Ariana Papademetropoulos’ art is a parallel universe


Name: Ariana Papademetropoulos

Age: 30

Hometown: Pasadena, California

Currently lives: In a three-story Victorian house in the Mount Washington section of Los Angeles that she shares with musician John Carroll Kirby.

Claim to fame: Ms. Papademetropoulos is a painter whose large-scale hyperrealist work offers a window onto parallel universes. His complex renderings of abandoned interior spaces; massive opalescent soap bubbles resembling alien planets; and even the occasional pegasus have been exhibited at the Vito Schnabel Gallery in New York and Soft Opening in London. “I am very inspired by the pursuit of beauty in the unknown while being based on reality,” she said.

Big cut: From an early age, Mrs. Papademetropoulos was fascinated by seashells and other natural wonders in iridescent colors. “The paintings got bigger, but the subjects were always the same,” she said.

After attending Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (“I was very rebellious,” she said), she began working for her “mentor,” Noah Davis, the influential figurative painter who died in Paris. ‘cancer in 2015 at age 32, and enrolled at the California Institute of the Arts, where she received a BFA in 2012.

His debut in the art world took place in 2010, when his work was included in a group exhibition organized by Mr. Davis at Roberts Projects in Los Angeles. “Working for Noah has been one of the biggest influences in my life,” she said.

Latest project: “The Emerald Tablet,” a solo exhibition of new works by Ms. Papademetropoulos, which is on view at Jeffrey Deitch Los Angeles until October 23. The exhibit is loosely based on a theosophistic reading of Frank Baum’s “The Wizard of Oz” and includes a mind-boggling selection of works by Beck and the occultist Marjorie Cameron. “The show is about Los Angeles as a place to create your own reality – a place of self-discovery,” she said.

Next thing: She can’t reveal much, but she plans to build a modern nymphaeum in Florence, Italy, a natural cave dedicated to nymphs used by ancient Greeks and Romans. “I’m really interested in using architecture to create a trip,” she said.

Life imitates art: Like her paintings, Ms. Papademetropoulos’ personal life borders on the surrealist. Last December, she spent three weeks as a guest in a lavish 18th-century Sicilian villa owned by Princess Vittoria Alliata di Villafranca, an eccentric 71-year-old descendant of one of Italy’s oldest noble families. “The house is almost built like a facility,” she said. “Each wall is painted a different color and each room educates you in one way or another.”


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