In 2000, Los Angeles sculptor Soraya Nazarian traveled to an artists workshop in Pietrasanta, Italy, a city made famous for its marble quarries by none other than Michelangelo.
The experience profoundly shaped Nazarian’s life, focused her technique, and enhanced her relationship with stone. She has been one of the few female artists who have personally selected stone from Pietrasanta quarries.
Nazarian’s retrospective features selected examples of the deeply creative Iranian-American’s output at the airy loft-style exhibition space, Gallery 817, in West Hollywood.
Graciously greeting her guests, the soft-spoken wonder woman (she is also the matriarch of a high-achieving Los Angeles family) seemed an enigma. It’s hard to imagine this petite dynamo carting around tons of marble.
And yet, her creations dot the high-ceilinged room. Curator Barbara Gilbert, formerly of the Skirball Center, combines the heavy objects deftly, showcasing how Nazarian’s exigent touch triumphs over the unyielding stone.
In a panel discussion convened on the occasion, gallerist Jack Rutberg noted, “In a time when objects seem to be devalued by the virtual, Soraya is an example of an artist who is driven by the more elemental forces that connect artists with our aesthetic history and lineage.”
Gloria Gerace, an independent producer and a manager of arts project for cultural institutions, and Jane Bassett, a conservator of decorative arts and sculpture at the J. Paul Getty Museum, also spoke on the panel.
Nazarian’s work appears in many private collections, as well in public spaces, notably in Israel. They include the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, Sapir College in Sderot, and the University of Haifa.
Strength Revealed: Twenty-Five Years of the Art of Soraya Sarah Nazarian | Gallery 817 | thru 31 April