“LIFE INFUSED ART ” BY ARTISTS:
YUROZ, FRASCA & HALLIDAY, KIM OBRZUT
Driving into Sedona on State Route 179, Exposures International Gallery of Fine Art extends a warm invitation to visitors with its towering sculptures, and 20,000 square feet, showcasing over 100 of the most exquisite and unique artists in the world. I was privileged to interview four of them for this article… Yuroz, Frasca & Halliday, and Kim Obrzut Art mimics life, and history … defining our most difficult journeys, our finest moments, and our most whimsical dreams. It predisposes us to awaken to the power of an embrace from an inanimate source. And to view tapestries of color and content that inspire us to explore and connect with its power. Art streams color into our lives when they feel void of connection. These four artists’ work are the epitome of this journey.
Yuroz takes us into the river of our desires … Our need for love, spirituality, nature, and home. He frames these passions with rich textures of exploration. Whether it’s in the arms of a lover, or in a peaceful forest, Yuroz leads us to connect.
“Art allows people to feel something so profound, They know they’re exercising a human emotional muscle.” - Yuroz
Painter and sculptor Yuri Gevorgian (Yuroz), was born in 1956 and immigrated to the United States in 1989. He has been called, “The artist of the people.” Perhaps it’s because he’s experienced extreme poverty and success, love and loss, yet still finds his voice. Living first as a refugee, and then homeless on the streets of Los Angeles, has brought him both the freedom and the vision to understand the human condition and survival. He said, “People need to understand that we are all together in this one boat, and we have to function together. We have to find a way to create tolerance and respect!” Spoken like a true American.
In his current showcase at Exposures entitled: “Dance with the Pomegranates,” we see his cubist work is reminiscent of Picasso. His style here, comes from his architectural background. Conceptually, the idea is to illuminate the perspective of the art and bring everything into one dimension. This technique is designed as a visual foreplay to prolong the viewer’s experience … sandwiching what you see, and what you know is there but do not really see. The geometrical forms are directing us to go within, to dive deeper into a dimension of the human experience.
In these paintings, Yuroz illustrates the bond between a man and a woman illuminating the ecstasy of deep connection. The male embrace is strong and powerful. The tapestry of his intimacy, is woven throughout the paintings with music, flowers, and a sense of worship. The female essence is robust, sensual, open, and fertile, with pomegranates and full exposure. The passion held between them is symbolized by eyes wide open. And the dance is a yearning so rich, you want to preserve it.
He said this about love, connection, and the human psyche, “At the end of the day, you want that tender, loving feeling of security … of being in somebody’s arms and feeling loved, protected, and in peace. You need to know that that person, is the other side of your strength. This is what I paint. The moment you break that link, the whole confusion starts in life.”
I could feel Yuri stretching deep into the caverns of his personal experiences as we spoke. One of the places I heard it most, was in his love and almost spiritual regard for women.
In his words, “The woman is the most incredible, beautiful, creature that God created. Maybe it’s my love for my mother ... but God gave women something so powerful in a loving, nurturing strength, that they can basically dominate in a gentle way over everything. Unfortunately, women often forget this. I paint them very powerful, but very calm and gentle. The gentleness is not a weakness it’s a strength, a self confident power I try to evoke in my paintings.”
What does Yuri see when he observes people viewing his work? He says, “There is a forced reaction. A tone that goes from high to low. A sound of something they release as they are looking for something. The work can be passionate, sexual, or erotic, but still there’s some kind of soul energy in it. This is the destination.”
In a man’s heart lies his true potential. Like his architectural style, Yuri is a complex man…a lover, humanitarian, philosopher. His work stirs up deep tenderness with connection. He said this about art, and today’s world. Creativity is a divine energy imbued in artists. We have a social obligation. “Artists must speak. They are the soldiers who ignite our spirituality. We cannot create more tension. We need to give people peace … to find some kind of security that they can control. So when they experience the craziness in the world, they can go to art that makes them feel good about themselves.”
FRASCA & HALLIDAY
From engineering and architecture, to aerospace and natural artistic talent, emerged a visionary duo whose creative compositions stir the heart and soul of their viewers. Connie Frasca and Karen Halliday have laid an organic course in their work, that is arousing art lovers across the world. When they met, their careers segued into building stately custom homes. Together they began to explore their talents in design. That led to an explosion of originality that has now seen two decades of inspiration from these amazing artists.
Their artistic designs are powerful and thought provoking… graceful, and embodying the spirit of nature. Every element of their wood sculptures, wall murals, and furniture, is a one of a kind, hand designed piece of heaven. And each piece portrays either an inner depth of nature, the universe, or the elements of sensuality in life.
Exposures brought Frasca and Halliday to Sedona. This renown gallery was so impressed with these artists that they accepted everything they have brought to them. It has been said, that their art is one of the few in the gallery that men and women agree upon without debate. This is a somewhat rare experience to witness among art lovers. Perhaps it speaks to the serenity of their art as well as its content, balance, and vibrance.
“As a wonderful result of nature’s endless inspiration, we have accidentally discovered, the beauty of infinity.” - Frasca and Halliday
Extraordinary art comes from an open heart willing to live courageously. Frasca and Halliday’s work suggests we look deeper into nature than we’ve imagined, deeper into life than perhaps we’ve been willing to go and that we preserve its influence on our lives. When asked where their inspiration comes from, the response was from the challenge to create something unique and aesthetic from something seemingly ordinary. And, from the desire to assist mother nature in her survival and our own.
These artists travel looking for unusual, exotic woods such as Birch, Maple, Ebony, Koa, Birdseye Burl, Paduk and bronze. They use roots, logs, and branches that are not popular in industrial use. After much preparation and hand carving; the artists unveil the woods’ warmth and embellish it, in three dimensional colors with inlayed stones, wood, sand, and organic earth materials. Championing resistance with these raw elements of nature, they compose a symphony of elegance that magnifies what is eternal.
Their wooden sculptured vessels are suggestive of androgynous human forms. Looking at them in groups, they may appear as different cultures. They feel holy, whimsical, sensual, and sexual. They suggested to me, the spirit of the soul and our human connection to one another.
Frasca and Halliday’s emerging compositions are magnificent living art. Art that lures you into a sense of peace. Art that creates a feeling of bliss, excitement, and humor. It also calls us to notice nature’s gifts to humanity. Nature has never been boring. And survival is a tribal call from its universe to ours. One that these artists have lived by.
Kim Seyesnem Obrzut, preserves the rich heritage of the sacred feminine of her Hopi culture in the stories her bronze maidens bring to life. As if being lured into the hands of the artist, her magnificent sculptures entice me to touch them. To feel their ancient resonance moving spirit through them. The flow of her work is soft, strong, and free.
She was the first Native American woman to work in bronze. Her maidens evoke a sense of power, celebration, and connection. And her patinas are among the most exquisite I’ve seen in sculpture, with every symbolic detail beautifully enhanced.
“It is a great honor to have been gifted with desire, the will and the need to create. Art allows our culture to participate in ceremony.” - Kim Orbzut
The Hopi tribe live in the oldest continually inhabited civilization in the New World, right here in northeastern Arizona. Their sacred and harmonious life is a society that is matriarchal and egalitarian… a way of life that is strong in community, and based on a connection to nature. Kim’s female images represents a people, not an individual. The Hopi thought is: One Mind, one Body, one Spirit. No face on her sculptures represents the egalitarian society of the Hopi people.
Her subject matter is female in all phases of life and situations… communicating the strength and wisdom of being matriarchal. “We work together to celebrate our blessings, and we share our world.”
Kim’s creative journey begins with formless clay, representing the symbolic beginning of chaos and nothingness. Releasing the rhythmic flow of harmony and visual balance, she intuitively allows spirit to work with her hands and heart to unveil her inspiration. As she said, “We are a people who listen carefully and respectfully to the world we live in.”
In her sculptures, she has chosen the smooth shape of a gourd, the oldest utilitarian vessel know to mankind, to represent the female body. Corn provided the Hopi with life for nearly a millennium and marks the four stages of life. Hair styles depict different phases of a woman’s life. Butterflies may represent rebirth, beauty, fertility, happiness, balance, and freedom. Baskets represent offerings and gratitude. Kneeling symbolizes the preparation for womanhood and marriage. And “Soho” or grandmother, leads in wisdom. Through this rich symbolism each of her maidens tell us stories of Hopi’s ancient civilization.
Kim Obrzut, sees her role as an artist, “To allow the flow of spirit to reveal itself, while still maintaining a private respect for my culture.” Her sculptures reveal a history that was never written. A good life based on hard work, faith, prayer, deep humility, and a sacred connection to Mother Earth.
Story by Patti Polinard | Photos provided by Exposures Gallery
For more information on the Exposures Gallery, visit: www.exposuresfineart.com