Succulence at 2525 °F

“On a beautiful southern California afternoon in April of 2011, Khachik Khachatouryan visited the Huntington Botanical Gardens for restorative purposes. He had been working non-stop on a large sculptural commission and needed a studio break.

Khachatouryan had been thinking about exploring ways to meld nature, art, and architecture into work that would freshen the spirits of people who spend a good portion of their daily lives communing with electronic devices in hermetically-sealed air conditioned buildings of concrete and steel. Though born in Armenia, the academically trained sculptor carries a bit of 19th century American Transcendentalism in his soul. Like Emerson and Thoreau, he believes that a disconnection from nature destroys self-reliance, corrupts society, and erodes the potential of humans.

While strolling, brooding, and musing his way through the desert garden exhibition, he was attracted to the thriving self-sufficient succulents that surrounded him. Their organic forms and shared history of surviving centuries of calamities seemed to provide visual reminders that connecting with the natural world is psychologically and emotionally beneficial.

The result of this insight is this series of over-sized, highly polished, fully realized sculptures that reflect the clear vision and unobstructed path of a thoughtful peripatetic artist.”

Susan Hillhouse
Curator of Art Exhibitions and Collections
San Jose Museum of Art