Eugene Weekly : Art Shorts : 9.27.07

Art School Confidential

The teenage brain, despite its newly forming pathways and competing hormones, is superior to an adult’s in one distinct way: teenage creativity. At a time when everything is changing, teenagers create art in a way that’s uninhibited, emotionally charged and pure. Like many facets of their lives, their art can be overlooked or misunderstood by their peers and even adults, but Maude Kerns Art Center is celebrating their work by holding the 8th Mayor’s Teen Art Show.

The exhibit displays work from teenagers 13-18. Thirty-five teens submitted work ranging from pencil drawing portraits to journalistic black and white photography. Mayor Kitty Piercy’s choice couldn’t have been an easy one to make. While a simple cityscape drawing-intended as an art class lesson on drawing 3-D-isn’t visually stunning, it is technically impressive for a 13-year-old art student. The same goes for the Shading 101 pencil portraits that make onlookers marvel when the artist’s age and experience is taken into consideration.

This year’s winner is Listen, a work by 18-year-old Anna Scheri of Wellsprings Friends School. Her eight piece, mixed-media submission is quietly understated, placed in the corner of the gallery. The stretched pieces of canvas hold vivid splashes of color, layered with personal photos and images of nature. “I have a strong connection with nature and deeply appreciate the lines, colors and feel of the beauty of the world around us,” Scheri says in her artist’s statement. Scheri, who recently began using her own photos in her paintings, is also unconventional in her choice of artist’s tools. “My paintings are done without brushes or other artist tools. Instead I paint and create with normal household items.” So the next time you pick up a spatula, think of what else it can be used for. The Mayor’s Teen Art Show runs at the Maude Kerns through Oct. 5. — Amanda Burhop