Friday, July 11, 2008

Artist's Statement: David Yaghjian

Motel Pool, 2007
Acrylic on canvas
18 x 18 in
$ 1,600

My artist statements need to be written in disappearing ink or constructed in files that delete themselves in a few days as they almost always seem embarrassing and obsolete in about that amount of time. (And its not that the succeeding ones improve on what’s gone before…) But anyway, I paint because I have to. Painting may not keep me sane, but it points me in that direction and gives me temporary relief.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Biography: David Yaghjian

David Yaghjian (b. 1948)

Columbia, S.C., native and resident David Yaghjian has exhibited across the Carolinas, including Blue Spiral I Gallery in Asheville, N.C., the Florence (S.C.) Museum of Art, Gallery 80808 and Morris Gallery in Columbia and Hampton III Gallery in Greenville, S.C. In Atlanta, where he used to live, Yaghjian has shown in the Spruill Center Gallery, the Right Brain Gallery and other venues. He also painted two murals in the Georgia capital. Yaghjian holds a BA from Massachussetts’ Amherst College and studied in New York City at the Art Students League and the School of Visual Art. Among his instructors were Fairfield Porter, Leonard Baskin, Will Barnett and Chaim Koppelman.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Essay: David Yaghjian

Out Of The Lawn Chair, Into The Pool, 2007
Oil on canvas
30 x 20 in
$ 2,400

If David Yaghjian is having a mid-life crisis, he isn’t sweating it. He’s running with it, belly and all, juggling snakes, balancing a woman, shouting, dancing with a bull, dragging lawn chairs, serenading his dog with a fiddle and generally balancing the circus act that is life. “Mostly what I paint is around me,” Yaghjian has said, which suggests the man’s existence is eventful.

Mind you, that comment was about his architectural and street-scene paintings, not about his recent body of figurative work with an existential bent. But it could have been; the new work is about a middle-aged Everyman, who resembles Yaghjian, and whose trials and tribulations he catches in symbolic and metaphorical, psychologically pregnant scenes.

The work seems quite the departure from the sometimes austere, formal architectural paintings for which Yaghjian is known. But many of those paintings include life beyond the buildings, including a human presence, albeit often not the human figure itself. Still, the figure has never been absent from Yaghjian’s body of work. A man snoozing at night in a recliner with nothing on but the TV, another man with a vacant look sitting in his car – they were part of Yaghjian’s work well before his Everyman paintings.

“I remember as a child drawing a picture of a radio personality, the ‘story lady’,” Yaghjian says, “reaching into my imagination to discover the setting and the person inhabiting it. For years, imagination and memories were the subjects of my work, interspersed with the odd portrait. Then I painted houses and highways, large planes of light and color.”

The old and new figure paintings are slices of life, sometimes as straight narrative, sometimes as mental state, always with existential angst. The new work is different, though. It’s uninhibited both in subject matter and execution.

Yaghjian exposes himself and humanity in more ways than simply shedding his shirt, which Everyman seems prone to. Making a mockery of vanity, he shamelessly creates scenes that are at best wacky and potentially embarrassing. But Yaghjian doesn’t appear embarrassed; it’s the vicarious embarrassment viewers might sense as they look at the work with hesitation, discomfort and a smile that makes them wonder whether Yaghjian is holding up a mirror. He is, albeit with humor, endearment and humanity – and solidarity; the mirror goes both ways.

The Everyman paintings, which Yaghjian begun late 2004, are loosely executed in fast but sure renderings that stand in contrast to many of his meticulous architectural paintings. That’s also true for his work in the current show, all monotypes. After painting with acrylics for 30 years, Yaghjian turned to oils, which brought him, he says, “an almost irrepressible joy.” His Everyman work suggests this newfound joy in painting has transferred to other media.

“Painting may not keep me sane,” Yaghjian says, “but it points me in that direction and gives me temporary relief.”

Wim Roefs, 2007

Old White Man, 2007
Oil on canvas
14 x 11 in
$ 960

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Resume: David Yaghjian

Bull Rider, 2007
Acrylic on paper
28 x 22 in
$ 960

DAVID H. YAGHJIAN (born 1948)

B.A. 1970 Amherst College
Art Students League, NYC, 1967
School of Visual Arts, NYC, 1967

Hampton III Gallery, Greenville, South Carolina, 2004
Morris Gallery, Columbia, South Carolina, 2000
Morris Gallery, Columbia, South Carolina, 1993
Morris Gallery, Columbia, South Carolina, 1992
Weekend Gallery, Columbia, South Carolina, 1985
Tryon Fine Arts Center, Tryon, North Carolina, 1980

King Snake Press, Ten Years After, Greenville County Museum of Art, June/July 2008, Greenville, SC
20th Anniversary Exhibition, South Carolina State Museum, April 2008, Columbia, SC
The Inventory, if ART Gallery, February 2008, Columbia, SC
Chesley, Williams, Wimberly, Yaghjian, Gallery 80808, January 2008, Columbia, SC
The Mark B. Coplan Collection of Art, South Carolina State Museum, Columbia, SC, October 2007-March 08
Hub City, Spartanburg Co. Museum of Art, Spartanburg, SC, May 2007
David and Edmund Yaghjian, If ART Gallery, Columbia, SC April 2007
Studio Visits, Greenville County Museum of Art, Greenville, SC, April 2007
2007 NBSC Oil Painters’ Open Invitational, Sumter County Gallery of Art, February 2007,Sumter, SC
Chesley, Williams, Wimberly,Yaghjian, Gallery 80808, February 2007, Columbia, SC
Chesley, Williams, Wimberly,Yaghjian, Gallery 80808, February 2006, Columbia, SC
28th NBSC Oil Painters’ Open Invitational, Sumter County Gallery of Art, February 2006, Sumter, SC
Columbia Contemporary II, Columbia College, May 2005, Columbia, SC
Chesley, Williams, Wimberly,Yaghjian, Gallery 80808, February 2005, Columbia SC
CVA Invitational, Columbia College, February 2004, Columbia, SC,
Chesley, Williams,Wimberly,Yaghjian, Gallery 80808, January 2004, Columbia, SC
Chesley, Williams,Wimberly,Yaghjian , Gallery 80808, January 2003, Columbia, SC
Columbia Visual Artists: “Loci- A Sense of Place”, 2002, Columbia, SC
Blue Spiral 1, “New 3: New Artists, New Works, New Year,” 2001, Asheville, NC
Right Brain Art Gallery, “John Borden Evans, David H. Yaghjian”, Atlanta, Georgia, 2000
Right Brain Art Gallery, “Observations,” John Borden Evans, David H.Yaghjian, Atlanta, Georgia, 1999
Right Brain Art Gallery, inaugural exhibition, Atlanta, Georgia, 1997
Spruill Center Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia "Point of View", 1997
Spruill Center Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia "Southern Exposure", 1997
The Great Mattress Factory Show, Atlanta, Georgia, 1988
235 Forsyth St. 6 Atlanta Artists, Atlanta, Georgia, 1986
Second Regional Juried Exhibition Spartanburg Friends of the Arts, Spartanburg, South Carolina, 1985
Third Biennial Area Artists Exhibition, Upstairs Gallery, Tryon, North Carolina, 1984

Peel Gallery Danby, Vermont, 1980
Spartanburg Arts Center Inaugural Exhibition, Spartanburg, South Carolina, 1975
Art Advocate, Columbia, South Carolina, 1975
Chaffee Gallery, Rutland, Vermont, 1973
Haven's Gallery, Columbia, South Carolina, 1972

Greenville County Museum of Art
King and Spaulding, Atlanta, GA

"Little Five Points" 6' x 30'(inside)
Inman’s Deli, Moreland Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia, 1989
"Interchanges" 20' x 150' (outdoors)
Buckhead Crossing - Piedmont Road, Atlanta, Georgia, 1988

if ART Gallery, Columbia, SC