Embrace: A solo exhibition of paintings and drawings by Robyn Friend

10 September 2022 to 12 January 2023, at Grand Street Arts, San Pedro, California

Embrace” is my exploration of the magic that I drive from the dance of Argentine tango.  I aim to bring to the viewer the exquisite sensation that makes this dance so addicting to its practitioners, and why it has become for many an almost spiritual practice.  For me, the true magic of tango is something that can only be felt, a communication between the partners that transcends words, that lies not in the steps but in the embrace found in the arms of another human being, the entrusting of one’s body to another, who may be a complete stranger.  Dancing heart-to-heart, following one another’s improvisations and responses, can bring great joy, and involves risk taking, making it both exciting and rewarding.  When the embrace is right, what a pleasure it can be to dance to some of the most beautiful and romantic music on Earth!

In gratitude, I would like to acknowledge the photographers whose brilliant work has inspired this collection: Annie Appel, Nadya Balitskaya, Laura Mingo, Yelizaveta Nersesova, and Lev Tsimring.  My appreciation also goes to Annie Appel and Silvia Askenazi for hosting this exhibition, and to Zhenya Gershman for her advice and encouragement.

High-quality 90%-sized prints, on either paper or canvas, are available of the oil paintings.

About the Artist:  Robyn Friend is a California-born artist, dancer, and linguist.  She began studying painting with Leona Wood in 1985, and, after a 20-year break, continued her studies with Zhenya Gershman, starting in late 2018.

She has become one of the most highly regarded performers and teachers of Persian Classical and Iranian regional dance in the world.  Robyn has performed as a soloist in venues from the Registan of Samarkand, the Edinburgh Festival, to Los Angeles’ own Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.  Her love of the Persian language has led her both to a Ph.D. in Iranian linguistics, and a passion for traditional dance and costume of regional and historical Iran and Central Asia.  This show combines her passion for both painting and dancing.

La Milonguita, oil on canvas, 18 x 24”

Paciencia: Portrait of Annie Appel, oil on canvas, 20 x 16”

Manley and Flo, oil on canvas, 16 x 16”

Vincent & Maria Elena, oil on canvas, 24 x 24”

La Tanguera de Oro, oil on canvas, 18 x 36”

Milonga Porteña de Tango San Pedro, oil on canvas, 18 x 36”

Jesse and Ola, oil on canvas, 24 x 18”

The Old Milongueros, charcoal on red paper, 25.5 x 19.75”

El Abrazo, charcoal on paper, 15 x 22.5”

Zack and Debbie, pastel on paper, 16 x 21.75”

Carlos Gardel y Mona Maris, charcoal on paper, 22.5 x 15.75”

Ranthambore Tiger Preserve, Rajasthan, India, oil on canvas, 18 x 36″

(back to Artwork by Robyn)