Artist Topaz Peretz makes her U.S. debut with a multisensory ‘Enthralled’ exhibit in Costa Mesa
Artist and filmmaker Topaz Peretz, 23, jokes that she doesn’t know why most of her friends in Indonesia are royals, dignitaries and CEOs.
Those are just the types of circles she runs in, after her permanent gallery in the luxurious Hanging Gardens of Bali opened in March 2018.
Peretz had been hired to film a commercial for the Hanging Gardens, and she pointed out an open space in the hotel that would be a perfect place to display art. She brought in her paintings, and they liked them so much they reconstructed the area into a gallery for her work.
She recently made her U.S. debut with a one-night exhibition of her “Enthralled” collection of oil paintings at Costa Mesa’s KNWN UKNWN, hosted at Blue C Advertising.
Twelve of her canvasses were accompanied by 12 of her original piano compositions visitors could listen to through headphones placed next to the art. The other half of the collection still lines the Hanging Gardens.
“The show was about experiencing all the senses,” says Peretz, explaining that they sprayed parts of the room with lavender and other parts with lemongrass and invited DJ Marco Nova to play music. They also had food by chef RueDaBaker and whiskey from 10th Mountain Whiskey.
Peretz’s father is Israeli, her mother is Indonesian, and she was born in the suburbs of north London. She traveled a lot as a kid — and still does, as she has family in all three countries — so she’s always been exposed to a lot of different cultures.
“I’m a half Jewish, half Muslim woman who was put in Catholic school, because why not torture your children?” she jokes.
She moved to Los Angeles a couple of years ago to pursue film, a passion since childhood, but she hadn’t considered fine art as a vocation until the positive reaction to her Hanging Gardens gallery.
“Painting is free-form for me,” she says. “It’s more of an emotional explosion on the canvas. Often I don’t know what I’m painting until I’m halfway or two-thirds of the way done. And then all of a sudden, there’s this boom that comes from my unconscious.”
She’s inspired by nature and women, saying her paintings express her fascination with innocence and vulnerability.
“Wishful” is a painting of lips covered with flowers and bruises.
“To me, it’s about domestic violence,” she says. “The bruises are the abuse, and the flowers are the inner strength that allows you to get out of an abusive relationship, and it’s a painting of that in-between moment when you don’t know which one is going to win.”
“Enthralled,” the namesake of the collection, is of a nude dancer mid-motion.
“She has this force and strength, but she doesn’t have a stereotypical, skinny athlete’s body,” says Peretz. “In the first world, being naked is a vulnerable thing, but in my experience in Bali, being naked is a natural thing. It’s her essence … so to me, it’s a sense of family. It shows that you’re a part of my culture and we understand each other.”
She hopes to do more art shows in the U.S., but in the meantime she has two feature films in development, “Tainted,” an extension of her short film of the same name that tackles pedophilia, and “Dollhouse,” a psychological thriller she plans to shoot with an all-female crew.
For more information, visit topazperetz.com.
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