As she held the hands of friends and loved ones around her exhibition “Retrospective,” Michele Boyer smiled.
“It’s unusual to be in a shopping mall and not a gallery,” she said, laughing.
Officially opened to the public on Saturday, Boyer’s exhibition is on the second level of the Westfield Valencia Shopping Center, next to House of Bounce and LensCrafters, with 10 of her sculptures on display. Made from marble or bronze, each of her artworks reflects natural or everyday objects, from leaves to books. Others, however, captured human figures enveloped in each other, namely in her series of works called “We Two.”
“You see they’re figures of two people without features,” she said. “You don’t know what their faces are like, but I think you can get the art by the form and the figure and the idea of the bodies.”
Boyer’s passion for art began in the 1960s, when she danced in Los Angeles and Las Vegas for live shows, television and movies. Every summer for three decades, though, she would travel to Pietrasanta, Italy, to rent space in a marble-carving studio. In the years since her first exhibition in 1986, she’s sold several of her sculptures to collectors, including Zsa Zsa Gabor.
“I have done a lot of traditional work,” Boyer said. “Busts of people, realistic of things and then I deviate it. I began to get tired of doing realism because as an artist, as you develop, you begin to have abstract thinking. So a lot of this is just the abstract thinking. All of the work is a variety and I have a lot more.”
She’s since undergone a shift toward painting. Boyer also attends the Emeritus College at Santa Monica College, where she’s studied and plans to have two of her paintings on display at an upcoming show. With that in mind, she hopes her paintings will appear in Santa Clarita one day.
Given her lifelong ambition for art, Boyer said she doesn’t let her age factor in to how people look at her and her creations. She felt fortunate for having the energy and the drive to fashion works of art.
“People, unfortunately, judge people by the year,” she said. “They don’t judge people by who they are or how they act, how they think, what they do for a living.”
Santa Clarita resident Sharon Kline stopped by with her husband Daniel and their great grandson Rylan to see the sculptures. Kline also happened to be Boyer’s niece.
“She works really hard on her stuff,” she said.
Kline said her aunt’s work has the chance to be a motivator for other seniors to not shy away from different kinds of activities, including using their creativity for communities such as Santa Clarita.
“You should always do things no matter what your age,” Kline said. “Don’t just sit on a rocking chair on your porch.”