The National Portrait Gallery is proud to host “2008 Presidential Scholars in the Arts: Works in the Literary and Visual Arts.” This temporary exhibition runs through July 13, and showcases the work of some of the nation’s most talented high school seniors, in the fields of cinematic arts, photography, visual arts, and writing. The Scholars are selected by The Commission on Presidential Scholars based on accomplishments in many areas: academic and artistic success, leadership and involvement in school and the community. .
This exhibition is presented by The Commission on Presidential Scholars, the Presidential Scholars Foundation, the National Portrait Gallery, and the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (NFAA). The Taylor Foundation is proud to fund the exhibition.
In this blog post, we highlight one of the young artists, Jennifer Liu of Highland, Maryland. Her piece “Adopted Suburbia: Laundry Day” (above) hangs in the exhibition. In her artist’s statement Ms. Liu writes:
Spawned from the vision of post–World War II families, the suburban lifestyle has always strived to be a man-made utopia. In the modern day and age, suburbia tends to consist of a landscape of cloned houses, obscenely green lawns, and shopping complexes that stretch beyond the horizon. With inhabitants either cooped in their sport utility vehicles or attached to the television screen or computer monitor, one can say that this is a cultural wasteland.
There are many ways, however, to entertain oneself in an average American suburban setting. I have discovered that my everyday encounters with my overactive imagination, sculpted by years of commercials, cartoons, and sugar have commingled together to fabricate my own suburban paradise.
At a young age, Jennifer Liu enjoyed the many processes of making art. From painting and photography to making music and movies, she has always taken the initiative to try something new. During high school, she began to take more art classes and became more involved with her art. As a junior, Jennifer entered a countywide student film festival and received first place for her short film. She has also been recognized as a Maryland Distinguished Scholar for Talent in the Arts and is a 2008 NFAA youngARTS Silver Award winner in photography.
A graduate of River Hill High School, Jennifer is still experimenting with different mediums. Many of her latest works include installations created from everyday materials, serving as an environment for her performance-based pieces. These performances are then documented using photography or video. Jennifer plans to attend Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore this coming fall.
Adopted Suburbia: Laundry Day/Jennifer Liu, 2007/Digital Color Print, 36 x 24in