Sirarpi Heghinian Walzer
My mixed media abstractions echo the ideas and values that take center stage in my thoughts, representing an ongoing tension between freedom and containment and edging both the artist and the viewer closer to that place where chaos can erupt into clarity and memories are distilled into single dramatic moments. I use the color white to suggest purity and simplicity and to act as a unifying field for deliberately juxtaposed disparate images.
I resonate with the term Pentimento, made famous by Lillian Hellman. The term comes from an Italian word and describes an artist changing her mind, or “repenting.” This idea is made visible by a former painting peeking though the over-painting when it ages. This term feels true to me not only as a painting phenomenon but also as a human one, describing how the past percolates into the present in our lives. My memories color and shape my present reality into layered compositions—an amalgam of different selves fusing together in the moment.
Born in Aleppo, Syria, I immigrated to the United States when I was 13 years old. This immigrant experience also finds expression in my work. In many pieces, I express my empathy for those suffering loss, displacement, and the universal fear of homelessness.
I believe an artist’s role is to reveal the beauty in things that are dying or simply not pretty. To this end, I remove idealized female forms from magazines and reformulate them in my art, inventing a more passionate, reasoned, and realistic beauty. §
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Sirarpi Heghinian Walzer is an award-winning artist with artwork in many collections nationally and internationally. She is an artist member of Gallery263 in Cambridge, MA and Gallery Z in Providence, RI. She serves on the boards of Cambridge Art Association and Non-Profit Net in Massachusetts, is the principal of Consult and Design, a small-business IT consulting firm, and is the co-founder and director of Art Without Borders, an online community that champions the rights of artists.