Emil Kazaz
Emil Kazaz Born and educated in Armenia, Emil Kazaz was raised in a household alive with applied creativity; his father was a cobbler and his mother, a seamstress for a local theater. Kazaz credits his mother as his primary artistic influence. She took him to work and introduced him to the intricacies of theatrical spectacle – costumes, drama, lighting, and staging, which continue to b3 core devices for his artwork. She also bought art posters and hung them in their home, Another major influence was religious art. A highly Christian country, Armenians have long used Christianity as their cultural compass, and elements from its robust iconographical tradition manuscript illumination, tapestries, and laconic architectural forms, which have deep roots into Kazaz’s “aesthetic identity,” as well as the Armenian collective conscious.”

Kazaz pays homage to his parents in the double portrait, “My Father and Mother,” (acrylic on paper, 29”x41”, 2000), in which he effortlessly mixed his multifarious aesthetic and ethnic identities with a fresh contemporary stylistic overview. Framed within an open oval locket referencing his continues reverence, his father and mother are dressed in thespian-like smocks, and set against a viscous light blue wash suggestive of illuminated manuscript backgrounds. They look direcly at the viewer and are secure within the illusion of their connectedness while remaining quietly separate. Their facial expressions are reminiscent of Arshile Gorky’s familial portrait, “The Artist and his Mother,” without its brooding psychological overtones. The broad active brushstrokes used to suggest the father’s ruffled collar and tassel-less green fez are in striking contrast to the couple’s sober mood. Conversely, his mother’s image is captured by a minimum numbers of strokes. Though stoic, her complexion seems almost otherworldly, she is softer and more approachable than her no nonsense looking partner. Her large red hat acts like a beacon; guiding the viewer towards her uncomplicated steadfastness while also possibly the creative fires she gave her son.

Kazaz’s work also embodies other elements from his childhood environment, hearty earth tones, large expanses of open sky, winding roads, churches and monasteries, wallpaper, embroidery, hand hewn objects filled with the spirits of both eastern and western cultural phenomenon find their way into his oeuvre. Without boundaries, his figures chase multicultural relationships, ambition, deceit, love, hate, and fear as they try to mold these universal subject matters into new truths. He is no stranger to “sensual mysticism,” or the appropriation of multiple belief systems for the formulation of an aesthetic ideology. Kazaz’s work grows out of a diverse personal cosmology that has interwoven traditional art practices; anatomy, color theory, life drawing, perspective, etc., with a stream of subconscious reference, spatial ambiguity, religious iconography, and storytelling. His creative position is in direct contrast to the “idealized realism” of Soviet academic agenda that underpins his formal training, where”… Abstraction and imagination were discouraged. ... Under the Soviet regime there was little or no room for self expression through fantasy…”

Like Michealngelo’s unfinished marble Slaves, “Salto” drips with customized reinterpretations of classical iconography and conjures multiple allusions regarding the ongoing battle between good and evil too. A twisting and morphing set of forms teeter on the brink of physical exhaustion. Their internal pathos is magnified and illuminated by Kazaz’s anatomical liberties, facial expressions, sharp linear planes, and vigorous gestures. In a swirl of unknowing, they struggle against the prospect of melting into each other and becoming a single being. IN “Salto” incoherent confessions create and abstract lyricism; neither figure wants to accept its limitations, nor, more importantly, surrender to life’s jagged moments. “But… the almost ritual stylization of his figures; activities bespeak an awareness of a painted theater much older – and much closer to “home” – that that Kazaz learned n Soviet-style academy he originally attended.”

As a student Kazaz was exposed to non-Soviet art forms, and probably, his creative energy is more informed by those brief western-aesthetic interventions than he would like to admit (he is also quick to say he doesn’t look at other artist’s works). It is easier to establish his pictorial relationships within the complicated narratives and participatory nature of High Renaissance and Baroque painting. Roman figurative sculpture, the grandiose gestures of early Expressionism, Chagall’s search for archetype in everyday life. Of Gorky’s abstract expressionist nightmares, than in the social realist territories of his formal training. Kazaz’s work is born out of a revolutionary concept, at least from the former Soviet Union’s point of view, artistic liberty, product comodification and the creative freedom that encapsulate modernism.


When Kazaz left Armenia in 1980, it was still part of the Soviet Union. Following his immigration to the West, he did not become intoxicated with its material culture, conceptualism, or want to criticize or contrast its eco-political systems with his homeland as did many of his generation, i.e. the Sotsart. Instead of concerning himself with the obvious vulgarities of contemporary Western society, he looked inward in his search for answers to life’s central questions. He looked to the Church for answers too. Many of Kazaz’s works have religious underpinnings…” using religious elements within… works, mainly because Christianity was an integral and defining part of Armenian history, For Armenians, being Armenian and Christian is synonymous.”

A very inventive storyteller, Kazaz blurs the distinction between drawing, painting, and sculpture. By its spontaneous nature, drawing is his most fluid activity, followed by sculpture, and then painting, which, more often than not, seems sculptural. Kazaz is also a master of emotional transparency. His animated gestures and atypical postures project internal thoughts as secondary props, i.e. building details, cups, hats, etc. add to pictorial succulence and multilayered translations. All of his works are dominated by atmosphere, color, and implication; with a twist of the brush, a dab of color , or glob of clay, he creates a nose, a questioning gaze, and/or personal with complicated social situations as tiny pieces of architectural detail, furniture, or landscape identify locations in which his participants read their lines, and life their lives.


Emil Kazaz is an artist’s artist, an independent spirit and freethinker. He was taught the old fashioned way, extracted the best principles of his social realist training, added to them his adventures in the new world, and creates things no on else has ever seen. The work is saturated with humanist integrity. Whether using recognizable people – he often inserts himself into his paintings – human forms or morphed creatures existing within ornate psychological contractions like “Corsican Gate” or “Long Sheep,” his sense of emotional drama and visual physicality circumvent the rules of nature with unquestionable authority. They develop organically and, like life itself, evolve without preconceived plans or knowing their final destination.

In a sense, Kazaz has a lot in common with William Shakespeare, because both stage the world’s epic stores within highly controlled microenvironments. His art brings us closer to the fringe of human nature that most, attaches itself to something deep within each of us and, like cartographer, his imagination makes maps that locate new meanings within our own personal histories. We user the coordinates to fine ourselves within the loose and fluid human narrative that s never finished. There is nothing subtle about Kazaz’s connections. Whether on paper, linen, or cast in bronze, his well-crafted people, places and things, his poetics of imagination imitate nothing. They are real. However, in their presence it is not difficult for the viewer to be transported out of their time and place.

Adapted from "The Work of Emil Kazaz" by Jo Lewis.

Exhibitions

2009 International Fine Art Fair, Pasadena, CA
2008 Museum of Modern Art, Yerevan, Armenia
2007 Orangerie Du Luxemburg, Paris, France
2007 Florence Biennale, Florence, Italy
2007 La Coupole, Saint-Loubes, France
2007 Michael Levy Gallery, Long Beach, CA
2007 James Yaroush Gallery, New Jersey
2007 Bellian Art Center, Detroit, MI
2007 Stephanies Art Gallery, La Canada, CA
2007 Belador Art Gallery, Beverly Hills, CA
2007 Mooradian Fine Art, Los Angeles, CA
2007 Leverisage Gallery, Carmel, CA
2007 Roslin Art Gallery, Glendale, CA
2007 Tina Zapoli Gallery, Porto Alegre, Brazil
2007 Arame Art GAllery, Yerevan, Armenia
2007 Lev Moros Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2007 International Fine Art Fair, San Francisco, CA
2007 International Fine Art Fair, Pasadena, CA
2006 Museum Of Contemporary Art, Yerevan, Armenia
2006 Museum of National Architecture and Urban Life, Gyumri, Armenia
2006 Mooradian Fine Art, Los Angeles, CA
2006 Lev Moros Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2006 Bellian Art Center, Detroit, MI
2006 Tina Zapoli Galley, Porto Alegre, Brazil
2006 Stephanies Art Gallery, La Canada, CA
2006 Roslin Art Gallery, Glendale, CA
2006 Michael Levy Gallery, Long Beach, CA
2006 Bellador Gallery, Beverly Hills, CA
2006 James Yaroush Gallery, New Jersey
2006 Arame Art Gallery, Yerevan, Armenia
2006 Leverisage Gallery, Carmel, CA
2005 Mooradian Fine Art, Los Angeles, CA
2005 Gallery Vinizki, Munic, Germany
2005 Levernisage Gallery, Carmel, CA
2005 Arame Gallery, Yerevan, Armenia
2005 Lev Moros Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2005 Roslin Galley, Glendale, CA
2005 Michael Levy Gallery, Long Beach, CA
2005 Belian Art Center, Detroit, MI
2005 Stephanies Art Gallery, La Canada, CA
2005 Jamas Yaroush Gallery, New Jersey
2005 Tina Zapoli Gallery, Porto Alegre, Brazil
2003 Forest Lawn Museum, Glendale, CA
2003 Michael Levy Gallery, Long Beach
2003 James Yaroush Gallery, New Jersey
2003 Arame Art Gallery, Yerevan, Armenia
2003 Art Territory, Los Angeles, CA
2003 Tina Zapoli Gallery, Porto Allegre, Brazil
2003 Gallery Vinizki, Munic, Germany
2003 Roslin Art Gallery, Glendale, CA
2003 Stephanies Art Gallery, La Canada, CA
2003 Belian Art Center, Detroit, MI
2003 Museum of National Architecture & Urban Life, Gyumri, Armenia
2003 Museum of Modern Art, Yerevan, Armenia
2003 Florence Biennale, Florence, Italy
2002 Michael Levy Gallery, Long Beach
2002 James Yaroush Gallery, New Jersey
2002 Art Territory, Los Angeles, CA
2002 Denise Roberge Gallery, Palm Desert, CA
2002 Levernisage Gallery, Carmel, CA
2002 Tina Zapoli Gallery, Porto Allegre, Brazil
2002 Stephanies Art Gallery, La Canada, CA
2002 Gallery Vinizki, Munic, Germany
2002 Roslin Art Gallery, Glendale, CA
2002 Belian Art Center, Detroit, MI
2001 Denise Roberge Gallery, Palm Desert, CA
2001 Svit Ozor Fine Arts, Santa Barbara, CA
2001 Galerie 224, Laguna Beach, CA
2001 Levernissage Gallery, Carmel, CA
2001 Tina Zapoli Gallery, Porto Allegre, Brazil
2001 Fletcher Gallery, Woodstock, NY
2001 Gallery Vinizki, Munic, Germany
2001 Roslin Art Gallery, Glendale, CA
2001 Palm Springs International Art Fair, Palm Springs, CA
2001 Belian Art Center, Detroit, MI
2001 Art Santa Fe 2001, Santa Fe, NM
2001 Brand Library and Art Gallery, Glendale, CA
2001 L.A. International Art Fair, Los Angeles, CA
2000 Levernissage Gallery, Carmel, CA
2000 Galerie 224, Laguna Beach, CA
2000 Tina Zapoli Gallery, Porto Allegre, Brazil
2000 Herbert Palmer Gallery, West Hollywood, CA
2000 Fletcher Gallery, Woodstock, NY
2000 Roslin Art Gallery, Glendale, CA
2000 Palm Springs International Art Fair, Palm Springs, CA
2000 Belian Art Center, Detroit, MI
2000 Central Library and Art Center, Glendale, CA
2000 Art Territory, Los Angeles, CA
2000 Gallery Vinizki, Munic, Germany
1999 Tina Zapoli Gallery, Porto Allegre, Brazil
1999 Herbert Palmer Gallery, West Hollywood, CA
1999 Roslin Art Gallery, Glendale, CA
1999 Belian Art Center, Detroit, MI
1999 Downey Museum of Art, Downey
1999 Brand Library and Art Center, Glendale, CA
1999 Fletcher Gallery, Woodstock, NY
1999 Art Territory, Los Angeles, CA
1999 Galerie 224, Laguna Beach, CA
1998 Downey Museum of Art, Downey
1998 Herbert Palmer Gallery, West Hollywood, CA
1998 Belian Art Center, Detroit, MI
1998 Roslin Art Gallery, Glendale, CA
1998 Tina Zapoli Gallery, Porto Allegre, Brazil
1998 Art Territory, Los Angeles, CA
1998 Brand Library and Art Center, Glendale, CA
1997 Herbert Palmer Gallery, West Hollywood, CA
1997 Belian Art Center, Detroit, MI
1997 L.A. Central Library, Los Angeles, CA
1997 Ashkenazy Gallery, West Hollywood, CA
1997 Tina Zapoli Gallery, Porto Allegre, Brazil
1997 Roslin Art Gallery, Glendale, CA
1997 Igitian Modern Art Gallery, Las Vegas, NV
1996 Tina Zapoli Gallery, Porto Allegre, Brazil
1996 Belian Art Center, Detroit, MI
1996 Igitian Modern Art Gallery, Las Vegas, NV
1996 Roslin Art Gallery, Glendale, CA
1996 Ashkenazy Gallery, West Hollywood, CA
1995 Roslin Art Gallery, Glendale, CA
1995 C.F.M. Gallery, New York, NY
1995 Morosstudio Art Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
1994 New Trend Art, Hong Kong
1994 Lerner Gallery, Beverly Hills, CA
1994 Rosovsky Gallery, Laguna Beach, CA
1994 Morosstudio Art Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
1994 C.F.M. Gallery, New York, NY
1993 Whitney Gallery, Palos Verdes, CA
1993 Morosstudio Art Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
1993 International Art Gallery, West Hollywood, CA
1993 Rosovsky Gallery, Laguna Beach, CA
1992 Morosstudio Art Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
1992 L.A. Art Associations, Los Angeles, CA
1991 Gallery Verona, Beverly Hills, CA
1991 Morosstudio Art Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
1991 L.A. Art Associations, Los Angeles, CA
1989 Kathleen Spiegleman Gallery, West Hollywood, CA
1986 AGBU Art Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1985 Orosco Gallery, Hollywood, CA
1983 Wine Street Gallery, Hollywood, CA
1980 Olympic Art Festival, Moscow, Russia











 
Works
     Awards

     Books

     Drawings

     Paintings

     Sculptures




Mooradian Fine Art, Art Galleries, Dealers & Consultants, Los Angeles, CA

2006 Mooradian Gallery. All rights reserved

Useful Links / Privacy Policy

Web Design and Hosting by EconoSoluitons