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February 14, 2017 > Divergent Figures opens at Olive Hyde

Divergent Figures opens at Olive Hyde

Submitted By Seema Gupta

The human figure is among the most captivating subjects in art, having been interpreted in various ways throughout history. Recreating the human figure involves the study and appreciation of body shape and postures. The resulting form and style of this practice have evolved over time, influenced by the cultures and experiences of the individuals who create them.

In the Prehistoric age, carvings were used to somewhat resemble a human figure, but this process was refined during the time of Egyptian civilization, when parts of the body became more proportionate to the whole. While the Greeks introduced contrapposto Ð an asymmetrical arrangement of the human figure with unequal weight distribution on both legs, the Romans rendered it realistic with perspective and mannerism, making accurate and truthful representations of humans in real-life settings. With the advent of Modernism came the experimentation with and abstraction of the human form. Regardless of its expression, the human figure has intrigued artists for thousands of years.

Reinforcing this timeless theme in visual arts, Fremonts Olive Hyde Art Gallery brings its new exhibit Divergent Figures: Artworks of Nagui Achamallah, Zarmine Aghazarian, and Bhavna Misra, which opens with an ArtistsÕ Reception on February 24, and will run through March 25.

Nagui Achamallah was born in Alexandria, Egypt. His interest in painting developed in college. While at medical school, he enrolled himself in an independent fine arts program at the University of Alexandria Atelier. As a student, he participated in numerous university group shows and won several collegiate awards. Achamallah had his first show at the University Physicians Club in 1973, followed by another at the Centre Culturel Francais in Alexandria in 1975. He immigrated to California in 1981, where he currently resides and practices psychiatry in the San Francisco Bay Area. Although Achamallah has a full-time medical practice, he manages to create more than 25 paintings each year.

He prefers to paint with oils. His painting style is unique and intricate, causing him to spend tremendous amounts of time and effort on each piece. Although Achamallah continued to paint all along, he did not start showing his work again until 1996. Over the years, he has participated in many group shows and a few solo shows in California.

Achamallahs style has evolved over the last 40 years, reflecting Egyptian, Middle Eastern, and South Mediterranean influences. Many of his paintings depict human figures. Achamallah says his characters are captives of time, instincts, fears and the reasons of their existence.

Zarmine Aghazarian, born in Yerevan, Armenia, developed her interest in art at an early age. She moved to America in 1970 and lives in Orinda with her family. With no formal education in art, Aghazarian has developed her own style through several art classes that she took at local community colleges. She started focusing on painting only after she retired from her job in 2001. Her inspiration comes from her family, travels, environment, and the people she has metÊin her life.

Being a naturally reserved person, Aghazarian uses art as her medium of expression. When an image or idea comes to mind, it remains there until she can sketch or paint it. However, once the process gets started, she allows the image to evolve per her aesthetic interests and influences. She is often inspired by colors and vibrancy in the art making of her Armenian heritage.

Aghazarian enjoys experimenting with different medias: watercolor, mixed media, and acrylics. The vibrant energy of color and brush stroke is a common thread throughout all her paintings, which she achieves by applying multiple layers of hues with differing levels of saturation. Often, she includes layers of mixed media such as handmade papers and newspaper. Aghazarian believes each painting has its story and character, and she enjoys the process of searching for balance between color, texture, composition and context.

Currently Aghazarian is a member of the Lamorinda Arts Alliance and Valley Art Gallery. Her work has been displayed at many exhibitions including Peju Winery Art Gallery in Napa; Hamazkayin Art Exhibition in Union Square, San Francisco; California State Fair, Sacramento; and Museum of San Ramon.

Bhavna Misra has been painting since she was a little girl. She grew up in the beautiful region of Himachal in India. Being surrounded by tall pine trees, snowy mountains, lush valleys, clear-water lakes, and diverse wildlife had a lasting impact on her artistic endeavors. Her passion for art was further reinforced by continued encouragement from her parents.

As she graduated with a MS degree in Electrical Engineering from San Jose State University, Misra continued to paint on the side. In her mind science and art were never separate Ð Science is the art of accuracy, and the technique of art is certainly a science of creativity Ð and she was equally good at both. Misra says she applies the knowledge of light and its effect to all her pieces. She routinely tries to explore ways to break down the entire process of painting and color mixing just like solving algorithms and theorems.

Misra believes that not studying art formally gave her a chance to develop her own style, and to live in the spirit of a lifelong student. She learns every day by practicing and experimenting. Misra has a special interest in doing portraits. She feels that a portrait bonds the artist and the subject in a way such as to give a sense of ownership to both.

About eight years ago, Misra quit her 9-to-5 job and returned to doing art full time. She has been displaying her work ever since at various exhibitions. She is an art contractor for the Alameda County Library System, and owns and operates Bhavna Misra Art Studio.

Come meet the artists and enjoy the diversity of their artwork.

Divergent Figures
Friday, Feb 24 Ð Saturday, Mar 25
Thursday Ð Sunday, noon Ð 5 p.m.

ArtistsÕ Reception
Friday, Feb 24
7 p.m. Ð 9 p.m.

Olive Hyde Art Gallery
123 Washington Blvd, Fremont
(510) 791-4357

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