She believes T.A.G is essentially important at its core as it makes it really therapeutic for young people to be involved in art and have a means to let out what they are feeling while they are going through a tumultuous time. Just like Goldner, Wheeler too is very inspired by nature in her pieces.

“I hike. I meditate a lot and imagine a lot of things. It’s evolved into sculpture, painting, and photography. Art is a gateway to express what I feel,” she reflects. Her inspirations are more eclectic, with names such as Salvador Dali, Francesca Woodman, and Egon Shiele all playing a role in her thought process.

The show itself had an eclectic feel to it; the artists’ pieces inspired by everything from Jackson Pollack’s paintings to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s, The Great Gatsby. A watercolor painting by Julliete Kessler entitled Tranny grabs one’s attention immediately. A representation of “a woman who looks like a man pretending to be a woman,” Kessler states that it was “inspired by the artificial alterations found in makeup advertisements.” The image of the female is distorted, exaggerated, and blown-up to such a degree that one is unable to tell who the person behind the mask of makeup really is. The pose of the subject, the style of the hair, the pouty red lips and matching red vixen nails, all harken back to the iconic images of Marilyn Monroe. Yet, Tranny is a twist on Marilyn. The eyebrows are painted black, arched high, and elongated. The hair is painted blue and the eye-shadow matches its unflattering hue. Instead of the voluptuous chest that stands out from any image of the beloved Marilyn, this photo clearly shows a flat-chested figure with long and thin hands. Yet, there is a sad magnificence in the subject that conjures up a dream of beauty and its ideal, which cannot be reached. The splendor and the thought rest in the desire, the imitation, and its ultimate schism. For all intents and purposes, it can be entitled “Imitating Marilyn” or “The Failures of Imagination.”

The body and the idea of beauty are also themes reflected in the work of Sonja Tsypin, age 17; her work entitled simply The Fat People. In it she creates an image of a ladder of individuals stacked one on top of another. Although the subjects are nude, they are not sexualized in the piece, despite their placement. One nude male figure, for example, sits upon a woman and although it is not seen, we infer that his genitalia rest behind her neck. Similarly, there is a female figure sitting atop him, her privates resting upon his head; though it is not visibly seen, it is implied. The figures are not presented separately, however. Instead, we see them as a whole, resting upon each other, forming something bigger than them. They are a unit. They are neither young nor physically fit. Cellulite is clearly seen on the thighs of one female figure, while a beer belly jots out from the figure of a male. Yet, we relate to them. We see ourselves in them. Their bodies seem more akin to us than had the human ladder been a vision of youth and fitness. The expressions on their faces, their postures, and their figures all combine to show us average, every day people. And we simply take in the image, without judgment and without desire.

Moving from The Fat People to the wall on it’s right (skipping past the hors d’oeuvres and soda, of course), a photograph of a woman floating in water with her head jutting out toward the tree above her, appeals to one’s emotions and calms the viewer with the bright colors of the water and the welcoming shape of the tree. “I love water,” Leva Zelca says to me as she stares pensively at the photo. Zelca, one of the attendees of the show, stands in front of Rachel Thalia Fisher’s Exhale, reading the famous words of Albert Camus, the Algerian author, written in L’Etranger and found below the image, emphasizing that they are a source of inspiration to her: “In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invisible summer.” Zelca, receiving her Master’s in Business in Denmark, is now exploring the art scene of New York. She tells me she found out about the show through and is glad she came, finding inspiration in the work of artists several years her junior.

One such artist is Sin Yi Lau, whose photographs, entitled Temple III, portray ordinary objects, paired in extraordinary ways. One photograph renders an image of a chocolate cake with two roses sitting atop it, missing a piece or two, so that one part of the cake seems like the mirror image of the other. Another photograph delineates a champagne glass placed atop a paper napkin with champagne colored balloons flowing from within it. The prints are imaginative and Lau, age 18, asks her viewers to “perceive these art objects with their own consciousness.” In that, rests all the fun.

Chaya Howell and Amber Canty, attendees of the show, both 16, are interpreting the works of their fellow teens in their own theoretical way.  Canty explains that New York is a city that fosters young artists since “you’re exposed to more at a young age,” as a result, teenagers tend to grow up quicker and become more adept artistically and culturally than their counterparts in other areas, which is reflected in their formation as artists at a young age, rendering T.A.G. all the less surprising to New Yorkers. Howell, who heard about the exhibit as she was researching museums to intern for in pursuit of a career in graphic design, reasons that as New York is a city that never sleeps, one is always able to find events like those formed by T.A.G. because, in general, it is a city where one can constantly expand his or her consciousness.

With that notion in mind, New York teens that are far beyond their years should have no difficulty exploring and interpreting the work of Tyler Goldfarb, whose pieces, poignantly entitled Healthy Pleasures, explore the various stages and attitudes of being a woman. One image depicts a jellyfish resting on a female’s vulva taken from the subject’s point of view. Another features a female lying next to a male, focusing on just their stomachs. As a vegetable stretches from the female’s naval to the hair on the stomach of the male, both of their pubic hair is clearly visible. Continuing down this theme, a third image focuses on the stomach and pubic region of a female, taken from her profile. As one looks at the root vegetable that rests on her stomach, one can’t help but relate the nudity of the subject to her natural state. Goldfarb explains that through his work, he showcases pieces where “the body becomes an abstracted landscape, but never relinquishes its own subjectivity.”

Looking at the unique positioning of the bodies, the nudity and the hints of sex, the use of edible objects to bring the subjects together, one wonders at the depth of the thought processes the 18-year-old artist possesses, leaving no doubt at all that with artists like Goldfarb, T.A.G. will grow bigger and become even better. We can eagerly expect to be impressed by even more works emerging from young artists all around the world as T.A.G. expands, celebrating teen artists’ outlooks which can not only develop the art world and the consciousness of the public, but also help us see the unseen. We’ve had a preview of what is surely yet to come.

Cincopa WordPress plugin