The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

Loading Recent Classifieds...

Art grad student?s new oil painting exhibit focuses on teen culture

The four teenage girls are’ huddled at the back of a limousine, dressed to the nines, sipping champagne and text-messaging. The setting is dark, bathed in an overcast blue and almost sinister. Over by the limo’s mini-bar, a pair of thighs is reflected, almost touching on lewdness. Almost, but not quite; the girls are seemingly unaware of the sexuality they exude.

‘It’s called ‘Vice’,’ said artist Therese Conte, 51, of her painting, one of several others on display in her ‘Teenage Psyche’ exhibit at CSUN’s West Gallery in the Art and Design Center.

‘It is about young kids putting on the pretense of adulthood,’ Conte said.

She described the painting as the one which spoke to her the most and that the painting itself addressed ‘broader aspects of teen culture.’

Conte said the painting reflected the ‘predatory society’ of today, citing the innocence of teenagers who put up pictures of themselves on the Internet, not knowing how those pictures might be viewed by those with less than honorable agendas.

Conte said her teenage daughter remained a focal point in her work, being portrayed in almost all the pieces on exhibit.

‘You paint what you know,’ she said, when asked about her subjects.

‘I am a mother’hellip; I take a step back and observe what is happening in the culture,’ Conte said.

Conte said her works are derived from teens constantly being in a state of detachment from their environment.

‘ ‘I wanted to observe at a deeper level what these influences were doing to them, the world around them,’ Conte said.’ ‘They are constantly being pulled out of their environment.’

This sentiment and her focus on mother-daughter relationships are reflected in the titles of her works.

‘Vice,’ ‘Cognitive Dissonance,’ ‘Doing things our mothers never dreamed of,’ ‘Girls are the stronger sex’ and ‘Will I be pretty, Will I be rich’ are all titles of her oil paintings which portrayed teenagers being teenagers in contemporary society.

Conte said she has been an artist almost all her life.

‘It is who I am, it is what I do, I’ve been an artist since young and I have never moved away,’ Conte said.’

But Conte’s works weren’t just expressions of gloom and doom. Although she took special meaning with her darker work, others in attendance had favorites of their own.

‘I think her work is wonderful, fabric and dress, legs and arms looks so natural,’ said Joan Cerny, 84, about ‘Cognitive Dissonance’, one of Conte’s more brightly themed paintings. It portrayed two teenaged girls lazing on a multicolored quilt looking, as Conte would put it, ‘out of the moment.’

Robert Sherwin, who attended the opening, said, ‘It is fantastic how she handles the figures.” ‘(Conte) is fantastic as a painter.’

Conte’s exhibition will be held until Nov. 20 from 12 to 4 p.m.

More to Discover