Jirayr Zorthian / Richard Feynman: A Conversation In Art
Sunday, Aug 31, 2008
This exhibition will document one of the most famous artist and scientist collaborations in the history of Southern California, that between artist and public personality Jirayar H. Zorthian and Caltech and Nobel Laureate physicist Richard P. Feynman. Zorthian was a Yale University-trained artist who created respected paintings, murals, and drawings throughout his life. As a mural painter his reputation became well established, with forty-two completed murals throughout the United States. His career also included forty-seven years of constructing and designing buildings and serving as an architecture and design consultant. Even though he spent many of his years living in Altadena on the edge of Los Angeles - one of the most vital centers for contemporary art in the world - his visual art was rarely shown. Zorthian’s most important artistic influences may have been on Feynman. Feynman was extremely open to exploring new areas of inquiry beyond his world-famous expertise in science. Zorthian agreed to teach Feynman to draw, and Feynman agreed to teach Zorthian physics. The scientific instruction did not continue long, but Zorthian’s influences on Feynman led to the physicist’s life-long involvement in art making. Much of Zorthian’s art had an emphasis on drawing the human figure, particularly the beautiful and frequently erotic female form. Feynman embraced the discipline and pleasures of figure drawing as well as the challenges of portraiture. This exhibition is made possible by a generous grant from the Pasadena Art Alliance. Jay Belloli, curator. On view in the Caldwell Gallery.