Define power and beauty
by Tamar Kevonian
Greg and Judith Beylerian unveiled their new show at the Seyhoun Gallery in West Hollywood, California, on May 12. The title of the collection, “Power and Beauty,” was inspired by a milennia-old poem that encompassed everything the artists had been working on in the past.
“This was a reflection of the last two years of my work,” says Greg. What is true power? What is true beauty? Where do they come from? What are their characteristics? What is their value? Ultimately, what is the relationship of true power and true beauty with divinity? These are the ambitious questions they set out to address
Beylerian’s iconic face drawings are on one wall. They represent consciousness. Body portraits on the other wall represent the beauty of the human form, which contains the soul, and the handmade book of poetry and art. Unlike most art shows, the Beylerians incorporate the spoken word and movement into their exhibits. Involving all the senses is part of the package for them. “The performance art and the reading of the poems is the verbal expression into power and beauty,” Greg declares.
The distinctive line drawings of faces are Greg’s core drawing exercises. “It’s my practice in letting go and surrendering to the flow.” The “flow,” he explains, is a process of allowing an artist’s true self to go through him or her unencumbered. “I keep the drawings in chronological order to track the evolution of my style.
Having attended design school for his master’s degree, he learned the technical skills, how to draw and use tools, to manifest his vision. He worked with architects in New York, and particularly with Gaitano Pesce, whose work is displayed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Greg considers Pesce his mentor. “He’s truly a visionary and has transformed the way we see things. He’s an innovative user of materials,” proclaims Greg.
Fifteen years ago, Judith helped pack Greg’s motorcycle and sent him on his journey to California. Neither one of them knew what to expect once he arrived. “There was something in me looking to the West Coast,” he said. “Moving to L.A., I was finally ready to focus on manifesting myself as an artist.”
Los Angeles was free of context, with no preconceived expectations. True to its spirit, Southern California gave Greg space and peace of mind. “I’m a big lover of New York City, don’t get me wrong. I found myself to be very fluid and comfortable in this environment.” In the last few years, Greg’s work has evolved from using the body as a three-dimensional canvas to fusing his line work and painting with digital photography as an artistic tool. “I went back to basics using natural lighting,” says Beylerian. Made using museum-quality materials, the work is printed on metallic paper that is fused between two pieces of acrylic. The content integrates fine art with photography.
Judith Beylerian’s background is steeped in garment making. Her love of textiles stems from her family’s involvement in the clothing industry, but her inspirations comes from antiques. The styles have the feeling of costumes but true appreciation of her art comes from the intricate details of the stitching, texture, and the colors she uses to create the entire effect of each piece.
Known to friends as Jude, she is a close collaborator of Greg’s. They share one studio under one roof. For this particular exhibit she staged the performance piece and worked out the couture of the orators. “Jude’s involved intimately on every level. She is my inspiration and my muse,” pronounces Greg with love and pride. Jude provides a reference for Greg’s definition of beauty, esthetic from a female perspective, and his constant search for visual truth. “I always have her over my shoulder,” he says.
In this collection of photographs, Beylerian did not use the live body as a canvas, but used instead the photographed female form. “I can’t find anything more beautiful than the human form,” he says. He integrates his line drawing into the photograph. The Face drawings represent his exploration of the spirit of the person, to interpret what we cannot see, while the photography explores the external beauty, making a physical portrait of the soul. “Combining them is the dialogue between the two,” he explains.