In Her Element: Artist Vian Borchert Draws From Nature, Imagination

Photo | Vian Borchert Vian Borchert’s impressionistic landscapes and abstract expressionist paintings “are all derived from nature…and my imagination.”

Photo | Vian Borchert
Vian Borchert’s impressionistic landscapes and abstract expressionist paintings “are all derived from nature…and my imagination.”

Vian Borchert’s artistic leanings came as no surprise. “I attribute my natural talent to my genetic making,” said the expressionist painter. Not only is her mother an artist, but also, “everyone from her side of the family—sisters, cousins—are all very skilled artists.

“It’s almost like art chose me more than the other way around,” she observed, noting that her study of art history suggests that having the “art gene” is the case for many painters, including Pablo Picasso, whose father was an artist and art teacher, and Vincent van Gogh, whose uncle was an artist.

To Borchert’s recollection, she has “always” loved art and created it, and her talents were “evident to all who were around me. My family and even my childhood school—the principal and the art teachers—and my friends and relatives all encouraged me to pursue art.”

Born in Beirut, Lebanon, and bred in Amman, Jordan, Borchert moved to North Potomac with her family when she was a teenager. The graduate of Quince Orchard High School and the Corcoran College of Art & Design is showing 28 paintings she created in her Germantown home studio in the exhibit, “Abstract Imaginations,” through March 31 at The Framer’s Choice Gallery in Kentlands.

Prior to earning a bachelor of fine arts degree from the Corcoran in 1996, Borchert worked at the Phillips Collection and at the National Gallery of Art, “where I got to know firsthand the extensive and wonderful collection of art at these museums.” She also has worked as an interpreter (she speaks four languages) and in the finance industry.

Post-Corcoran, “since art is my first love, I decided to go back to my profession as a full-time working artist,” Borchert said. And since then, “I’ve been actively painting and exhibiting my art nationally and internationally in places such as Amman, Dubai, Manchester (UK), Art Basel Miami Beach, the United Nations in New York City and recently, in Rome, Italy.” Her greatest professional accomplishment so far, she said, occurred in 2007 when the National Gallery of Art in Amman, Jordan, acquired “Modern Girl,” one of her abstract figurative paintings.

Photo | Luna Borchert Vian Borchert shares her paintings, on display through March 31 at The Framer’s Choice Gallery.

Photo | Luna Borchert
Vian Borchert shares her paintings, on display through March 31 at The Framer’s Choice Gallery.

Borchert’s work has evolved. “I’ve gone through many phases,” she said. “My work primarily was mainly done in oil, and in the figurative and abstract style.” Now she works in acrylic, which she prefers “due to its versatility, and the fact that it is a water-soluble medium.” While her earlier work was “categorized in the expressionist figurative genre,” in 2015, she “decided to focus and do works from my environment and the nature that surrounds me.”

“Hence,” she added, The Framer’s Choice exhibit consists of “impressionistic landscape work and abstract expressionist paintings (that) are all derived from nature … and my imagination.” In the artist’s statement that accompanies the exhibit, Borchert wrote, “I consider each of my paintings a visual poem: a poem of love, a poem of hope, a poem of melancholy—poems that depict and capture the expression and the mood of the figure.”

Since Borchert believes “art education is essential in everyone’s life, (and that) through proper art education, people’s lives are changed for the better,” she also teaches adult classes in acrylic painting and drawing at the Arts Barn and in watercolor painting at the Yellow Barn Studio in Glen Echo Park. She teaches her students “to have love and enthusiasm for art. Because … without love and enthusiasm for art, nothing can be done—not only in art, but for everything. One has to have the drive, enthusiasm and interest to learn about art and the medium one is working with.”

Exhibiting her work is a source of great pride. “I love it when I see people gather in front of my artwork talking, analyzing and discussing the ins and outs, the lines and shapes of the piece,” Borchert said. “Sometimes I see people walking, then stopping, then coming close to the artwork, then going away, then coming back standing quietly looking carefully at the work. When I observe such behavior, I know the paintings have managed to do their work: capture the audience in an intellectual and thought-provoking way.”

“I value art highly, and value my vision as well,” her artist’s statement says. “I love when people appreciate my art because I put all my heart, mind and soul into creating art.”

As for the future, Borchert said, “My mind is always buzzing with ideas of where I would like my art to be. I would like to see my art on the walls of galleries and museums I admire such as MOMA, the Hirshhorn and The Whitney Museum of Art along with world-famous galleries such as Gagosian and world-famous exhibitions such as The Venice Biennale.”

“Good art,” Borchert declared, “can make the world a better and prettier place.”

Vian Shamounki Borchert’s “Abstract Imaginations,” a solo exhibit of her latest paintings, is at Framer’s Choice Gallery, 402 Main St., through March 31. Hours are weekdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call 301.987.8711 or visit theframerschoicegallery.com. For information on Borchert, visit www.vianborchert.com or Vian Borchert Fine Arts on Facebook.

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