Noah's art 

21-year-old Noah Saunders returns with joyful exhibition

Noah Saunders is no stranger to the spotlight. At age 17, he made headlines in his quest to form a gay-straight support group at Pope High School in Cobb County. Two years later, his Steps to Safety art show, featuring works inspired by the murder of Matthew Shepard, again boosted Saunders into the public eye.

Now, the 21-year-old artist is back -- but this time with more positive messages in mind. His second annual solo show, Hey Man Where Have You Been? -- on display this weekend at First Existentialist Congregation -- finds him in a decidedly more joyful mode. Saunders, who has since relocated to Athens with his boyfriend, says most of the works were created since he fell in love, adding that the show represents a maturation of his style. "I guess it's just more serious, in the sense that each piece is more professional in terms of composition," he says.

Though paintings and prints outnumber three-dimensional works in Hey Man, Saunders has been working with more live models for his signature wire sculptures, a move he says has greatly improved the work. And while Saunders' tone shifts from struggle to celebration, his art is still essentially an exploration of the human form.

Hey Man Where Have You Been?, featuring works by Noah Saunders, shows 7-10 p.m. Sun., Oct. 14, at First Existentialist Congregation, 470 Candler Park Drive. 404-378-5570.

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