Gallery Presents Real to Surreal: People Places Things

Farideh Azad’s glass art, clay, and paintings are inspired by her Iranian heritage when her ancestors worshipped the fire that was used to make early glass and lay utensils. Photo courtesy of the artist

Merging their styles, three artists, Idelle Okman Tyzbir, Farideh Azad, and Donna Geist Busch, cover aspects of the intellectual and cultural, as well as interpretations of reality. In other words, they use authentic settings, without overlooking the attainability of fantastical elements and heightened awareness of mystery.

The works they have created bring out the beauty of what they have seen with their own eyes but open the possibility of making it more expressive in this body of work entitled Real to Surreal. Bringing their diverse genres to create a juxtaposition of similar, yet unlike things, they contrast everyday reality with the unreal. This exhibition weaves through a variety of people, places, and things, resulting in a harmony of the work and linking the artists together in such a manner as to draw the attention of the viewer and give them space to contemplate.

These artists share their creative visions through a variety of mediums: clay, glass, metal, wax, paint, and more, each evoking a reaction, not only to the finished piece of art, but to the textures, forms, and colors in each piece. 

The multi-talented Idelle Okman Tyzbir creates work out of metal and glass, paints, and a wax collage process.

“I thoroughly enjoy the meandering thought processes that inspire and shape the body of my work. I am an Unapologetic Ponderer…every piece has its own story. They are emotive and personal, emerging from my heart. Whether abstract metal, watercolor, or mixed media, don’t take my work at face value; there is always something beyond the immediate.” Idelle would love to discuss her work with you. You can converse at the reception February 8th.

Farideh Azad never stops discovering new processes, new ways to use color in both her glass and ceramic work. She has an eye for beauty over structure, although many of her pieces are exquisitely balanced sculptures. 

“I grew up surrounded by folk, modern, and ancient art, including the excavated blown glass from centuries ago, so when the chance to take up glassblowing presented itself, it was a no-brainer. Later, when ceramics came into the picture, it was again a very natural progression for me.”

“While working with glass, I aimed for beauty rather than perfection. If a piece is beautiful and appealing at any stage of its creation, I consider it complete. Currently, with clay, even a small dent in the piece I’m creating could lead to a completely new product: rather than focusing on the ‘destination’, I simply let the material guide me. It’s all about discovery.” 

Stretching her self-imposed boundaries, Donna Geist Busch explores her unexpected emotions and thought progressions, triggered by deep introspection. It’s a complex process, she says.

“I have often worked either representationally or in the abstract, even to the point that it hovers between the two. In this body of work, I wanted to open my mind even further and evoke more of the mystery and uncanniness of everyday reality with unreality, sometimes adding an element of the fantastic. Sigmund Freud’s theory stated that the unconscious mind is deeper than the conscious mind. When I began this series, I was intrigued with faces and expressions. I imagined how godlike some faces could be interpreted in my mind and in dreams. I believe a person’s dreams and inner thoughts define their individuality.

“This body of work represents my personal exploration of my painting process. I used a compilation of my emotions, inner thoughts, what I visually see and, at times, the unexpected. As an artist, I am always finding myself needing to stretch boundaries reuniting the unconscious with the conscious.”

By creating a show with a different perspective, these artists invite you to explore what you see, what you feel you are seeing, and what you imagine you might see within the work.

The artists’ reception on February 8 invites visitors to purchase a $2 raffle ticket for a chance to win a gift certificate worth $100 at the Bistro Café, located just a few doors up from Topanga Canyon Gallery. Purchasing a work of art during the reception entitles the buyer to additional raffle entries.


Real to Surreal: People/Places/Things runs February 6 through March 1. Reception: February 8, 4-7 p.m.

February Gallery Hours: Wednesday 2 p.m.– 6 p.m.; Thursday 11–6 p.m.; Friday 12–8 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m.– 6 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.–5 p.m. 

Topanga Canyon Gallery is an artist-owned mutual benefit corporation located at 120 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga CA 90290. For more information: (310) 455-7909;


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