Marissa Soroudi: Cycle of Timelessness

By Lisa Paul Streitfeld


Marissa Soroudi’s pursuit of unity in her art reflects her personal evolution as an artist driven by a pursuit of the primordial. The early focus of her camera lens on the emerging face of the feminine faces reflected society’s fascination with sur/face, particularly when the material is the burka. Yet, in pursuing a penetration of the veil in her art, the unexpected entered via an exploration of personal origins; her images revealed the veil as boundary between primordial being and the world. In defining the boundary between personal and culture, the artist’s evolution demanded smashing it.


The narrowing of Soroudi’s lens to penetrate the veils surrounding the authentic feminine then widened to anticipate the current “transgender moment” by depicting the bipolar energies within the body in Showgirls. This pursuit of the tension of yin/yang in the body ultimately documented the transformations of her own sur/face through various shamanic traditions during her global travels.


Clearly, through all her penetrations into the primordial, Soroudi has been on a trajectory of the Real. What is Real is not derived through the conceptual approach to creation — as Athena born from the head of Zeus — which continues to dominate the art world. Soroudi’s authenticity as a feminine (as opposed to “feminist”) artist is born from her attraction to the primordial and an intuitive understanding of the cycles of life/death/rebirth. Indeed, she seems to thrive on the tension between desire/attraction to enter the ambiguous space of Uncertainty. Penetrating below the surface, she contrasts with an art world reflecting a society under the thrall of superficial change: fame in the realm of the spirit and plastic surgery in the physical body.


In Soroudi’s art and life, sur/faces are continually evolving and changing through a deep interaction with natural materials. Breathing life into her formations of human/nature requires a probing into the sub/stance of the interior. It is here, in this ambiguous realm where the opposites are held in tension, the artist reaches the epitome of her pursuit. The technical feat of actually creating hand-blown glass in the female form is incredible, for what appears to be empty is actually filled. Psyche is the breath and breath is spirit. These hand blown shapely “vessels” literally contain the spirit of an artist who speaks of the necessity for an authentic hands-on encounter with her work.


This fullness of the feminine in space has been so difficult to name precisely because it is invisible. We might call her iconic figures goddesses of a new paradigm of interconnectedness with nature. Look at me! They insist on attracting the viewer’s gaze to penetrate through them–and reflect the viewer. How very clever of an escape from the “male gaze” – simply become transparent so when they confront the spirit of the feminine, they can only see a projection of their higher selves! The superficial interest in geometrical perfection is making the surgically reconstructed female body homogenized on a cookie-cutter production line. Yet, Soroudi’s figures remind us that the feminine is in continual motion, flowing in and outward, up and down, in and out – like the tide itself. How appropriate that these figures in their stillness reflect the movement of the tides and the invigorating light of the sun, the source of life!


The glass figures evolved from the primal Why Beautiful Being Do You Shun Me? These shiny human trunks are firmly grounded in the tree trunk as a base. The artist proclaims that her intent with manufacturing tushes into polished surfaces was to depict society obsessed with physical perfection as a reflection of sur/face. Yet, her triumph is inadvertently revealing the occult river of gold, the quintessence flowing upwards from the seat of the Kundalini at the base of the spinal column.


Soroudi is boldly proclaiming a new theme for art –- the raising of the primal force known as the serpent power through the body. And it is about time an artist informs her materials with this knowledge, considering it is the pursuit underlying the widespread popularity of yoga practice. These latest sculpted works represent a universal icon– a female deity filled with the bipolar spirit. Here we can trace the origins in the artist’s personal sub/mersion in the stripper lifestyle brought to sur/face in Showgirls. The opposite poles merge: heaven filling the vessel through the breath molding the feminine form through sand, the earthly sub/stance of glass. These alluring glass figures lure the viewer/participant into their transparent interiors; and yet the images of them arising from the break of the wave is a bold new expression of Venus as the emerging Aquarian Water Bearer.


There is a cycle at work in Soroudi that is both about time in space and the timeless of space. Her holistic reflection of the feminine has been achieved in her transparent glass figures reflecting the sub/stance of the gravitational pull of the Moon in the tides. Far from being derived, like Aphrodite, from the head, the sub/stantial nature of these dynamic vessels arises from the holistic embodiment in the spirit/matter of the very hands that made them.