Wiegand Gallery

College of Notre Dame, Belmont, CA




Unexpected Beauty: The Paintings of Stephanie Sanchez


An exhibition of paintings by the American artist Stephanie Sanchez will be shown at the Wiegand Gallery on the College of Notre Dame campus in Belmont from January 19 through February 24, 2001. The opening reception is Sunday, February 4th from 2 to 4 p.m.

Stephanie Sanchez was born in 1948 in New York City and completed her M.F.A. at the University of California, Berkeley. Sanchez has taught at many institutions with renowned art departments including the California Art Institute, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara, and UC Santa Cruz. Sanchez also has an extensive exhibition record which includes prestigious galleries in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York. Her work has been critically recognized in many national art magazines.

Sanchez has been described by colleagues as one of the best representational artists in this country. Her work, in its exploration of the subtleties of light and the possibilities of composition, is compelling in its intense yet sensitive response to the world around her. In both her landscapes and still life paintings, she communicates an intimate, very personal relationship with the objects and environments she paints. Sanchez's work combines acute observation and great facility with attention to the feelings that arise from living in and around the subjects of her paintings. (left: Studio Interior, 1995-1998, 64 x 47 inches, oil on panel)

Curator Robert Poplack notes the artist's eye for beauty in the catalogue introduction. "Stephanie Sanchez has an eye for beauty, but it is a beauty tinged with the imperfections of the world. Ms. Sanchez paints Los Angeles, blemishes and all. She doesn't omit the smog or the trash; the landscapes depict what is there. Old houses, high tension lines, billboards, and office buildings all exist in the radiant light of day. Her work is characterized by a sustained and unflinching gaze that captures objects and the atmosphere surrounding them. The air's viscous particulate matter illuminates the sky. Her paintings are ethereal yet real."

Gerard Haggerty, writer for ARTnews magazine, states in the catalog accompanying this show, "The landscapes of Stephanie Sanchez send my thoughts back to the Southern California of my youth, where sun-struck stucco walls were the hues of candy, and palm trees swayed in the smoggy breeze. Her evocative pictures nail down a sense of place in a land where it's been claimed that there's no there there The artist builds her works out of layer upon layer of oil paint that she thins with turpentine rather than medium. The resulting surface, which is both luminous and dry, exactly suits her subject: the unvarnished truth about a world not so much bathed in light as desiccated by it. Sanchez portrays Southern California as a desert ineffectively masquerading as a garden, a land of fading dreams." (left: Sunset Strip, 1991, oil on panel, 32 x 41 inches; right: Distant Landscape, Sonoma, 2000, oil on panel, 32 x 32 inches)

Mr. Haggerty interprets the painting Sunset Strip, " The vista entitled Sunset Strip, which represents the metropolis encroaching on an ever-diminishing army of small apartments and motels, might just as well be called When Worlds Collide." And for Distant Landscape, Sonoma, "...the expansive sky in Distant Landscape, Sonoma brings to mind F. Scott Fitzgerald's observation: 'it's startling to you sometimes -- just air, unobstructed, uncomplicated air.'"

Sanchez has also been awarded the Sister Catharine Julie Cunningham Chair for Visiting Scholars at the College of Notre Dame and will be teaching a class in conjunction with this exhibition. This Natural History and Still Life Workshop will take place January 27 and 28 and February 3, 2001.

rev. 2/22/01

Read more about the Wiegand Gallery at College of Notre Dame in Resource Library Magazine.

Please click on thumbnail images bordered by a red line to see enlargements.

This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 4/27/11

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