Youth always has its hand in the wave of the future. They are the minds of tomorrow, and they control the trajectory of the cultural landscape. As such, Acme Studios is holding a special exhibition, entitled “30 Under 30,” which opens this Friday, March 27. It will be complete with painting, photography, printmaking, bookmaking, collage, mixed media, sculpture, installation, and video, all from feature artists from across the globe. Wilmington-native and resident Acme artist Kristen Crouch is responsible for the show, along with jurors Sami Woolhiser and Blair Nidds. Crouch returned to Wilmington last June and since has immersed herself in the local scene by becoming involved with outlets like Cameron Art Museum, Kids Making It and Cucalorus Film Festival.
“I put out a call for entry, with the only specification being age,” she tells. “I started getting international submissions. It happened really beautifully because I didn’t put a lot of restrictions on it. I wanted it to be under 30 because I wanted an outlet for young artists to be recognized. In my opinion, much of Wilmington’s art scene has been influenced by vintage traditions. I want to break down all of that.”
The SCAD graduate, who majored in photography and minored in sculpture, recently showcased her photography collection, “I Will Live On,” at Artfuel Inc. The collection debuted in Savannah and deals with the tragic passing of her brother. In this show, Crouch will display a piece from the collection, “Multiple Blunt Impact Injuries Torso and Head.”
“Nothing of this world makes sense except for art,” Crouch says. “I am at the beginning of my journey and I’m learning everyday. That is key. I stopped thinking of all this as work. It is just necessary to being happy and fulfilled.”
Her passion takes her through 18-hour days and forces her to delve into each creative inkling that pops into her head. As well, a tightly knit band of positive and supportive people have kept her working toward her artistic dreams. The work of young artists holds a special place in her heart because of the camaraderie derived from young people having both similar and divergent cultural stimuli thrown at them. As creatives, their only response, naturally, is to create.
“They are the ones who are carrying the weight of the art world—or are conversely defying it—and subsequently will be the ones to define the art era we are in,” Crouch tells.
Two artists whose work she notes will be specifically exciting are 23-year-old Los Angeles dweller Cindy Conrad, who will show an untitled painting on turf glass. Likewise 27-year-old Israeli visionary Eden Mitsenmacher will screen a video entitled “A Poem For You.”
Also displaying work will be 21-year-old Leslie Andrade. Growing up in Quito, Ecuador, Andrade was exposed to art by her photographer father. She began by tracing over images and eventually found she could mimic an image just by viewing it. Purple crayons and graphic paper make up Andrade’s earliest forays into artistry. Being raised in a third-world country has guided her artistic interests.
“Even as a young girl, my mother would make my siblings and I take the public bus from our home in the countryside into the city,” Andrade says. “She wanted us to truly love our country for its entirety. The reality I saw while living in Ecuador has created a yearning to travel and see more of the world.”
Andrade went on to graduate from Sweet Briar College in 2014, with a bachelor of arts in studio art and a certificate in arts management, as well as minors in art history and Spanish. It was there she began to discover her passion for painting; her senior exhibition included eight oil paintings. Likewise, a study abroad to Seville, Spain, helped her realize a love for abstract, contemporary styles.
Currently, Andrade lives in South Florida. At “30 under 30” she will display her painting “You And Humps Though Carried His.” The piece is part of her “Astral Plane” series that she completed in 2013-2014. This specific piece began with the image of a cherry, which can found on the humps of a camels.
“My main focus during this series revolved around understanding and capturing my interpretation of the physical dimension and the realm of illusion,” Andrade tells. “Physical vision inhibits the mind of a human from being able to logically translate the reality seen in the subconscious. This is because any form of visual language is automatically corrected by one’s conscious perception of ‘truth.’ As a result, what the mind sees in the astral plane is unexplainable in the language of ordinary speech and therefore becomes an illusion.”
Also showing as part of the exhibit is full-time artist Tim Kent, who attended college at SCAD, alongside Crouch. Though they never had class together, they bumped into each other at the occasional gallery exhibit.
Kent has set up his own studio and woodshop in Atlanta, and currently works on canvases hand-shaped from wood. He draws inspiration from light and space-oriented artists, like Robert Irwin and James Terrell. In “30 Under 30,” he will display “Orange Chroma,” a 36-by-30-by-4 painting, and “Iridescent Chroma,” an 18-by-18-by-4 painting. They examine the nature and its colors in relationship to the environment.
“These paintings represent a new direction in my series,” Kent details. “I have been creating shaped canvases for a while, but these strainers are built so the works really play on the three-dimensionality of a canvas.”
“Orange Chroma” illuminates the vibrant hue of bright orange, and catches light and shadows through outer bevel, inner bevel, and a smaller canvas inside. Likewise, “Iridescent Chroma” is made with a unique pigment that changes color as the viewer circumnavigates the piece. With his work, he maintains an overarching goal to convey a sense of mystery to gallery-goers.
“30 Under 30” opens during Fourth Friday Gallery Night at Acme Art Studios on South 5th Avenue, with an opening reception from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. this Friday.
30 Under 30: A Young Artist Group Exhibition
Acme Art Studios, 711 N. 5th Ave.