Artist Evany Zirul spent almost half her life working in the operating room.
The 66-year-old worked as a head and neck surgeon for 30 years, but it was her passion for art that inspired the creation of dozens of drawings and sculptures.
Zirul’s work, titled “Life in Lines,” is currently on display at the Merced College Art Gallery.
"I would spend hours in surgery, but I’ve done art all those years," Zirul said.
After retiring from the medical field four years ago, Zirul devoted all her time to perfecting her craft.
Using welded coat hangers, Zirul creates sculptures of people, usually dancers, They include intricate details such as individual strands of hair. "I was inspired by dancers, watching people,” Zirul said of the sculptures. "I love working on people. I draw people and watch people."
Zirul has created 11 wire sculptures and is working on her 12th one.
They range in price from $500 to $2,500 and take two to five months to complete.
Merced resident Ruben Sanchez, 60, stopped by the gallery Wednesday night.
An artist himself, he said he walked away inspired by Zirul's work. "Her work is humorous and she doesn’t hold back in her feelings,” Sanchez said. “Nobody would think that using a coat hanger could be so creative."
Merced College art student Humberto Maldonado, 20, said the exhibit helped him realize he could also achieve his goals. "It inspires me because it shows I can do something like this,” Maldonado said. “You have to have a lot of patience for it. Everything is well put together and connected."
Zirul said she considers herself fortunate to work on her art full-time and has no regrets.
"If you fail at something, you could at least say you tried," Zirul said. "I've had a great life and I’m very lucky. I’m having fun."
Zirul’s drawings and sculptures will be on display at the Merced College Art Gallery until Sept. 5.
Reporter Ramona Giwargis can be reached at (209) 385-2477 or firstname.lastname@example.org.