Young Artists Take A Turn At The Blue & Gold
Signaling that the end of the school year is in sight, “The Blue & Gold” juried student art exhibition opened at Housatonic Valley Regional High School in Falls Village, Conn., on Friday, May 19. Once titled “The Blue & Gold at The White” in past decades when the show was held at the former White Gallery in Lakeville, Conn., the student pieces are now at the new Kearcher-Monsell Gallery in the school’s library.
In viewing the students’ work it’s hard not to see a young generation already being influenced by the influx of AI art. Text-to-image generative artificial intelligence programs create fussy, hyper-colored surrealism pieces that often blend obvious elements of René Magritte and Salvador Dalí (there’s even a program called DALL-E) with Vincent van Gogh’s easily-emulated style. Two students’ very AI-esque Van Gogh imitations took home prizes at the opening, one by Zoey Greenbaum — but her unawarded oil, titled “Femininity,” is the more interesting piece. While the motif of flowers sprung from an artfully-decapitated neck-turned-vase is a staple of internet art, her painting's mammoth size among the other student’s offerings, and willingness to provoke — an X-Men blue Bettie Page — makes it worthy of note. Also overlooked by the judges was the soft photography of Birdie Boyden, a classic blend of Sofia Coppola's pastel ennui and “Picnic at Hanging Rock” cosplay. These are the sensitive, self-conscious portraits that high school girls have always taken, and always will, and always should.
The previous show at the Kearcher-Monsell Gallery was an exhibition by HVRHS senior Theda Galvin featuring fantasy photographs of the figurines she builds, paints, and dresses. At “The Blue & Gold” opening, she was announced as the well-deserved 2023 winner of a scholarship from The Foundation for Contemporary Arts which will grant her $20,000 annually for the four years of her continued education at The Cleveland Institute of Art. In a Compass profile on Galvin printed in February, titled “The Odd World of a Teenage Dollmaker,” her work was described as “empathetic, earnest, and the mark of an emerging talent.”