Among the office buildings and lofts of Downtown is Warehouse 508, the much anticipated and recently opened First Street youth center for arts, music and entertainment.
True to its mission statement, the center’s programming is determined and organized “for-youth, by-youth.” A young staff, led by Director Amy Dalness (former Alibi arts editor), works in collaboration with an eight-member Youth Creative Council to meet the demands and desires of fellow young Albuquerqueans. By offering supplies, space and support—often, by virtue of its nonprofit status, at little- or no-cost to the participants—
Sixteen-year-old Katharine Zoie Kinnick, who became involved with the Warehouse 508 project a year ago, wanted to see a gallery filled with the works of her contemporaries. She envisioned a show that would, as she describes, “exemplify the beauty and talent and power” of Albuquerque’s young female artists, and she proposed that she act as the show’s curator. With the encouragement of Dalness, Kinnick applied for a Youth Promoter's Support Grant. Warehouse 508 awarded Kinnick's proposal and slated her exhibition to be the center’s inaugural visual arts show. With the assistance of AmeriCorps volunteer and 508 Gallery Manager Jason Ross, Kinnick's dream materialized, complete with invitations and press announcements. On Nov. 6, her Revolution From Within premieres with an opening reception.
The show features five young women, aged 16 to 22, whose work demonstrates a determination to better comprehend themselves and their environments; they’ve deliberately chosen artistic expression as the means by which to gain that clarity. Tellingly, a number of the works’ focal images are young, female protagonists.
Kinnick characterizes the world as an “elusive combination of blurs and colors.” Yet her work suggests that her world is becoming clearly and vibrantly focused. Her mixed media paintings are crafted of newspaper and acrylic on canvas, composed of exploratory figure studies done with a sophisticated simplicity. And her curatorial debut indicates a brilliantly emerging creative consciousness.
Amanda Mae Sinclair, 16, draws portraits of the world as she wishes it looked. Rendered in graphite and Prismacolor, Sinclair’s illustrations reveal her curiosity, introspection and wildly vivid imagination. Each introduces a uniquely envisioned girl set in an abstract scene of interwoven elements like octopi, skulls and Japanese paper cranes.
A portraitist of a different kind, 17-year-old Jamie Martone says her glamorous close-ups are inspired by the “mystery and allure of leading ladies.” In oil, colored pencil and graphite, Martone’s work channels the major influences of her upbringing—namely, she says, mythology, black-and-white films and her mother’s artistry.
At 22, Julia Michelle Lopez is the senior of the group. In a series of 11 photographs, Lopez displays an intensely contemplative vision. She believes that our culture propels the idea of the “madness of youth,” often disregarding the harmful consequences to the young. And she treats the innate friction of the movement from adolescence to adulthood as a mirror of our general disillusionment. Lopez’s subjects are her Albuquerque peers doing the things that happy, well-adjusted young adults are “supposed” to do—dance, laugh, flirt and party. But Lopez captures downside moments and prints them in a dulled palette. The glittered frames that surround each piece could be interpreted as either gilded chains or as a sort of optimism. From subject matter to color choice, her compositions are hauntingly insightful.
Rosabelle Eales, 17, works in mixed media construction, acrylic on canvas, and wax and dye on cloth, depending on what intrigues her at the moment she’s ready to begin a new project. Eales describes Kinnick and Lopez as “magically talented and completely influential,” largely crediting them with her artistic interest and progress. Now, Eales explains, art is her primary way of asserting her perspective, inviting others to engage with and respond to it.
Keep your eyes out; this is just the beginning of what you’ll see from the young women of Revolution From Within.