Sunday, July 12, 2015

Local Art Seen: Superior High School Student Art at the Red Mug

"Caged in a Free World" by Rachel Dixon
"Youth has no age, and art has no limitations."

Rachel Dixon
On Tuesday this past week the Red Mug hosted an opening reception for a group show featuring artwork by the students of Superior High School. The show was a treat, featuring work by Sarah Urban, Rachel Dixon, Quintana M. Walker, Bailey Lavallee, Monica Soland, Karlie Mattson, Robby McGrady, Netahlia Walker, Sami Lego, Naomi Lear, Ayla Androsky, Philip McCotter, Nicole McGuirk, and Benjamin Buchanan.

The show came about when Naomi Lear, who contributed three thought-provoking paintings, encouraged her art teacher Denise Schraufnagel to pull this together. Schraufnagel teaches 2-D advanced classes and Lear has been a student of hers this past year. The seed for this idea was planted by Naomi's father.

Each of Naomi Lear's pieces were painted in black and white with only one element in color -- in one instance yellow flower, in another a blue balloon and in the third a red umbrella. Although the skill with which the paintings were made is evident, it was the absurd juxtaposition of elements in these paintings that invites further engagement by viewers. When I inquired about the title Waabi-Saabi for the painting with the flower she said it's a Japanese word meaning, "accepting the natural cycle of growth and decay."

Naomi Lear's "Waabi-Saabi"
There were many pieces that left you wondering more about the backstory, such as Rachel Dixon's pandas or Sami Lego's "Icarus." The works showed more than skilled execution. It also showed that the students are getting exposure to a wide range of media as there were also prints and a superfine piece by Nicole McGuirk on clay scratchboard.

Of special note, The Red Mug is donating 100% of the commissions from sales back to the high school art program. (Thank you, Suzanne.)

Enjoy these selections here, though even better would be to visit the Red Mug sometime this month for lunch and a leisurely tour of its walls and halls.
"Japanese Dojo" -- Linoleum print by Qunitana M. Walker
"Painted Indian Elephant" by Quintana M. Walker
Naomi Lear
Robert McGrady

Meantime art goes on all around you. Celebrate it.

"Icarus" by Sami Lego
Untitled watercolor by Netahlia Walker
Untitled clay scratchboard, Nicole McGuirk


Milissa said...

Over the years of sharing the Depot with the Duluth Art Institute,I've seen a few high school art shows come through. Usually there are one or two really great pieces in which you can see the potential, but this post is amazing. All the pieces you highlighted here really scream talent. I wonder if it's just an unusual group of students or a really amazing teacher - or both?

Ed Newman said...

Yes, those were my thoughts, too. I was impressed and for this reason was eager to share here... As for your question, it may be a little of both, but good teachers bring out the best in their pupils...
Thanks for the comments and thoughts.