Denise Stewart-Sanabria's large figure drawings -- completed on plywood -- explore multiple dimensions in "Quantum Confusion." The Knoxville, Tenn.-based artist says she uses photographs she takes of visitors to art galleries to provide a basis for her figure drawing.
The life-sized figure drawings in Denise Stewart-Sanabria's "Quantum Confusion" were inspired by the idea of portals to other dimensions, the artist said. Her work is part of a two-person exhibition, "Confrontations and Observations," opening at 5 p.m. at the Yeiser Art Center on Saturday.
A crowd is coming to the Yeiser Art Center on Saturday, but don’t expect many of them to talk to you.
“Confrontations and Observations,” an exhibit by artists Christine Wuenschel and Denise Stewart-Sanabria, is made up exclusively of figure drawings, with a twist.
Stewart-Sanabria creates larger-than-life people by drawing onto plywood and positioning the work upright in the middle of the gallery space.
“I do these life-size people because it gives the viewer an uncomfortable sense of the people’s presence,” the artist said. “It’s kind of a bridge between two- and three-(dimensional) art.”
Stewart-Sanabria added that she prefers wood because its durability allows her to mount other elements, such as door hinges, directly onto the drawing. Through the use of such techniques, she creates a multi-layered viewing experience.
“It’s really fascinating to be able to look at layers of drawings. They play off of each other in a really interesting way,” she said.
The Knoxville, Tenn.,-based artist says she considers herself a Southerner, and draws inspiration from the people she meets in the Southeast arts community. “I get my photo references for the people I draw during gallery receptions. ... Then they end up back in the gallery setting, so it’s kind of this crazy loop,” she said.
Stewart-Sanabria said she’s excited to be showing her art at the Yeiser alongside Wuenschel’s life-sized figure drawings.
“All of (Wuenschel’s) work will be on the wall, and all of my work will be on the middle of the floor. It looks really cool,” she said.
Like Stewart-Sanabria, Wuenschel also draws from photographs of live models. Her work at the Yeiser will feature mountains of bodies, she said.
Wuenschel said she has been attracted to figure drawing since she began studying art as an undergraduate. “I think in the beginning it had a lot to do with me coming to accept my own form,” she said.
“I also like how much power the image of the body holds. I feel like because we have a body, and because we have a head, the viewer is attracted to that part of the work,” she continued.
Local figure drawer and Paducah School of Art teacher Randy Simmons said he pulled for the two artists to come to the Yeiser because of the strength of their work.
He added that drawing has gone overlooked for the past few years, but seems to be making a comeback. “Maybe we can help that happen with this show at the Yeiser,” he said.
Call Laurel Black, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8641.
Want to go?
What: Opening reception of “Confrontations and Observations,” drawings by Christine Wuenschel and Denise Stewart-Sanabria
When: 5 p.m. Saturday
Where: The Yeiser Art Center, 200 Broadway.