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Juxtaposition: Contemporary Armenian Artists

September 5-14, 2013
For Immediate Release
Contact: Tamar Gasparian
Juxtaposition: Contemporary Armenian Artists is the 63rd annual exhibition organized by the New York branch of the Armenian Students’ Association (New York ASA). Best known for its famed Artists’ Ball, this year the organization is taking the art exhibit to a new level by giving Armenian artists a unique opportunity to show their works at Denise Bibro Fine Art (DBFA), one of Chelsea’s most established galleries. While in years past the exhibit lasted for only a weekend, this year’s exhibition will be extended to almost two weeks, running from September 5th to 14th. It is curated by DBFA and Tamar Gasparian and features the works of 13 contemporary artists of Armenian descent as follows: Eozen Agopian; Gagik Aroutiunian; Arne Balassanian; Nora Chavooshian; Linda Ganjian; Christopher Gasparian; David Kareyan; Susan Kirby; Sassoon Kosian; Alex Lerian; Yevgine Martirosyan; Arthur Sarkissian; and Judith Simonian.
Juxtaposition helps one to understand that the shared Armenian roots of its creating artists are not the only things these artworks have in common.
On the one hand, juxtaposition of works done in various techniques and mediums emphasizes the differences between the works and highlights qualities and details that otherwise may have been missed. On the other hand, the works of contemporary Armenian artists are juxtaposed to the contemporary art at large, allowing collectors and critics to see and appreciate the uniqueness of each work included in the exhibition. There is also a contrast of generations, placing works of established artists like Kareyan, Sarkissian and Simonian next to works by emerging artists like Balassanian, Lerian and Gasparian.
Simonian’s ability to place two colorful scenes and mixing abstraction with representation in one painting in an organic way that doesn’t confuse the viewer is one of the unique aspects of her work. Lerian slightly does the same with color and abstraction alone; letting islands of colors bleed into each other yet stand out on the surface of the canvas. Distortion of a completely different kind is also present in the works of Balassanian and Gasparian. In his pixelated portraits of celebrities like Uma Thurman, Balassanian makes distortion very pleasant to gaze at. In a contrast, Gasparian’s Left Behind made of twisted wires and plaster is very sharp and not easy to look at. Yet, both artists are very successful in portraying human emotion and contemporary man’s quest to bear the unbearable.
Kareyan, the only artist in the group exhibiting posthumously (as he passed away in 2011) was one of the key figures in contemporary Armenian art. Two of the 23 paintings from the New Locality project are presented at the exhibition. Kareyan once wrote, “the New Locality project is intended to expose the identity of contemporary man in the era of cultural globalization, technological revolution and biological distortion.”  In some way, this is also true about the works of other artists in this exhibition.
Generated via computer, the animation-like house in Kareyan’s Long Blue contrasts Aroutiunian’s meticulously constructed House of Memories. Also, while Agopian’s threaded canvas called This Time is very different from Ganjian’s Glimpses from a Queens Commute (an installation of giclee prints based on marker/ink drawings, mounted on painted boxes), the rhythm of lines and presence of intense labor in each piece bring all these works together in a manner that one may notice only upon close observation.
Contemporary man’s search continues in the paintings of Sarkissian, where layers of past appear in the form of historic buildings, manuscripts and old photographs, as well as Kirby’s collages, where the ghost like figures in black are rising on a background made of map pieces that look as ancient as the wheel in front.
Done with a completely different technique, the love for color and devotion to detail draw attention to the works of Kosian, Chavooshian and Martirosyan. While one will be carried away by Martirosyan’s Blue World and captivated by Kosian’s Mysterious Objects of Fascination, one may circle around Chavooshian’s Safe studying the lines and flaws that make up the texture of this stunning sculpture.
There is so much more to see and learn about each artwork included in the show, hence we encourage you not to miss this unique exhibition.
A portion of proceeds from all art sales during the exhibition will benefit Friends of Warm Hearth, the only group home in Armenia providing holistic care for orphans with disabilities. For more information, please refer to the organization’s website: www.friendsofwarmhearth.org.
DBFA will mark the opening of Chelsea galleries’ fall season with a reception on September 5th from 6-9 pm. In addition, on September 7th from 5-7 pm, a private reception and live painting event will take place at the gallery hosted by the New York ASA and Friends of Warm Hearth. Proceeds from all ticket sales for the private reception will also benefit Warm Hearth. With each ticket purchase, patrons will receive a raffle ticket and enter the chance to win one of many prizes generously provided by supporters such as Almayass Restaurant, Alex and Ani, Lady Armenia Necklace, Zorah Wines, Hayko Fine Rugs, Michael Aram, Harvest Song and Planet Cake Janette. DBFA is located at 529 West 20th Street, 4W in the Chelsea area of Manhattan.
An after-party will be held at Almayass Restaurant beginning at 9 pm. Almayass is located at 24 East 21stStreet in Manhattan.
The New York ASA is a not-for-profit, 501c3 organization and all donations are 100% tax deductible. For more information and to purchase tickets to the private reception, please visit www.asainc.org.

New York ASA [newyorkasa@asainc.org] 

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