Nestor Topchy Unveils Years-In-The-Making Project ... At a Funeral Home

Categories: Visual Arts

Nestor Topchy, Jim Pirtle and Andrea Grover with Child
This Saturday, one of the most anticipated and unusual visual-art events of the year is taking place at a Tanglewood-area funeral home. For one night only, the well-known Houston artist Nestor Topchy with exhibit his years-in-the-making portrait series, "The Iconic Portrait Strand," in its first-ever public presentation. And what better venue for the solemn and soulful images than a funeral home? From 7 - 10 p.m., Geo. H. Lewis & Sons on Bering Dr. will host the open-to-the-public exhibit, with catering by Stone Kitchen.

Topchy invoked an 800 year-old artistic tradition (Byzantine iconography) to paint over 100 local and national art-world players, including Walter Hopps, Franklin Sirmans, David McGee, Hiram Butler and Edward Albee. We're betting the event will likewise attract a who's-who crowd.

Art Attack chatted with Topchy about his ongoing project.

"I started early 2006, and then it built steam; it started accumulating."

"The Iconic Portrait Strand" was born out of the tradition of making Pysanky, Ukrainian eggs Topchy made as a kid with his mother and grandmother.

"I thought, why not just look back into familiarity? I've been through the same experiences as just about every artist. There's a materialism that justifies just about every absurd and worthless notion for making art. I didn't know how to step out of it, so I stepped out of it intuitively. I think embracing mystery is an honest and forward-thinking way to get something done."

Nestor Topchy, Al LeBlanc and David Brown

"I wanted to be able to connect to a person through art. And I wanted to also acknowledge the whole of creation in its divine and complete way without compartmentalizing or infringing on certain branches of theology or religion, or dumping it into 'pop.'"

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