ANAIT (Ana´t Arutunoff Stephens)

1922 - 1998

OBITUARY by Rebecca Deem

Ana´t Arutunoff Stephens, a pioneer figure in art holography lost her battle with cancer of the gastrointestinal system, on August 21, 1998.

She trained in the visual arts and established herself as a sculptor and installation artist prior to taking up holography in 1970 at the San Francisco School of Holography under Lloyd Cross. Her work with plastic resins, light and illusions in the 60's led her to holography where she became one of the first artists to explore it as an art medium. In 1976 she began touring her work for three years in art venues as the first solo exhibition of reflection holograms "Theme and Variation". Her work continues to be shown in art galleries, museums and major holography exhibitions throughout the world.

Ana´t explored a variety of hologrphic techniques making her mark early in "Multiplex" or holographic stereograms that she produced with Cross. Her work resulted in some of the most well conceived stereograms of the period including "Space Graffiti" a much appreciated signature piece. She called these holograms Holodeons;   many are in the private collection of Salvador Dali.

She developed her own cw laser laboratory where she created the major body of her early work as reflection holograms. These include monotype, small-scale holograms dealing with her fascination for the peudoscopic image, where she successfully portrays its unique qualities through her work with simple geometrics. During this period she began to use content, concept and presentation to turn what appeared to many as technically unsuccessful holograms into memorable works of art. Works from this period also include "Sphere and Collage". Her large-scale works like "Aurora" are some of her best rainbow holograms and echo back to her earlier concerns with light and atmosphere.

Ana´t was also one of the first artists to own and operate a pulse ruby laser. In her typical exploratory fashion she made pulse holograms of a variety of materials including subjects she turned into some of her best later works like "Water Lilies - after Monet".

She made most of her holograms herself until the past three years when she collaborated, creating full color reflection holograms, which include the stars and stripes flag, with Hans Bjelkhagen. Over the past ten years she gave away her equipment to educational institutions throughout the US including: the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at M.I.T. which received a 10-Joule pulsed ruby laser, the Center for Photonics Studies at Lake Forest College which received a 1-Joule pulsed ruby laser and Saint Mary's College which received cw lase r equipment. She was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Art and Holography2 Symposium in 1996.

She is survived by her husband of 57 years Ralph Stephens, a daughter Kyra Stephens Gebhardt of Tulsa, OK, a son Randolph Stephens of Reno, NV and two brothers Sergei and Anatoly Arutunoff of Bartlesville and Tulsa, OK, respectively.

by Rebecca Deem
for Holography News