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.”

Pensive by Birdie Boyden Photo by Alexander Wilburn

Femininity by Zoey Greenbaum Photo by Alexander Wilburn

Pensive by Birdie Boyden Photo by Alexander Wilburn

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