness, Nicole Nakhshekarian’s “Overpopulation” poster artistically renders the growing problem of worldwide overpopulation. Nakshekarian, of Northridge Academy High School, used watercolor pencils to shade the globe and color some of the figures. Numerous figures spill over the edges of the world, and statistics about overpopulation are in the corners of the poster.
Emmanuel Bonilla, also of Northridge Academy High School, drew an amazingly detailed pen triptych of an action figure fight scene. The exact lines and shading of the triptych demonstrates Bonilla’s marked ability and skill in animation.
The 11th annual high school invitational has a stunning assortment of art, too many to describe. There will be something for everybody at the show, and the range of media and subject varies immensely.
The gallery is showing well over one hundred pieces of art from all over the valley. The opening reception, which features refreshments and certificates of merit for the artists, will be on Friday, December 7 at 7 p.m. at the CSUN art gallery. The show will run through Jan. 12, 2008 but will be closed for holidays from Dec. 24 through Jan. 1. The gallery’s regular hours are Monday through Saturday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., and on Thursdays, the gallery stays open until 8 p.m. All gallery shows are free.