For a brief shining moment, the latest talent coming out of New World School of the Arts took over the New World Gallery, for a Rising Stars Showcase. This was simply one of the best local shows around, although up for an unfortunately short time. Multiple forms were represented, from painting, drawing and photography to sculpture, video, installation and mixed-media. But what was most striking was the high quality of the work.
Even more amazing was that the works came from high school as well as college students.
In fact, the way the show was presented, you didn’t know much about the artists — not gender, age nor background. That was intentional, and it was a nice touch. This year’s showcase was for the first time guest-curated, as Dean Maggy Cuesta wanted an outsider to make the picks; she chose Wet Heat Project’s Grela Orihuela. Without knowing the artists herself, Orihuela simply chose the strongest works.
There were manipulated prints, two beautiful and beautifully framed pieces mounted a distance from the wall, from Sue Helen Montoya.A lovely painting of the New York skyline, whose coloring and stylistic flourishes gave it a retro-1930s feel, was created by Gabriela Borregales. A more abstract installation stood on the floor, made from wood planks, cellophane and other found objects, with the title Creutzfeld-Jacobs Disease from Joshua Forges. And a three-series work demanded attention with its interesting mix of materials, imagery and dramatic ripped canvas, from Jeffrey Noble. If you paid close attention, you would have spied a tiny little sculptural figure perched way on top of a ledge, called Snow Prince, from Sarah Ferrer – nice touch, nice placement.
New World has been churning out great talent for some years now, which has been such a boon to the growth of our local art scene — names like Jen Stark, Bert Rodriguez, Hernan Bas and Naomi Fisher (the latter two are included in MOCA’s 15th anniversary show that just went up). Rising Stars Showcase suggests that tradition is not diminishing, maybe the opposite: We clearly have more home-grown, top-notch artists in the making.