Artist shares a 'sense of wonder at the ordinary'
Posted Sunday, April 11, 2004 - 1:57 am
By Ann Hicks
As he reflects on his first solo exhibit at Hampton III Gallery, painter David Yaghjian says, "Mostly what I paint is what's around me."
To be more precise, the 24-piece show — all acrylic with the exception of one watercolor — is the Columbia-based painter's view of everyday landscapes, seen through urban eyes.
As Yaghjian sweeps his color-laden brush with angular motions and intersecting lines, the viewer is taken on a ride through cityscapes and along superhighways, to public buildings and private dwellings, and is asked to linger at a taxi stand and sit in a little neighborhood diner.
The trip is at once starkly familiar and strangely enigmatic.
"I swing back and forth," Yaghjian says.
"What you see (in the pictures) is my multiple personalities. Over the years, I have tried not to paint. I have tried to have an honest profession like carpentry or picture framing, but each time I went away from painting I found my life intolerable."
Yaghjian's inner portraits seem to agree with the French painter Paul Cezanne's observation that "the painter must enclose himself within his work."
As Yaghjian describes it, "I am an ordinary person and what I paint are ordinary things and when I paint them they give me a feeling of calmness."
Yaghjian studied in 1967 at the Art Students League and the School of Visual Arts, both in New York City. Later, in 1970, he earned his undergraduate degree in art from Amherst College.
"What I found important to me about painting is the act of painting," he says, "what it gives to me and what I hope I embed in the work and pass on to those who look at it and those who come to own it."
And, he adds, he hopes to share "that same sense of wonder at the ordinary world."