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Local artist applauds “unfettered” high school artwork

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Spanning the walls of The Guild is the art of high school girls.

And artist David Levy, who is the co-president of The Guild, is intrigued.

The Guild, which is located in Shrewsbury, is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing excellence in the visual arts through teaching, exhibits, workshops, and special events, according to the organization’s website.

“I think (the art) is a lack of impulse control that allows (the students’) imaginations to be unfettered,” Levy said in an interview at The Guild on April 10. “All of the artists are women. That should also tell you something. Why would there be 14 (female artists) and no men? This exhibit made me think about that.”

The female art students, who are from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School in Fair Haven, visually explore and express marginally taboo subject matter in select works that are on display at the local gallery.

Several works depict what appear to be self-portraits of body-conscious teenagers and distorted depictions of female anatomy. The adolescents routinely flirt with morbid concepts which are often depicted in artistic renditions of skeletons, grotesque imagery, and phobias.

The students then seem to retract the “dark” emotions they have evoked with pleasant images of fruit, landscapes and kittens.

Levy agreed. There is no rhyme or reason to the subject matter students explore in the temporary exhibit, which has since ended. And that perspective, Levy said, is what makes the art work spectacular.

“For myself, I am I always thinking, ‘should I do this as an artist? what are people going to think? In this case, these are kids and they just do it. (The students’) imagination may be better than an adults,” Levy said.

“Colored pencil. These works are all in colored pencil,” Levy said, admiring the work of Isabelle Rosa, a senior at Rumson-Fair Haven High School. “I have a joke now, I say I’m never using colored pencils again,” Levy said as he praised the realistic drawing of a young woman’s face.

Levy said he took a particular interest in a skeletal drawing made by another high school senior, Madelyn McGuigan. Although the skeleton coincides with a “darker theme,” Levy said he admires the playful aspects of the picture which is adorned with sequence and bright colors.

Referencing a large, abstract expressionist painting, Levy applauded a high school senior’s use of color he said is “off the charts interesting.”

“There are such a range of works here,” Levy said. “There is different media. There are different viewpoints from straight realism to forced perspectives.”

Commending the pen and ink installation by high school senior Caroline Peitler, the artist uses mixed media to present a uniform vision which has strong emphasis on the human mind, physique and functions.

“I mean, where did this all even come from? Levy said. “This art is extremely encouraging … The art shows that there are not only schools that focus on the arts and believe art is important, but these are kids who are task committed.

“In spite of the fact that some of these kids say they are not pursuing art (in college), the art shows how accomplished one can be if you put in the time and effort,” Levy said.

The Rumson-Fair Haven High School students whose art appeared in the exhibit were Haily Freeman; Chloe Reynolds; Maya Wall; Aleyna Weitzner; Madelyn McGuigan; Madyson Fanning; Kira Flammer; Caitlin Hickey; Jamie O’Donnell; Isabelle Rosa; Caroline Peitler; Jenna Unger; Natalie Bruno; and Lia Mann.

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