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Upper Schoolers Display Range and Individuality at Caelum Gallery Exhibition

For the third year, 14 juniors and seniors in Jesse Pasca’s Advanced Studio class exhibited a diverse array of works at the Caelum Gallery in Chelsea on May 9. This culminating show reflects a range of deep and considered work. The students explored a variety of materials, interrogated the larger culture, asked questions of themselves and their own identities and produced beautiful and provocative works. 

Advanced Studio is the Visual Arts Department's capstone course, designed for motivated students interested in any artistic discipline (photography, film, painting/drawing, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking, fiber) and eager to fully explore their creative potential. Upper Schoolers began the year with two exercises, a memory project and an exploration of a randomly chosen contemporary artist. These exercises helped to form a foundation of experimentation, critique, and a broadening of their conceptualization of what they might explore for their own vision. Interwoven into these exercises is the close analysis of a diverse collection of modern and contemporary artists, transecting race, gender, and geography, that stimulate discussion and drive students' personal investigations. 

By the start of the second semester, students worked towards defining a Concentration Project of their own design that explored an area of artistic inquiry for the remainder of the year. This Project was a deep-dive into an area of personal interest for the student and allows for the full development of both conceptual ideas, processes, and materials. The work they exhibited is a testimony to their persistence, dedication to the creative process, and intellectual curiosity. Their range speaks to their individual voices and approach, and prompted a multitude of questions to consider.

Jesse Pasca explains “In the spirit of the community we forged together in the classroom, I want to thank the students most of all for showing up for themselves and each other as they recognized the importance of art and the power it has to help shape our perception of the world. I want to acknowledge the privilege I have had in teaching these artists this year, but our whole department is a part of their excellence. These artists are committed to being a community that challenged and supported one another.”

Below are the featured artists and their statements.

Kate '24
I have always found fountains fascinating. The contrast between the movement of water and the unchanging, fossilized vessel in which it flows. While fountains are usually beautifully ornate sculptures that complement the organic flow of water, I was more interested in creating tension than balance. Read the full artist statement here.

Simon '25
My collage is composed of trash. Covering each collage is a flap, also made of garbage. I am interested in both environmental concerns (how if we continue to fill our world with trash and be wasteful, much of the beauty of our world will disappear) and how to transform the trash itself into beauty. Read the full artist statement here.

Avery '24
In my embroidery series, I delve into the enigmatic realm of the red string theory, where the interconnectedness of human lives is woven into the very fabric of existence. Each piece in this series is crafted entirely from red string or shades of crimson, embodying the essence of this mystical concept, also known in Chinese as yuan fen. Read the full artist statement here.

Sylvie '24
Throughout this project, I aimed to explore the lens through which I saw the world as a child. Each of my drawings is inspired by a specific memory, and how it has warped over time. But this is not necessarily about memory, but about rediscovering artifacts of perception to explore how moments and experiences are lost over time and what it means to reimagine them. Read the full artist statement here.

Leia '24
Throughout my high school experience, my identity changed from a girl to a woman. I have been really interested in investigating how my identity has shifted over time. All my art aims to represent some part of this journey - both of my own maturation, and of the female experience. Read the full artist statement here.

Esme '24
Walking through New York City, I wondered about universal experiences for all its inhabitants. With millions of people witnessing the same trees, how do we each individually recognize it as such? There is no singular and essential symbol of “tree,” yet upon hearing that word, a static image comes to my mind. How does this association work in terms of recognition? In constructing this giant “stump” from cardboard, I explored how the greater form of a “tree” translates as well as finer details like color variation in bark and roots come through separately. Walk around. What do you recognize? Read the full artist statement here.

Oscar '24
For this work, I have been exploring themes of nostalgia and memory, and how reality and imagination can be blended within someone’s memory of the past. I wanted to make pieces that skirt the line between truth and fiction, both in terms of memory as well as physical reality. Read the full artist statement here.

Jackie '24
I am really interested in hands, and how they can express meaning and affect people. I experimented with a lot of different places to put the plaster hands on the mannequin, and I want to use each hand as a message whether it is one of the larger hands resting on the shoulder of the mannequin or a differently colored hand reaching from the waist. Read the full artist statement here.

Audrey '25
With this piece, I delved into exploring the idea of my private life being viewed through the public eye. Read the full artist statement here.

Julia '25
I want to bring attention to the mask that women feel the need to put on. I have always been drawn to the 1960s because of the style, the music, and the art of the time. However, this era was also marked with toxicity in beauty standards and ideas of what it meant to be a woman. Read the full artist statement here.

Rebecca '25
Through the creation of this collection of pieces, I aimed to visually represent some of my specific fears. I have generalized anxiety which greatly impacts my experience of the world and often affects my ability to do any number of tasks. Due to my condition, I have always had certain fears, specifically, the fear that inspired this project, fear of the dark. Read the full artist statement here.

Saia '25
My thesis project is an exploration of Dominican heritage and identity. I specifically wanted to focus on Dominican culture in New York because that’s the culture I’m most familiar with and because I think it’s an extremely interesting dynamic. Read the full artist statement here.

Eve '24
For this work,  I use prints and patterns to play with how the viewer sees depth and perspective. I experiment with simplistic 3 dimensional forms, flat space, and large, angular images. I used the prints to flatten out the image that was originally conceived within three-dimensional perspective. I am interested in what is changed with both the bold colors, the use of negative space, and the flattened out perspective. Read the full artist statement here.

Sara '25
I was interested in exploring spaces where there was a clear or implied vanishing point. This partnered with my investigation of my own memories where even tightly held memories can fade into the distance and slip away. Read the full statement here.

You may view more photos of the event here.
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