Drawing Closer: Ink and Wood—a dynamic drawing and written word collaborative installation by New York artist Ellen Wiener, poet LB Thompson, and Knoxville artist Denise Stewart-Sanabria—is on view at Vanderbilt’s Sarratt Gallery through October 2. Wiener’s panoramic pen and ink panoramic Longhand Forest, and the corresponding dramatic poem sequence, Fibonacci Monstrosity, by Thompson, is housed with full-scale figurative plywood drawings by Stewart-Sanabria in the main lobby of the Sarratt Student Center.
Wiener’s Longhand Forest is a story wall drawing of dense and detailed woodland, designed to be inhabited by the creatures of a vast classical bestiary described in Thompson’s poem. The line counts in Fibonacci Monstrosity are based on the mathematical sequence in which each number is the sum of the previous two numbers.
The Brooklyn Rail described their installation: “Chaos and mystery flow through both of these worlds where rivers of science, legend, archaeology, myth, and divine comedy converge.” The interplay of text and forest is meant to launch the viewer from the densely inked edge into imagined space. Contemplating this space along with the viewers are Stewart-Sanabria’s full-scale, virtual reality plywood people.
Stewart-Sanabria’s life-size charcoal drawings on plywood depict people in various conceptual situations. “They are placed within an environment in both observational and interactive groupings,” wrote the artist. “Many of them emerge or partially disappear into walls, as if the surrounding architecture is Quantum Theory multi-verse portals. The human presence is intended as an attempt to civilize the bestial, natural world in which humans are often reluctant to acknowledge they are participants.”
*Denise Stewart-Sanabria, Longhand Forest, pen and ink, 7.5 x 24′ and panoramic view of Drawing Closer: Ink and Wood in the main lobby of the Sarratt Student Center