Aliza Horowitz sees art where others see trash.
"My friends make fun of me," the 18-year-old said. "I'll see something on the side of the road and make them stop the car."
Hubcaps. Parts of a traffic light. A broken guitar. A piece of a ceiling fan. To Horwitz, these are the building blocks of art.
Her approach paid off. The senior at the Visual Art Center at Albert Einstein High School in Montgomery County, Maryland, took top honors in January at the 11th annual Johns Hopkins University art show for her piece titled Magnified.
Horowitz developed an interest in art years ago, when her grandmother took her to museums in Chicago. She'd sit with a sketch book, drawing the sculptures in front of her. Then she developed an interest in found art—creating pieces from objects that generally aren't considered artistic. Now she likes to merge sculpture with a 2-D approach.
For Magnified, she scoured her house for objects. She used buttons, goggles, coins, a shampoo bottle, a plastic bowl, tiles, a key, a spoon with a mini-Liberty Bell on top, a robot she made from a film canister and a peacock she made from a twisted spoon.
"It's getting rid of junk!" said Horowitz, who is considering studying visual arts as a minor in college.
The theme for the art show this year was "Explore." Students from 15 Montgomery County public high schools participated and now have their art works on exhibit at the Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus. Plaza Artist Materials donated the canvases.
Of the 208 works submitted, jurors selected 47 to be showcased. Six students won prizes.
An opening reception for the exhibit was held on campus in January. Parents, students, and community residents gathered to view the art and hear the winners announced. The exhibit will be on display through March 17 in the lobby of the campus's 9605 Building. The exhibit is free and open to the public.
The exhibit is one of JHU's programs designed to get children excited about STEAM education—a mashup of arts education with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines.
The show was curated by local artist Sherill Anne Gross. She judged the works along with local artist Lori Anne Boocks and Bryan Hill, a patron of the arts.
Winner and judges comments
1st Place: Magnified by Aliza Horowitz of Einstein Visual Art Center: The first place winner combined masterful painting technique with a sensitivity to materials and construction. This piece pulls the viewer in again and again, and it shows talent well above the high school level. The addition of the bowl, bottle, goggles, buttons, etc. brilliantly added depth and movement. From every angle in the room, the painting seemed to follow.
2nd Place: The Attic by Elena Asofskyof Quince Orchard High School: The attention to detail was astonishing and created a world of imagination that fully encompassed the theme. Composition, brushwork, and color choices were incredibly polished and show professional-level work. The realism of the young man entering the surreal attic transformed me in to the space.
3rd Place: Voyager Spacecraft by Josephine Prickett of Spingbrook High School: Composition and paint handling set the third place work apart. Even though just a medium-sized canvas, it offers rich, quiet areas of deep space for the viewer. The subject matter is deceivingly simple, but the execution very complex and compelling. The detail of the satellite to the depth of stars and gas clouds creates a space that we've only seen through the lens of the Hubble Telescope.
Honorable Mention Explore by Colleen Reich of Sherwood High School: With bold color and composition, this piece demands that you look, then keeps your attention with rich detail. The artist was able to transform the parameters and restrictions of the canvas to create a movement through dimensions. From the hands, to the eye, to the flowers and vines, the artist displayed extraordinary detail.
Honorable Mention Greek-American: Exploring My Heritage by Elizabeth Sporgitas of Northwood High School: This piece captivates the viewer with the subject's bold stare and mature use of color and paint. The artist demonstrates incredible technique. The young lady in the foreground is remarkably realistic.
Honorable Mention Riding the Wild by Ujana Zajmi of Quince Orchard High School: Viewers are taken on a delightful journey by this piece. The texture and forms gracefully pull together movement, snow, and wonder. The artist created a beautiful, realistic piece that seems so soft that you actually want to touch the reindeer. The artist truly captured a moment in time as the girl on the reindeer passes by.