Cindy Macias

On Fri., Feb. 14, during Zachary Aronson’s first solo show at the Stay Gallery, he uses torches to draw with fire to create what is called pyrography. “I recognize and celebrate the imperfections in the wood and in the people burnt into the wood,” Aronson said.

Serene Gallardo , Community Section Editor

On Fri., Feb. 14, Stay Gallery on Downey Ave. opened its latest exhibit: “Pyrographs” by Zachary Aronson. One of the first larger scale medium art exhibits up in the gallery, it is a display of planks of wood, burned and scattered with the fiery remnants to leave the imprint of a portrait.

Aronson showcases portraits of people in their different natural states – people in anguish, surprise, and other raw emotions – through burning imprints into large planks of wood, representing the natural rawness of humanity. Not only that, but just as nature within itself has its own unique beauty, so does each individual; that is to say, Aronson attempts to capture every person’s individuality through his portraits.

“The wood grain and the natural patterns in the wood are all unique, as are the people I burn into them,” Aronson said. “The wood grain dictates what images I choose to depict in my art.  This connection to a universal materiality is central to the issues I explore in my artistic process.”

Stay Gallery is typically a host to smaller artworks. Aronson’s art is created upon larger mediums, so this is the first larger scale medium art the gallery has seen, says creative director Gabriel Enamorado.

“I think this is amazing,” Enamorado said. “It’s different as opposed to everything else we’ve had here.”

The public has reacted positively to the exhibit. On opening day, visitors stood in awe after setting sight on Aronson’s displays. The event went well, and larger pieces tend to cater more towards the locals in Downey who frequent Stay Gallery, according to executive director Valentin Flores.

“People seem to like the whole big medium art thing,” Flores said, “and it is pretty cool.”

This is the first the gallery has seen of this sort of work, but rest assured it is not the last. As for Aronson, he continues to work on his “pyrographs,” further exhibiting more of his work at a California Institute of Art gallery.