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Transcending reality into personal art

To high school senior Alicia Lajeunesse, art is personal.
by: , by James Leavitt

And that's why she chose to organize this year's Forest Grove High School student and alumni exhibit at Valley Art. The event is biennial and usually planned by Phil Thias, a high school art teacher.

Thias handed the show over to Lajeunesse when she was looking for something to do for her senior project.

The show is largely a presentation of the AP studio art class' best work. Entitled 'Transcending Reality into Personal Art,' about half of the show will be art that the class is creating as a part of their portfolios for college. Thias picked the title because it fit with the class. 'We're very expressive,' said Lajeunesse. 'We use a lot of events to come up with our artistic compositions.'

In the class, each student chooses a concentration - either a particular topic or a medium or a theme - and then spends the remainder of the term exploring that concentration. The students keep journals, sketchbooks and do research regarding their concentration. 'Basically, it's a class to try to figure out where we fit stylistically,' said Lajeunesse.

Lajeunesse herself will display some pieces from her concentration of human emotion. She uses a variety of mediums from mixed media mosaics of magazine scraps to stipling and pen and ink. Some of the pieces bear a resemblance to either tribal art or impressionism and deal with people and their emotions.

Other artists have contributed sculpture, watercolor paintings and sketches.

Also, the title is intentionally broad, so that no one is excluded from submitting. 'You want to give each person a chance to get their work out,' said Lajeunesse, who had to contact all the fine arts alumni and invite them to submit their work, as well.

Most of the alumni are currently in college. The other half of the work presented will be from them. Lajeunesse expects around 50 pieces in the end.

'Students have the option for sale, though many won't because it's for a portfolio,' she said.

At the March 10 reception, Lajeunesse has ensured that another passion of hers is present as well. The advanced choir, a barbershop quartet and a female barbershop quartet will perform.

'I like each type of art equally,' said Lajeunesse, who is also involved in drama and music. 'They're all really fun in their own ways.'

She likes to have her hand in it all, and this show added another interest to the list.

'I like the stress beforehand and then seeing the event come out OK. It's kind of addictive,' she said. 'I really like it. Just organizing an event that will help put art into the spotlight is great. It's something I care really deeply about.'

Lajeunesse plans to major in art history and minor in studio art at Portland State University, and has dreams of either volunteering or interning at the Portland Art Museum.