Art Access II’s current show offers a lucid and sensitive manifestation of what it means to be a teenager. Many teens will be pleased to see their commendable projects exhibited to the public. Yet more so, an objective viewing may be a viable documentation of adolescence, presented through inventive and creative representations of a perplexing and abstruse phase of life. The works are a product of Art Access’s 12th Annual Teen Art Workshops for youth ages 13-19.
The workshops included “Painted Photography” (mixed media using photography; an untitled work by Emma Miller is pictured); “Wishes, Dreams and Gratitude” (acrylic painting incorporating symbols and narrative); “The Power of Art to Create Social Change” (politically charged collages); “Box Yourself” (3-D glimpses of being and reality); and “Cartooning with a Purpose,” expressing a message through cartoons. These summer courses, taught by professional artists, evoke from each student an opening into their thoughts and impressions of their lives and experiences.
Teenage years are rife with complex emotions, motivations, influences and thoughts grappling with new realities. The workshops allowed each teen to explore his or her unique perspectives and environments using creativity and raw expression. The works are honest, uninhibited and candid glimpses of the excitement of discovery, fears, anxiety, frustrations, angst, the pressure to conform and the phenomenon of rebellion. Many whose teenage years are long past may also find in these projects an emotive sense of nostalgia, loss of youth or an uncanny sense of déj%uFFFD vu.