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Over the line

As children, we were told to color within the lines. To do so required control of the body - patience in the mind and precision in the hand. Now, years after those pre-K coloring days, artist Jennifer Wroblewski is teaching her art students to "appreciate that the body is alive" and that our own internal movements will inevitably color the art we produce - perhaps outside the given lines.Those interested in discovering (or rediscovering) movement and the body may take interest in the figure drawing workshop that Wroblewski will be teaching for six three-hour sessions every Thursday at Women's Studio Center in Long Island City. Enrollment in the class costs $150 for the general public and $125 for WSC members. Students of all levels and both genders are welcome.Wroblewski brings to the table a master's in fine arts from the New York Academy, where she focused on drawing, in addition to a long history of exhibiting art. She estimates that she has been formally studying art for nearly 20 years, since she began as a teenager.The classes at WSC will primarily consist of drawing from a live model, but during the models breaks, Wroblewski plans to do anatomical demonstrations - utilizing skeletons and textbooks - as well as to discuss art history and the use of light and shadow."Each workshop is specifically tailored to the actual people who take the course," she said, noting that the class focus has been different for each of the two sessions she has taught. "I try to touch on any point of interest."But regardless of the specific content of the workshop, Wroblewski said her main goal is to show that whenever artists do figure drawing, there are always two moving elements at work: the model and the artists themselves."A lot of time, people treat the body as an inanimate creature," she said, "but the model is a living, breathing person and not an inanimate object. So there is movement there that needs to be in some way interpreted by the artist through drawing. Meanwhile, we're in our own bodies. I'm trying to see the connection between the model and your body."In addition to teaching and doing editorial work for art books, Wroblewski makes a living by showing and selling her artwork.Wroblewski describes her own art as often "working against a classical tradition." Explaining some of her abstract work, she said, "I try to imagine: if the body were beyond its limitations, what would it do?" These ruminations on the impossible often cover very large canvases - usually 7 feet by 7 feet or 8 feet by 10 feet.Although she has dabbled in other art forms and continues to paint, Wroblewski has found her greatest interest and love in drawing. "I think drawing is one of our most original means of communication - that it's a language intrinsic to humans regardless of where and when they live or lived," she said. "For everyone, whether you've been working for 20 years or just picked up the pencil, drawing is natural."Wroblewski, who lives in her studio across the street from WSC, became interested in the organization when she attended one of the non-profit group's outreach programs, she said.According to its executive director, Melissa Wolf, Women's Studio Center began in 1998 in an apartment building and moved from that small space to its current loft in 2004. It became a non-profit in 2000. In addition to the expansive main room, where workshops like Wroblewski's "Movement and the Body: Figure Drawing" take place, the loft includes a Writing Center and spaces to rent to artists.As someone who has taken one session of Movement and the Body, Wolf spoke highly of Wroblewski's expertise. "I found that she knows about human anatomy almost like a doctor does," Wolf said.Even so, Wroblewski herself stressed that one's artistic product does not necessarily have to have the perfect proportions or be altogether realistic. "I want people to find a way to focus less on getting a photographic representation and more on interpreting - to get into a really creative space and see how your hand works, how your eye works," Wroblewski said.The more you are able to release yourself from the confines of strict realism, she contended, "the more likely you are to produce interesting art."

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