HHSS students take top spots at art show
By Jenn Watt
Four local student artists where honoured at a recent art show in Bancroft.
Ariel Weiss, Naomi Russell, Christina Stephen and Brynn Meyers were amongst the winners at this year’s Michal Manson Juried Art Show.
Entries were allowed from Bancroft, Barry’s Bay, Haliburton and Madoc schools along with home-schooled students.
Karen Gervais, head of the art department at Haliburton Highlands Secondary School, said the show offers the students additional exposure for their work and a chance to receive useful feedback.
“It’s a great chance to show their work outside of the school community,” Gervais said, noting that being part of an art show looks good on a resume as well.
Winning students have been invited to have lunch with this year’s juror, Diane Woodward, a Madoc-based artist.
Naomi Russell, 18, of Gelert took first prize in the mixed media category for her work Letting Go, which she created last year.
“I was in Grade 12 and I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life,” Russell says. “I was letting go of the past and grabbing the future.”
The piece features three eyes looking out from a green background. A girl holds a balloon as three balloons float into the air. In the bottom right corner dandelions release their seeds, which float into the air.
“Eyes and colour and weirdness draw you across the room then reward you with well-painted and interesting detail,” Woodward wrote of Russell’s work. “Lots going on, but narrative does not overwhelm the painting.”
The piece took about a week to paint. Russell says she intends to continue studying art; she has applications in at the University of Guelph and OCAD in Toronto.
Minden student Ariel Weiss, 17, took home first place in the drawing category with her work, 40 Things.
“It’s black and white conté drawing that’s made up of two different images cut into strips and weaved together. The first image is the cover of the book 40 Things I Want to Tell You and the second image is a picture of a hand writing the 40th thing that she wants to tell the person,” Ariel says.
The work was created as a class art project at HHSS.
Weiss says she intends to study art after high school with the intention of working at a gallery or museum.
“I’ve always been interested in art. I thought about different career opportunities,” she says, including incorporating her love of reading or skating, but in the end art won out.
Woodward described Ariel’s work as having “longing and mystery,” being “intelligent without being heavy-handed” and having “good juxtaposition of bold black geometric with feathery black and white on light detail.”
Christina Stephen took second place in the drawing category for The Hiker, which Woodward said “has a sense of adventure.” The juror said Christina “took some chances on composition that paid off.”
Honourable mention in the drawing category went to Haliburton’s Brynn Meyers, 17, whose self portrait examined the opposing sides of her personality.
“It’s a self-portrait of the two sides of me. Half of it is my gritty side, my more intense side, which is the hockey, where I get all my anger out. The other side is my more graceful ... side of dance,” says Brynn, who has been a hockey player and dancer since she was three years old.
“I just thought it would be cool to contrast them and show how they unite and how I’m that one person who does both,” she says.
Dance keeps her peaceful and focused, Brynn said, while hockey is an outlet for her stronger emotions. She said she is currently applying to study psychology in university.
Brynn’s self portrait uses images of herself that she drew.
“Half of it is colour picture of me in hockey and then it’s kind of pixelated, broken up into squares, and the lower half is in black and white of me doing a dance pose. They’re meshed together in a weave.”
Woodward said the self portrait violently slices the still, monumental figure of the hockey player with the feminine energy of the dancer. “Nice rhyming between landscape and arena and hockey stick and toe shoes,” she wrote.
The show is on at the Art Gallery of Bancroft until Jan. 30.