Iconographer Irene Pérez
Originally from Venezuela, iconographer Irene Pérez lives in Austin, Texas. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art from The University of Texas at Austin in 1989, graduated from the St. Stephen’s Certificate Program of the Antiochian House of studies in 2014 and received an MA in Applied Orthodox Theology with a specialization in Iconology from Balamand University in 2016.
Irene has worked in a variety of media, including drawing, oil painting, stone and glass sculpture, mixed media pieces, installations, print making, and since 1997, Byzantine iconography. She currently teaches iconography workshops, holds regular weekly classes in her studio in Austin.
Exhibitions of her work can be seen in Texas, New Mexico, California, Colorado, Washington D.C., the U.K., and Mexico. Her works are included in private collections in the U.S. (Texas, New Mexico, California, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi), England, Spain, Finland, Philippines, Australia, Malta, Guatemala, Mexico and Venezuela.
Irene studied iconography under Vladislav Andrejev for 18 years, and took workhops with Anton and Iulia Belov. She has taken classes in egg-tempera painting and manuscript and miniature illumination. She currently dedicates herself to the study and practice of iconography, writing icons for private and church commissions, and teaching iconography workshops in the U.S. and abroad.
The main focus of Irene’s artwork prior to her study of iconography encompassed the use of both Christian and Eastern symbols to express the stages and different aspects of her spiritual journey, her search for spiritual knowledge, truth and God. This interest guided her to the study of iconography, which uses a system of symbolic language to reveal the Truth expressed in the Gospels and the Orthodox Christian Faith. This was a natural evolution from Irene’s earlier work. Instead of continuing to develop a personal symbolic language, Irene found in iconography a perfectly developed and universal symbolic language that revealed the truth about God and was more accessible than any system of personal symbolic language one single artist could devise. The practice of icon-writing is a form of contemplation, meditation and prayer which extends beyond the studio to every aspect of the iconographer’s life. It is a liturgical art form, which leads to a liturgical way of life.