Whitestone teen selected for citywide art show

By Madina Toure

Ever since she was a little girl, 16-year-old Erin Keblish of Whitestone was always surrounded by art, her mother constantly taking her and her brother to art museums.

She took up an interest in drawing and painting as a result, but felt stifled when the image that came onto the paper was not what she imagined. That all changed when she started taking up photography.

“I started to see it as you can compose it,” Erin said. “I got into more artistic self-portraits and that’s when I got artistic because then I was composing an entire scene.”

Erin is now one of 11 Queens students whose works were selected for Simplicity in Complexity V, an exhibition of original artwork from students in grades 6 to 12.

The show, which is a joint effort by ArtsConnection and Soroban Capital, featured 36 pieces from a total of 34 students. The works are on display at the hedgefund’s offices in Manhattan. The students were honored at a reception Dec. 8.

The theme, “Simplicity in Complexity,” draws its inspiration from the soroban, a Japanese abacus dating back to the 1600s that uses a simple system of rods and beads to perform mathematical calculations.

Erin’s photograph for the exhibition, titled “6:55,” is a photograph of a stop sign at sunrise. She was running late for the bus and was racing down an icy hill when she came across the sign.

“I was writing about the simplicity of the moment, how the sunrise was there and it was just beautiful,” she said. “It kind of made me forget myself for the moment.”

Keblish, one of two children, was born and raised in Whitestone by her parents. She attends the Bronx High School of Science and is interested in pursuing a career in biomedical engineering. She considers photography to be a hobby but says that science and art are interrelated.

She credits Gayle Asch, the school’s art teacher, who taught her digital photography class, with helping her to understand photography from an artistic point of view. She also cited American photographer Cindy Sherman as an inspiration.

“She (Asch) would help me look at the lines, how it’s composed,” she said. “She helped me figure out how to compose a photograph instead of being in the right place at the right time.”

Her mother, Tara Keblish, 52, who works at Nassau County Museum of Art, is an artist herself, in the areas of drawing, painting and watercolor. She would always take Erin and her brother to art museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art.

And her husband works in computer-aided design, which involves a mixture of technical and scientific skills, influencing Erin’s interest in both art and science.

“If you expose children to these things at an early age, then they become comfortable with them,” Tara Keblish said.

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour‌e@cng‌local.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.