The Untethered, By Sarah Curry collection of drawings and paintings that detail the struggles of teenage girls in society featured in the College’s art gallery. Photo Credit: Stephen Cutri
By Asar John
The Fine Arts Gallery is hosting the “Untethered” exhibit by Sarah Curry starting on Oct. 28.
“Untethered” is a collection of drawings and paintings that details the struggles of teenage girls in society. Curry, the artist for the exhibit, is an art teacher at Brush High School in Cleveland, Ohio.
As the years go by, Curry says she loses the personal feeling of what it’s like to be a teenager; like the same students she teaches. This feeling spurred her to create an anonymous Google survey to ask her female students about their experiences and struggles in this stage of their life.
“Because these surveys are anonymous, they tend to be very honest,” said Curry. “They divulge information that they wouldn’t share with me directly.”
Through this process, Curry began expressing their ordeals through art.
“I have done these paintings and drawings based on either their experiences or someone else’s experiences,” said Curry. “The girls all choose to depict their own narrative or someone that they know if they are uncomfortable talking about their own experience.”
Curry says the collection started with a conversation she had with one of her students at Brush.
“A student of mine was wearing hair extensions that were so heavy they gave her a headache,” said Curry.
Curry then asked the student why she decided on that hairstyle if it was causing headaches and getting in the way of everyday tasks.
The student told her, “This is the price I pay to look this good.”
This conversation led to the creation of a piece called “Too Heavy,” featuring a girl with red hair extensions, pinned and attached to a clothesline.
“The image in my mind came from alleviating the weight of the hair by pinning it up to something and yet she would still be pinned to an object which would compromise her movement,” said Curry.
This is where the name for the exhibit “Untethered” came into play. Curry said the student was “tethered” to this beauty standard set by society and the student herself.
Images like these are what led Curry’s work to York College.
Professor of Fine Arts at York, Nina Buxenbaum, says the Fine Arts Department chair, Margaret Vendreyes asked her to curate an exhibit. Buxenbaum chose Curry’s work believing it would be a great selection to feature in the gallery because it represents the student body.
“I’m really intrigued with African American hair and photos that have to do with hair,” said sophomore, Teresa Febus, a political science major. “Seeing it depicted in paintings is really interesting to me because we have so many different textures and ways of going about it.”
Another part of “Untethered” deals with the specific stage of adolescence where teens are learning to become adults.
“There’s this situation that they are trying to navigate what it’s like to be an adult and part of what it’s like to be a child,” said Curry. “They’re still trying to figure out who they are in this world.”
This idea is portrayed in pieces such as “Good Advice.” This piece features a 13 year-old girl counseling her friend through the way she learned to by seeing adults practice the same.
Buxenbaum said it is often that these problems of Generation Z are ignored due to a lack of understanding from the generation before them.
“I think we dismiss the voices of young people,” said Buxenbaum. “As adults, we think we know and understand things in a different way and don’t think we have anything to learn from young people.”
“Untethered” will be open until Wednesday, Nov. 27.