A photograph of a landscape with a ghostly rectangular region in the middle that looks like a light gray square around the negative space of a figure

2021 AK Teens: Future Curators Exhibition:
The Presence of Absence

Sadie Withers

Etobicoke School of the Arts

New Years 2019

Oil on canvas

Dyshon Martin

BPS #197: MST High School

Nightly Walk

Digital photograph

Lilian Beaudoin

BPS #197: MST High School

Reflection

Digital photograph

Eve Giancarlo

Sweet Home High School

Shards of Joys Past

Digital photograph

Kylie Cocca

Mount St. Mary Academy

Don’t Look Into The Light

Digital photograph

Abby Brock

Etobicoke School of the Arts

Throw Up

Acrylic and wax on canvas

The artist uses the paint and wax surrounding the figure to resemble vomit, emulating a sensory overload through chaotic movement. The work shows a disconnection from control and peace. In an episode of intense anxiety or fear, commonly known as a panic attack, the artist says the most accurate depiction of her physical feelings is “throw up.”

Sarah Falsetti

Lewiston-Porter High School

Keep Going!

Digital media

Madisyn Wright

Lewiston-Porter High School

Unhinged

Mixed media

Amina Sidali (BPS #197: MST High School). Cultural Communication. Digital photograph.

Amina Sidali

BPS #197: MST High School

Cultural Communication

Digital photograph

Adeliz Gottinger

Fredonia High School

Confinement

Digitally altered photograph

Lauryn Socha

Stratton Mountain School

Broken Promises

Digitally altered photograph

Gretchen Gwitt

Nichols School

Oblivion

Pigmented inkjet print

Bikash Biswa

BPS #197: MST High School

I Am Two Bikash

Digital photograph

Even though there are many neutral colors in Biswa’s I Am Two Bikash, the figure stands out due to the reflection in the mirror as it carries out its conventional and periodic routine. I Am Two Bikash helps to portray the disconnection from one’s environment and the need for normalcy throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As the artist states, “The quarantine greatly affects me as I am isolated from people close to me and it changes all of my ways of living.”

Hailey Kliszak (Lake Shore High School). Behind the Smiles. Acrylic on Masonite.

Hailey Kliszak

Lake Shore High School

Behind the Smiles

Acrylic on Masonite

Even though there are neutral colors in the painting, the figure pops out due to the detail of the radiant and cheerful colors of the smiley faces. The artist uses this color palette to help to mask the mixed emotions present on her face. Behind the Smiles helps to illustrate the disconnection between one’s mind and facial expression.

Kylie Lundrigan

Lewiston-Porter High School

Eternity

Oil

Delaney Graham

Sweet Home High School

Woman Behind the Man

Acrylic on canvas

Leah Gallie

Lewiston-Porter High School

Almost Stung

Stoneware clay

A person’s face is how you identify them. It shows their emotions and provides insight into their being. Here, a colorful, cheerful face sheds off a neutral face with many exposures, showing disconnection, loss of self, and the true layers underneath. How you may look to others is not how you’re feeling; the true face behind the aura gives a peek into what is underneath the exterior.

Annelise Wall

Nardin Academy

Live in the Moment

Digital media

“Live in the moment” is one of many clichéd sayings that functions as a cute wall decoration but not as advice. By juxtaposing a trendy, corporate style with a more gritty, realistic one, this work suggests the danger in having an incomplete sense of time. We must learn from the past, be mindful of the future, and act in the present. Otherwise, we remain ignorant, incapable, and completely unaware of the large problem about to land on us.

Monet Parker

Etobicoke School of the Arts

I Made You A Cake

Film

Jessica Jiang

Etobicoke School of the Arts

Liberation

Mixed media

Brianna Bernas

Williamsville South High School

Thinking with the Heart

Pen and ink on paper

During the pandemic we all have had troubles with rational thinking, which is highlighted in Thinking with the Heart. The artist displays the disconnection between rational thinking and purely emotion-based logic by placing the heart where the brain should be and vice versa. The flowers shown in the drawing are normally seen at funerals; they were also historically used as an ineffective means of protection from the Bubonic plague. Blowflies are some of the first insects to show up to a decaying body.

Emily Peca

Nardin Academy

The beauty behind self love

Colored pencils and gold paint marker

Margaret Coughlin

Nardin Academy

Altruistic

Mixed media

Donny Schmidt

Holland High School

Denial

Digital photograph

Scarlett Barone

East Aurora High School

Peppé

Mixed media

Isabella Conde

Lewiston-Porter High School

Her

Oil, gold leaf, and Citra Solv

Her is a work about growth and adapting to your surroundings. The artist displays gold leaf underneath smeared black and dark blues, purples, and reds to show light coming from darkness. By only painting fragments of the girl, the artist represents that one can piece themselves together, slowly but surely.

Donny Schmidt (Holland High School). Anger. Digital photograph.

Donny Schmidt

Holland High School

Anger

Digital photograph

Immediately the eye is drawn to the dark red against a grayscale background. Even the subject itself is in grayscale, confined to the borders of the door. Anger reflects on the second stage of grief; often, those in this stage can feel alone and cast out from the world as it continues to move on without them. Through this work, the artist empathizes with others dealing with grief.

Rhiannon Furey

Lewiston-Porter High School

Silenced

Digital photo transfer and embroidery thread on canvas

“Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” The underlying image of this work was created through a transfer of twelve prints onto a canvas to produce a washed, weathered, and faded product. The use of crimson embroidery thread creates a three-dimensional effect against a flat, dull background to show movement. Silenced draws you in with the boldness of the handprints against the dull image of the person underneath, which represents how those living a silenced life often feel: isolated, dissociated, and disconnected from the world around them. Through this work, the artist strives to inspire others to use art as a vehicle to unburden their souls.

Cara Eugeni

Lewiston-Porter High School

Transcend

Oil and photo transfer on canvas with wax

In Transcend, the artist portrays sculptures as spiritual, otherworldly objects in modern situations. By adding dripping wax to a sculpture, the artist turns it into a prayer candle, an object that is worshiped when longing for the future. The transformation of the sculpture removes its humanity; an object that was once created by the hands of a human is now an object of worship, showing the deep disconnection between the otherworldly past and the worldly present.

Katelyn Suitor

Lewiston-Porter High School

Confined

Mixed media

Maxwell Palermo

Lewiston-Porter High School

Shattered

Mixed media

The artist uses a self-portrait to portray the hurt caused by stereotypes. Palermo cut up a photograph of himself and collaged it around the work to spread the message that we should stop stereotyping others because of who they are. It’s important to separate individuals from stereotypes about them because they are not all true and can be harmful to one’s mental health.

Sam Marod

Lewiston-Porter High School

Pillow Forest

Oil on canvas board

Alexandra Lee

Lewiston-Porter High School

This House has "People"

Mixed media

Alexandra Lee

Lewiston-Porter High School

The Car Ride Home

Mixed media

Kelcey Doyle

Lewiston-Porter High School

Almost Human

Stoneware clay

Emily Peca

Nardin Academy

The Hug of Death

Acrylic

Erica Guy

Nardin Academy

Enslaved

Mixed media

Adeline Skye (Niagara Falls High School). Contentment in Static. Mixed media.

Adeline Skye

Niagara Falls High School

Contentment in Static

Mixed media

The artist used tissue paper and chalk to create a background that resembles static. This work represents disconnecting from oneself. The figure has a blank expression and is trapped inside the endless static, which shows its indifference to a loss of identity. The idea of disconnection is represented through a bored expression and the endless white void as the figure disconnects from itself and, seemingly, reality.

Tessa Lord (Lewiston-Porter High School). The Help. Stoneware clay.

Tessa Lord

Lewiston-Porter High School

The Help

Stoneware clay

This work immediately evokes a sense of unity, drawing the eye along the asymmetrical yet balanced frame. The Help utilizes color, texture, and form to create an abstract scene; each sphere is analogous to someone’s head and the wiry frames represent bodies stacked on one another. The geometric frames also give the impression of sturdiness, like the structure can withstand opposition. The connection of these vaguely humanoid figures along with the solid colors and uniform appearance creates the feeling of cooperation, trust, and connection. The artist showcases the importance of helping each other, thoughtfully responding to our collective feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Clare Connolly

Etobicoke School of the Arts

Altered memories

Photograph and acrylic on canvas

Holly Arrison

Nichols School

The Door

Acrylic and graphite

Emily Grucello

Sweet Home High School

Claustrophobic

Digitally altered photograph

Gabriela Sirén

Nichols School

Untitled

Digital photograph

Alex Sullivan

Williamsville East High School

The Shorter Way Bridge

Charcoal

Rhiannon Furey

Lewiston-Porter High School

Cinched

Digital photo transfer on canvas

Amaya Ortiz

Sweet Home High School

Restricted Beauty

Wood reed and ribbon

Lisa Doan

Etobicoke School of the Arts

Hopelessness

Watercolor and pen on paper

Christopher Weitz

West Seneca West High School

Fragile

Acrylic and glass on canvas

Alexandra Lee

Lewiston-Porter High School

Pest Observes Pondering

Mixed media

Jacob Niccola

Lewiston-Porter High School

Face Teapot

Stoneware clay

Sienna Cefalu

Sweet Home High School

Born To Stand Out

Mixed media

Emilea Pfalzer

Sweet Home High School

Don’t Hide

Acrylic and marker on canvas

Jessica Jiang

Etobicoke School of the Arts

Salvation

Watercolor

Emily Grucello

Sweet Home High School

Lonely

Digitally altered photograph

This work depicts two people—one in pieces and one sitting alone. The viewer is immediately drawn to the person in pieces who seems to be disappearing; if they were appearing, the person would no longer be lonely. This work perfectly depicts the theme of the exhibition, presence and absence—the person sitting is feeling the presence of the disappearing person even though they are becoming absent. Grucello states that photography can be used to “capture unique feelings and moments.” This photograph shows a unique feeling at a unique moment.

Brianna Bernas

Williamsville South High School

Fractures

Watercolor, graphite pencil, and maps

Christopher Weitz

West Seneca West High School

Use Me

Acrylic and bottle caps on canvas

Use Me represents disconnection and being detached from yourself. This work shows how people take advantage of others and how that makes them feel through different single-use items such as crumpled paper, beer bottles, burned matches, and currency. These items mirror how people use others for one thing and then don’t need them anymore. This disconnection and loneliness results from being taken advantage of and feeling like these single-use items.

Vivian Wattle

Williamsville East High School

Front Door

Mixed media

Arthika Sivasubramaniam

Sweet Home High School

Deconstructed

Mixed media

Naomi Foster

Etobicoke School of the Arts

Heritage

Digital painting

A bold, pure ray of light reaches out to the figure standing in darkness. Life seems to grow increasingly complex as we grow older, more jaded, and more caught up in our busy world. Despite this, happiness isn’t hard to find. Heritage encourages us to revisit a time that many believe disappears entirely: childhood. What simple pleasures did we have when we were young, and how can we rediscover them now? The fish swimming in the light beckons us to find that simple satisfaction.

Julia Yoo (Etobicoke School of the Arts). Perpetual Foreigner II. Archival pigment print.

Julia Yoo

Etobicoke School of the Arts

Perpetual Foreigner II

Archival pigment print

Rhiannon Furey

Lewiston-Porter High School

The Insanity Within

Digital photo transfer and typewriter on canvas

Lucy Dietrich (Tonawanda High School). Skolstrejk för Klimatet. Watercolor and ink.

Lucy Dietrich

Tonawanda High School

Skolstrejk för Klimatet

Watercolor and ink

Dessa Ely

Etobicoke School of the Arts

People Archives

Chlorophyll prints

Amnna Attia

Etobicoke School of the Arts

Resilience through Reconnection

Hand-stitched embroidery on Aida cloth

As the generations disappear, so does the practice of tatreez, a Palestinian form of cross-stitched embroidery used to share stories and history through region-specific motifs. This work revitalizes traditional motifs to illustrate the feeling of disconnection from this heritage in the Western world. While far apart emotionally and physically, the delicate disconnection within the two pieces evokes curiosity to learn more about the artist’s disengagement with her heritage. The subtle colors of the threads are used to represent the function they serve: these threads fill the empty spaces within the Aida cloth as well as the empty spaces in the artist’s heritage.

Kennedy Intihar

Williamsville East High School

Call for Help

Ink and white gel pen

Vivian Wattle

Williamsville East High School

Portrait of a Friend

Mixed media

Natalie Turcotte

Etobicoke School of the Arts

Adrift

Archival pigment print

Kelly Murray

Holland High School

Passage of Time

Digital photograph

Lauryn Socha (Stratton Mountain School). Light at the End of a Tunnel. Digitally altered photograph.

Lauryn Socha

Stratton Mountain School

Light at the End of a Tunnel

Digitally altered photograph

The title of this work can be viewed literally or figuratively depending on how deep you go. Perspective makes a difference, whether you're focusing on the moon through the tunnel or the abandoned building creating the tunnel itself. The artist makes it clear that she intentionally layered these two different elements in this artwork. If you look at the moon, the beauty of nature catches your eye. But, if you focus on the abandoned building, you see the effects of humans and industrialization. If you step back and see it together, you understand the correlation between the two.

Eleanor Collins

North Tonawanda High School

New Year

Acrylic

About the 2021 Future Curators

The 2021 Future Curators team consists of eighteen students in grades 11 and 12. Beginning in January 2021, this creative team of young aspiring art professionals has been learning what goes on behind the scenes at the Albright-Knox and using the museum's collection and current exhibitions to begin thinking about art from the mindset of a curator. Learn More about the 2021 Future Curators

Program Sponsor

AK Teens is presented by KeyBank in partnership with the First Niagara Foundation.