Charles Garabedian

October 19 - November 25, 2006

Press Release

Recent Paintings

October 19 –November 25, 2006

Opening, Thursday 6-8 PM, October 19

To look at Charles Garabedian’s paintings you’d never guess him to be a man of 83. There’s a wide-eyed exuberance to his work, a sense of wonder at the vast arc of the history we all share, and the glory of women, that bespeak youth and the excitement of a life just beginning. A vivid colorist who favors a sun-kissed palette evocative of Matisse – who shared his affinity with the Mediterranean – Garabedian conjures a world that’s brazenly erotic and very much of the earth. 

Kristine McKenna, from the catalogue accompanying this exhibition.

On Thursday, October 19, 2006, Betty Cuningham Gallery will open an exhibition of the recent paintings by Charles Garabedian.   The exhibition, Garabedian’s second in the Cuningham space, will include 10 large, figurative paintings, 9 on paper and l on canvas.

The works on paper are narrative in style stretching scroll-like across the gallery walls. Air Raid is 269 ¾ inches long, Ophelia, 125 7/8 inches long.  Sometimes the narrative is pieced together from separate sheets of paper. Ophelia, in the story of her drowning, is fragmented horizontally onto seven sheets.  Adam and Eve, divided onto six sheets has the appearance of two separate scrolls hanging side by side, vertically dividing the two figures.

Born in 1923 in Detroit, where he was orphaned at the age of two, Garabedian moved to L.A. in 1932 and has basically lived there ever since.  He took up painting in his thirties thanks to such artists as Bob Irwin and Ed Moses. He attended UCLA at the suggestion of Moses, and exhibited with the group at the Ceeje Gallery.  Garabedian is known for his personal style, his fanciful, mythical dreamscapes with mutant figures and a stream of consciousness narrative.  In Kristine McKenna’s interview in the catalogue, Garabedian touches upon his own Armenian heritage:

I believe in the idea of a collective unconscious, so I think that has a lot to do with it. When I first encountered The Iliad, and Greece, and Armenian manuscripts, I immediately felt at home with them. I’ve always loved Baja California, and there are parts of Armenia that look exactly like that.

Works by Charles Garabedian can be seen in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, NY, as well as the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Los Angeles Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA, among others.

Garabedian has an extensive exhibition history including: The Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial 1975, 1985; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art 1976; Venice Biennale 1976, 1982, 1984; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, 1984; Brooklyn Museum of Art, NY, 1989; and the Corcoran Biennial, Washington, DC 1993.  Awards include: The National Endowment for the Art Fellowship, 1977; John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, 1979; The American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, 2000