by Laura Hutson
Teenagers. You kind of love them because they're weird and rebellious and opinionated, but they're also kind of scary, you know? Once I hit a certain age — which was, in my mind, still remarkably young — kids quit looking at me like I was still a person like them. Their eyes would glaze over when I walked by, sort of like that scene in Ghost where Patrick Swayze doesn't know he's dead yet. (If you're a teenager now, there's a good chance you don't even get that reference — and that's a shame because Demi Moore has this totally cute haircut in it. But then she makes out with her dead husband while he's inhabiting the body of Whoopi Goldberg, which is strange but also somehow romantic and might even make you cry.)
The Frist's Young Tennessee Artists biennial is one of my favorite exhibits for that very reason. The 34 drawings, paintings, photographs and mixed-media works represent student artists from 18 schools, and were chosen from 800 submissions throughout the state. The works are up in the Conte Community Arts Gallery through April 21, and there are tons of great examples of teenage weirdness to be found. I've included just a few of them here.
This collage by Harpeth Hall student Katie Neal has an extraordinary palatte, and the facelessness of the figures really captures the youthful feeling that your identity is still being formed.
This pair of photographs by Hillwood High student Cassie DeMoss is full of the self-aware girl power of Angela Davis, Carrie Mae Weems, Cyndi Lauper, Cindy Sherman.
A spacey image and a David Bowie lyric, too? I am happy, Peter Garvin. Love this updated M.C. Escher portrait. The distorted reflection with its wavy, radiant lines also makes me think of Edvard Munch's "Puberty."
This mixed-media drawing is so lovingly detailed that Ciara almost seems like a close friend after you've spent a few minutes with her.
Nothing says "in school, am bored" like a ballpoint pen drawing, right? Throw in a pentagram and some Cure lyrics and I'm right back in 1994. But this seriously intense doodle, by Memphis' Overton High student Darion Beasley, is digitally manipulated — something very 2013.