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Three-Dimensional Works Are a New Chapter in Artist's Career

February 02, 1992|G. BRUCE SMITH | Smith is a Thousand Oaks writer.

Aside from the Smithsonian and the Getty, Toparovsky's books are in more than 30 museums and private collections throughout the world, including the Metropolitan Museum in New York, National Museum of Modern Art in Canberra, Australia and Artworks Gallery in Los Angeles.

Toparovsky has not only been busy in the studio, but has taught and lectured throughout the country, done consulting work and received awards and honors, including seven grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Despite his success in the field, he started to feel restless about his work. In 1985, after what he described as a series of "wild dreams" and other developments in his life, he made his decision.

"I guess I consciously ended thinking about fitting my artwork into book format after completing a few sets of multiple originals that two of my dealers wanted me to do," he said. "It suddenly dawned on me that I was punishing myself by having a feeling of devotion to this medium, that it wasn't working for me anymore and I was forcing it because I had made such an investment over time. Finally I just stopped. I felt it was what I had to do."

Actually, Toparovsky hasn't completely given up his book art. In the ensuing years, he has created a few books and he teaches the craft at the Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design in Los Angeles. But most of his attention has been focused on his new body of work.

In 1990, Toparovsky received his first opportunity to publicly display his new work. He received a grant from the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department to design, fabricate and install a permanent public artwork, "La Reina de Los Angeles," on the east wall of Otis/Parsons' North Gallery, located at MacArthur Park in Los Angeles.

He believes that the theme of his show at Frumkin--"Abundance and Yearning"--is a good description of his own artistic transition.

"The human condition is about yearning--we're all yearning, we're all seeking," he said. "And abundance is a natural state, it's all here. If we're focused and taking responsibility for ourselves, it's easy to see that abundance is a natural state.

"The work has continued to grow and change," he added. "I don't know what I'm going to do next. But I do know that it's really important for me not to limit myself to what I can imagine at the moment."

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