2022 Senior Art Show

  • Arts
  • The Teenage Years
Trinity Osborn, Fine Arts Department Chair

Bear Creek Palettes | An Exhibition of Perspectives, Personality, and Passion

Gallery Kirkland Arts Center, 620 Market Street, Kirkland, WA 98003

Exhibition February 21 – March 4, 2022

Details The exhibit is open during regular gallery hours, Wednesday – Friday, noon – 6:00 p.m., and Saturday, noon – 4:00 p.m. Check gallery website for details.

Artist Reception Friday, March 4, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., for immediate family only

What do teens of today think about? What affects our youth so profoundly it alters the way they think, the lens they look through, and the art they create? Come and see the perspectives of five diverse personalities, each a passionate student-artist exploring his or her thoughts through visual form.

This combined exhibition by Advanced Studio Art students features the works of seniors J.J. Masse, Sarah McArthur, Angelina Qu, Chloe Wengerd, and Michelle Zhu. Continue to see a sneak peek of the artists' work and read their statements.


by J.J. Masse

Phantasms by J.J. Masse

We all reach those moments of uncertainty upon arriving at the next chapter in our story. Mine happens to be the looming threat of graduation and college. In the fear for what the future brings, our imagination stirs, forming vivid fabrications. Illusions. We trick our minds into creating false realities without truly knowing what is in store for us.

“Phantasms” aims to reflect various fragments the mind may create as we peer through portals into the future. Through whimsical blue planets, ominous shrouded trees, or a magical green nature, these paintings intend to capture the essence of thoughts. Our minds, in the form of a spellbook, bring these futures to life, creating windows into these conjured visions. Whether we envision hopes, dreams, fears, or anxieties, our future is always unknown. Our memories only show us the past. Rather than imagine all the realities we assemble, it is our own present lives that can affect our future. We must close the spellbook in order to achieve the dreams we envision and avoid the nightmares that plague our imaginations. The choices we make now will have lasting impacts, for better or worse. With this in mind, we should do all we can now to set ourselves up for the future we truly desire.

In truth, we can never see into the future. All our over-active thoughts and anxieties limit us. Our stories are constantly being written and edited, and we all have the power to take control of the pen if we are willing to wield it.

Growing Through Construction: Grace and Strength

by Sarah McArthur

Growth Through Construction by Sarah McArthur

Time. Growth. Change. Over the last thirteen years, I’ve walked the halls of The Bear Creek School. The two buildings separated by a pond have seen my good days, my bad days, and everything in between. From an excited five-year-old waiting for her first day of kindergarten with Mrs. Erickson, to an eager seventeen-year-old waiting to hear back from the colleges she’s applied to, I have grown up here. Along the way, I’ve learned how to make clay sculptures with Mrs. Cook, discovered the true capabilities of Mod Podge with Mrs. Martin, and learned how to tell my story with Mrs. Osborn. Whether silly or profound, basic or complicated, I’ve learned to embrace the stories that I want to tell.

For my senior art series, I knew I wanted to tell the story of my time at Bear Creek. But what story exactly? How can one art project represent the last thirteen years? How do I represent my time at this school accurately? Those questions are daunting and truthfully, I’m still not sure how to fully represent my time here. I pondered the recesses, field trips, and projects, and remembered the teachers, friends, and coaches. And then it came to me: tell the story of how I’ve grown up.

The ballgown represents a youthful 5-year-old version of myself amazed by all thing’s princesses―a kid who spent all of her time watching Barbie princess movies, Disney princess movies, and set the DVR to watch Kate Middleton and Prince William get married in first grade. The pantsuit represents a more mature version of that same kid who, rather than idolizing princesses, now finds inspiration from strong women within her community. The fabric used in the ballgown can be found in the top of the pantsuit as well as the outlining of the lapel. This consistency is meant to show that no matter how old we grow, the true content of who we are―what we are made of―stays the same. The thing that changes, however, is who and what we are inspired by.

This series is an exploration into what it means to grow up―to change over time. It looks into the changes in inspiration throughout life as well as the ability for empowerment in whatever stage we find ourselves. As an artist with little sewing experience before creating these garments, this series is an ode to our capabilities once we find the right inspiration.

In Transparency

by Angelina Qu

In Transparency by Angelina Qu

“In transparency” is a series in which I explore three-dimensional aspects in combination with flat illustrations. The series is made up of three perspectives of a girl sitting, that when placed together give the paintings an "in the round" visual impression that a free-standing sculpture would have. Through the transparency of the canvases to the multiple perspectives, I hope to give the viewers a full dimensional picture of my perspective towards art--as the means of creation, transformation, and communication.

The visual elements that adorn this piece are drawn from menial yet constant elements of my life. The chair which the girl sits on is one which for four years I have sat on to paint. The uniform the girl dons is a mishmash of my Beijing elementary school uniform and my high school uniform. These elements, although not being the main communicators of the theme of my piece, shows the intimacy and personal nature of the thoughts I hope to convey.

The main theme is communicated through the objects the girl holds. The first piece, “In Novelty,” represents my recent willingness and desire to move away from the novel―represented the white cans―and towards more experimental and new concepts―represented by the pink soda can the girl holds. The second piece, “In resolution,” represents my opinion towards art as a means to inspire change. The girl is drawn with a paintbrush/cigarette in hand, which draws on my relationship with art. Art is something addicting and an aspect of my life I can't quite live without. However, there have been times where art has become more harmful, whether it is towards my physical health or my self-perception. The Bonsai tree―something that requires careful shaping during many years of growth―represents the world as a whole, and aphids and bees are seen climbing on and around the tree. The aphid being a harmful pest and the bee the opposite. The flame at the end of the paintbrush sets fire to a bee, bringing attention to the fact that there are bugs on the tree but not solving the problem at its core. The last piece, “In Change,” represents the evolving nature of art, and how sometimes it grows beyond the artist's initial intention as cultural context and audience changes, as the girl holds a paintbrush aimed at herself in the center piece.

This series is a culmination of my experiences as an artist, both conceptually and visually. Conceptually, the series is a reflection on my perspective towards art and how it became more nuanced over the years. Visually, it incorporates oil painting―my primary medium―along with my experimentation with transparent canvases in my junior year. In some ways, this series can be considered a self-portrait, not on the basis it bares any physical likelihood to my image, but due to the sheer amount of personal experience and emotions I have poured into different facets of the three pieces.

 Art is a language that communicates through our senses. Although there is no universal word for blue, we can all look up at the sky and agree upon its physical quality. Art, by appealing to universal human experiences, allows us to communicate the lives, passions, and emotions of other cultures and people. Art has allowed me to coincide with my culture and my environment. I hope through this series, I can communicate to others how I see art, as part of our world.

Iter Penetrali Paci―A Journey for Inner Peace

by Chloe Wengerd

Iter Penetrali Paci by Chloe Wengerd

Jonathan Ogden remarks, "so don't even worry now, you just gotta let go of tryna be in control and slow down." Slow down, breathe in, find the hushed harmony that has been lost in the bustle of people pushing by, moving, desperately straining to scramble up the slippery slope of contrived progress. Lights flash blindingly, cars honk aggressively, and noises blur in the city. My artwork seeks to place the viewer out of those circumstances and into a healthier mindset of livsnjutare (“an enjoyer of life”).

The art of finding stillness―and with it, joy―is discovered through “Iter Penetrali Paci―A Journey for Inner Peace” which takes the viewer on a voyage of self-realization. Inner peace cannot come from a troubled mind. The people highlighted in each scene have cleared their thoughts and found joy―which is independent of outside circumstances. When the heart and thoughts purify, and serenity glows from within, they can brave the world wherever they are. For me, it has become especially crucial to keep equanimity during my high school years, as so many things have not gone according to my perfectly laid-out plan. I had to learn to obtain and maintain the stillness, to persist in the midst of disarray. Peace: a stress-free state of security and calmness, and joy: an inspired happiness that endures through trials with meaning and purpose―these connect to create my work.

Once that tranquility is reached, then it can be found anywhere, even in the chaos of a flashing, noisy city, the comfort of friendship, or yugen (“a profound, mysterious sense of the beauty of the universe that triggers a deep emotional response”). Viewing these paintings leads to a lack of disturbance, a restored mindset; they feel at one with the person highlighted in each piece. Even in the daily rush, the social atmosphere, and the lonely mountains, they feel peace and are in control―they have slowed down. Because in the stillness, there is rest (Psalm 116:7).


by Michelle Zhu

Sonder by Michelle Zhu

Within all the vitality, complexity, and action that comprises others’ lives, we, as simple passersby, may appear only once. A lighted window at dusk. A blur of traffic passing on the highway. An unnamed stranger sipping coffee in the background. In a society that has increasingly isolated us from each other, this series serves as a reminder that every person around us is living a hidden life just as complex and epic as our own, populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries, and quirks. A reminder of all the lives continuing invisibly around us, inexplicably tangled with thousands of other ones we’ll never begin to know.

“Sonder” explores themes of identity, realization, and self-perception. Each image documents a brief glimpse of our fast-paced world, offering a look into another’s life. Whether these interactions last for a day or a mere second doesn’t matter—as only a moment is needed for us to acknowledge their existence. 

The realism of each painting serves to remind viewers to look beyond the ordinary situations in our everyday routines. The intense contrasts of light, color, and scenery emphasize the vividness of the lives beyond our own, making the people the focus. Through broad brushstrokes alongside tiny detail, the work captures the “Shifting” nature of humanity, the “Synergy” possible between complete strangers, and the unknown identities of the “Silhouettes” around us, allowing the audience to interchange anyone into the scene.

This series has always been grounded in themes of reflection and dignity, and they are values that I hope to continue on in my art and in my life.