High school art shows always seem to divide up into the same kinds of groups every year: the girl who does gorgeous renderings of her friends but has yet to have enough life experience to translate into content to behind any talent, the pretentious high schooler who will be humbled when he gets to college and realizes that there are more just like him, the doe-eyed student who has no idea how good they actually are, the student with a cause, the sexually frustrated, and the copy-cat. Grady High School's exhibit at Eyedrum last night was able to meet all of my categorical requirements with ease.
I will not spend any time being a curmudgeon about the students whose work was intriguing than others, because it just doesn't seem fair to critique people who have only had the judgement of their friends at this point. Give it four years and I will be happy to tear in. For now though, I just wanted to say that John VanDerKloot's work was one of the best bodies of work I have seem come out of a high school student. The work was predominantly light boxes, with a mirror front that has various things etched into them. His work had a definite Klimt-style with the attention to small, repetitive details that seemed wise beyone his years. His pieces did not have the same limited-seeming scope of his peers. I would imagine that given a few years, he will be able to tighten up his imagery and produce more provocative work.
CASE IN POINT: Joel Dean, Aftermath
For anyone who missed the Grady Show a couple of years ago, it was the best high school artwork I have ever seen. I don't even think it needed to be clarified as high school. Almost every piece could have held it's own in a group exhibition.
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