Knoxvillians aren’t known for being wooden – well, maybe some politicians – but wood is good in the hands of artist Denise Stewart-Sanabria.
Stewart-Sanabria is known for her “Plywood People,” life-size and larger-than-life-size charcoal portraits on plywood that are cut out, mounted on wood bases and staged as conceptual art. “Virtual Reality,” an exhibition of her work, runs March 1-29 at the Dogwood Arts Gallery, 123 W. Jackson Ave.
A free opening reception will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. March 1 as part of First Friday activities. Exhibition hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
A Massachusetts native, Stewart-Sanabria earned her bachelor of fine arts degree in painting from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She is also known for her hyperrealist “portraits” of inanimate objects that reflect on human behavior.
Her art is included in museums and private and corporate collections throughout the country. Stewart-Sanabria has lived in Knoxville since 1986.
Also debuting on First Friday is A1LabArts’ inaugural juried show, “Connections,” at the Emporium Center, 100 S. Gay St. Awards will be announced at 6 p.m. The exhibition will be open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays in the lower gallery through March 29.
“Connections” features “innovative work” by more than 30 artists “from Knoxville and beyond,” according to a press release. “Works explore the theme of ‘connections’ in a broad variety of styles and media, including but not limited to: painting, photographic processes, video, sculpture and assemblage …”
Juror Katie Hargrave, professor at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, evaluated select works submitted for the show using criteria including originality, creativity and social relevance.
Artists represented in the show include Ashley Dawn Addair, Clayton Aldridge, John Allen, Reid Arowood, Booder Barnes, Sara Barrett, Emily Ward Bivens, Neranza Noel Blount, Kimberley A. Brown, Yvonne Dalschen, Ellen Dempsey, Jurgen Dopatka, Anne Freels, Stacy Jacobs, Anna Lawrence, Dustin Massey, Siobhan McAuley, Mark Mcleod, Sara Blair McNally, Christopher Mitchell, Donna Headrick Moore, Adam Newman, Mary Nietling, Hei Park, Angelina Parrino, Elizabeth Porter, Tatiana Potts, Hannah Rivers, Caroline Roberts, Annie Rochelle, Bryce Speed and Jennifer Stoneking-Stewart.
The competitive show was made possible by a generous donation honoring two founding members of A1LabArts and is expected to become a yearly event. A1LabArts is a Knoxville-based 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1995 by local artists. It is dedicated to multidisciplinary and experimental exploration of contemporary art issues in all media.
Other exhibits opening Friday at the Emporium Center include “From Student to Teacher” by painter Melanie Fetterolf; “Illuminations” by metal artist Rick Roth; “Trees and Other Beautiful Things” by photographer Richard Jansen; and “Glasslike Surfaces 2.0” by Yvonne Hosey, who works in glasspaint, acrylic, watercolor and scratchboard.
A free public reception honoring all of the Emporium exhibit artists will take place 5-9 p.m. Friday and will feature music and hors d’oeuvres.
As always, the First Friday ArtWalk in downtown Knoxville is packed with fun activities. A new venue is the Drawing Room Lounge at the Tennessean Personal Luxury Hotel, 531 Henley St. It will feature more work by photographer Richard Jansen, focusing on the downtown area.
Old City MedSpa, 104 W. Summit Hill Drive, will celebrate its grand opening with an exhibit by photographer Ric Brooks. There will be demos, refreshments and a raffle at the 4:30-7:30 p.m. event.
Mast General Store, 402 S. Gay St., is holding Dogs’ Night Out 5-8 p.m. in celebration of Mardi Growl. All dogs wearing a collar and lead are invited to bring their human companions and enjoy an evening of treats, photos and prizes.
The Knoxville Visitors Center, 301 S. Gay St., will feature popular raconteur Jack Neely, executive director of the Knoxville History Project, signing his latest book 5-7 p.m. Also at the Visitors Center, Jay Clark and Greg Horne will perform on WDVX’s First Friday Live.
Visit the Downtown Knoxville ArtWalk page for a full list of events.