Art lovers enjoy the aesthetics of a beautiful art display and most delight in learning the message or narratives behind each work. The enjoyment of a painting is a cumulative experience, not just for the viewers but also for the artist who creates it.
As we share images of the installation of Symbiosis from the Coral Springs Museum of Art, we are including sound bytes from our interview with Yuroz. Here, he shares his personal connection and the inspiration that got him to put together this stunning collection of abstracted trees.
The Installation (#emptymuseum)
Marshall B. Davidson, associate curator and director of publications of MOMA for 26 years stated that, “Nothing is ever lost… every painting that is enjoyed through clear understanding will increase our enjoyment and understanding of all other paintings.” According to John Canaday, an art historian and renowned writer, painting is “a projection of the personality of the man who painted it, a statement of the philosophy of the age that produced it, and it can have a meaning beyond anything concerned with one man or only one period of time.”
The context of an artist’s life leading up to or immediately prior to the creation of important artwork bear profound effect on his work. At first glance of the Symbiosis collection, one would think that Yuroz has totally departed from his prior style and subject matter but in fact, Yuroz revisits his main subject of human condition with a new angle, embracing his love for humanity with a new dimension and inventiveness. What we did not know is that this journey traced back to over 20 years ago.
Pang: What inspired you to create this beautiful collection of abstracted trees?
Yuroz: It was 1994, the day of my birthday when I became a father for the second time and with God’s blessing, my son was born. I could not stop looking at his angelic face, and with him in my arms, the only word I can think of to describe that feeling is “heavenly”. I held him tight to give him security while he dosed in and out of his sleep in my arms. The rhythm of his breathing and the sweet scent of a newborn completely overtook my senses and I forgot that the television was on. All of a sudden, devastating pictures of deforestation of the Amazon dominated the television screen with shocking revelations on what deforestation would do to the environment. I started pressing my son’s body closer to me as I felt instinctively that I needed to protect him from the world where those shocking images could become a reality.
Pang: That was over 20 years ago! What does this collection mean to you as a narrative visual poet and your role as a father with a desire to protect your son?
Yuroz: Well, in Armenia, where I spent 29 years before I came to the States, we have a beautiful religious holiday for spring. Apricot trees bloom everywhere. With the smell of melting snow and the warmth of the evaporating moist in the air from the soil, the aroma is incredibly energizing and vibrant. I call that the Aroma of Life. It is during that time each year that we would buy a tree and bring it to the church to have it be blessed.
People plant trees to celebrate life, and the lives they lost. Some plant trees to celebrate an anniversary, a birth or a significant event. The blessing of planting a tree spans beyond one person’s lifetime. It brings life and beauty to the earth.
Having been an artist during the last 30 years here in this country, I have had the opportunity to raise money with my art for different foundations. After doing some research, I discovered that I was not alone and there are many people with foundations focusing in the reforestation of the planet. On that discovery, I made a decision to create a collection of paintings to participate in museum shows and to display in public venues. Art is a very powerful communication medium and one of the best platforms to bring awareness to any cause. We are hoping to connect to help make a difference. Setting up a dedicated foundation or working with foundations to donate part of the proceeds from this collection to help people plant one tree at a time for example are some of the things I would like to see happen.
Pang: How did you decide on the name of the collection?
Yuroz: Symbiosis expresses the symbiotic relationship between the human race and nature, where our existence is being nurtured by nature and nature’s survival is dependent on the attitude of the human race. The relationship is codependent and both parties exist in close physical association, typically to the advantage of both.
Pang: Would you comment on the “Intersect” series that has similar compositions but each painting has its unique color palette?
Yuroz: There is actually an emotional and spiritual aspect to the collection. We believe there are seven Chakras in human, each represented by a different color. Chakra means wheel in Sanskrit. When expanding on the wheel concept, experts refer to the fact that wheels makes a vacuum as they twirl in a circular movement. As a vacuum, a Chakra will pull physical and mental challenges inside the body on a vibratory level. On the contrary, like the light goes to the prism and divide into seven colors, when all seven chakras are aligned, we experience enlightenment. One can activate specific Chakras by looking at the corresponding Chakra colors. You can do some research on this topic but once you begin focusing your attention on the meanings and effects of the seven chakras, you can create balance by aligning the Chakras to work together to give physical, mental and emotional peace. Based on this belief, I chose the composition and the color palette of the Symbiosis collection.
Pang: You made reference that it is not only the energy in your painting but also how much viewers are open to sense what you paint to be able to experience the transformation journey you had with nature. What do you mean by that?
Yuroz: My painting is only part of it. Viewers need to allow themselves to feel and trust to engage. You see, the shape of the trees, the trunks and the branches look like arrows. The viewer starts following the arrows which end as others start. As those branches end, other ones begin. You stand in front of these paintings and keep looking endlessly to find a focal point. After awhile our conscious mind sort of gives up looking for meaning. It is only then that viewers enter the realm of emotional perception.
This is when the colors of these paintings take over our emotions and we experience warm when viewing the red “Intersect”, and a spectrum of cool to calm feelings when viewing the green “Intersect”. This is my emotional massage to viewers’ system to help create a tremendous impact of our emotional health.
Pang: I was looking for a painting as I was curating the collection for Art New York and I stumbled upon “The Harvest” from 2006 (which you later printed a series of limited edition serigraphs from). To my surprise, I saw traces of your architectonic abstraction of trees from that painting. Was that the first time any hint of this museum collection showed up on your paintings?
Yuroz: Wow, I frankly have no idea. Looking at it, you are probably right. That did look like the precursor, although it took quite a few sketches, drawings and studies before I painted the “Dancing Trees”.
Pang: I feel very honored to be able to represent your work especially at this time and to be able to understand the genesis of Symbiosis. From being inspired to make a better world for the next generations to reaching physical, mental and emotional peace for oneself, Symbiosis is so much bigger than just one painting, one composition on any one medium. May I ask you how you envision your galleries to work together to support Symbiosis and your endeavors?
Yuroz: We are planning to keep the museum display together and add other pieces with the goal of having the collection travel in museum shows in U.S. and internationally. I truly believe that when we give the viewers a chance to be surrounded with a body of work of this magnitude, it makes a strong impact on them. If it does not change much in their lives, at least it raises awareness and starts an observation, a thought process, or a conversation about the link between us and nature… something so vital for our survival.
To capture the experience of the viewers at opening night in this journal, picture probably beats a thousand words. Please see photo gallery below.
The Artist Opening Reception (#museumselfie #artselfie)
The essence of Symbiosis is best displayed here with this picture. Peacefully, two art professionals sat together in a supportive embrace, sensing the essence of the artist’s energy from the painting, making that magical connection, with the environment and with each other.
- View video post of behind the scenes guide by curator and art critic, Bruce Helander
- View video post of artist reception and guided tour same day by Bruce Helander
- View Symbiosis Collection from our image library