A Chronology Compiled by Wim Roefs
Born in Columbia, S.C., on March 4, as David Henry Yaghjian, to Dorothy and Edmund Yaghjian as the third of four children. His sisters are Candy, Robin and Susy. Both his parents were artists.
1948 – 1965
Attends first grade at McMaster Elementary School, walking to school daily from the family home on Barnwell Street, seeing Dunbar Funeral Home on Gervais Street, which to him looked like a big beach hotel and which he will paint some 45 years later. After McMaster’s closing in 1956, attends A.C. Moore Elementary School, then Hand Jr. High and Columbia High. “I grew up three blocks from Five Points,” he recalled in 2005. “After McMaster Elementary closed in 1955 or ’56, I walked or rode my bike twice a day through there on my way to and from [school]. My father and I would walk down across the tracks on College St. to go to Sears for nails and paint and chocolate covered peanut clusters. I bought my first guitar, a Silverstone acoustic, at Sears ... I can remember the aroma of fresh-baked bread from Claussen’s and as a Cub Scout, toured the bakery. My friends and I played in (then) Valley Park, rode the miniature train, had birthday parties in the community buildings in the park… We shopped at Rose’s and Dodd’s 5&10 cents stores and at Yesterday’s when it was a drug store. I saw my first movie in the Five Points Movie Theater, I think it was ‘My Friend Flicka,’ got so excited I started yelling at the screen. Got haircuts occasionally at the shop on Harden where Harper’s is now, and at the Carolina Barbershop. Only occasionally, mother generally cut my hair. The only eating place I can remember is Groucho’s, my family seldom ate out. We did, from time to time, get some éclairs from the bakery next to or close to Groucho’s. I think it was called the Éclair Bakery.”
At about 10 years old, “finished off a painting with a flourishing YAGHJIAN at the bottom,” his mother wrote in a 1972 article in Columbia’s The State newspaper. “Only once. His father came down on him, saying he hadn’t earned that yet and he had very well precede it with DAVID.” Later, as he pursues an art career, would for a while sign his paintings with initials only to avoid trading on the family name or failing to live up to it. He got over that, he tells The State newspaper in 2000. “If that’s an aid, or a hindrance, that’s fine.”
Spends each summer with the family in Wallingford, Vt., where he fishes and works as a gardener, lifeguard and carpenter’s assistant. In 1964 studies with Stewart Eldridge at the South Vermont Art Center in Manchester.
In 1965 studies with J. Bardin at the Richland Art School at the Columbia Museum of Art.
Leaves Columbia in the fall to attend Amherst College in Amherst, Mass.
Spends summer in New York City, studying painting with Will Barnett at the Arts Students League and etching with Chaim Koppelman at the School of Visual Arts. Works that summer at Martin’s department store in Brooklyn.
Studies printmaking with Leonard Baskin at Smith College, Northampton, Mass., and sculpture with Leonard DeLonga at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass.
Studies at Amherst College with visiting artist Fairfield Porter.
After the United States’ invasion of Cambodia, takes advantage of famous Amherst historian Henry Steele Commager’s presence, talking to him about the event and campus reactions, giving the historian an etching and receiving a bottle of wine in return.
Moves with college friends onto a 60-acre farm in Wendell, Mass.
Graduates from Amherst College with a major in studio after completing an independent study thesis called “A Series of Paintings and Drawings in Which the World of Dreams, Daydreams, and a Nostalgia About the Mundane Are Explored.”
Continues to live and work on the farm. Is known among local hippie farmers as “Iago,” a nickname he received from a college friend that stuck, among some old friends until today. “Iago” was a derivative of “Yaghjian” but also a literary reference to Shakespeare’s Othello and a line in Joan Didion’s 1970 novel Play It As It Lays. Would be referred to as “David ‘The Black Iago’ Yagjian (sic)” in Stephen Diamond’s 1971 book What The Trees Said: Life On A New Age Farm, which includes a photo showing him playing the guitar. In the 1973 book Home Comfort: Life On Total Loss Farm, about a New England communal farm, would be cited as “Iago” about hippie farms’ poor luck with chickens, for which “he had built several sliding mobile homes … so that they could pick insects from the garden.”
Sports a beard and in December, through Jan. 10, 1973, is with his parents and sister Candy in a family exhibition at Havens Gallery on Devine Street in Columbia. The local paper, The State, on Nov. 26 wrote that “this joint exhibition by four artists in one family is believed the be the first of its kind ever shown” and “an event unique in the world.” Has 20, mostly small paintings and etchings in the exhibition, priced between $45 and $500, and sells more than a dozen, including to prominent local collector Robert Ochs. In a Dec. 21, 1972, review of the exhibition, Adger Brown wrote: “David Yaghjian, who has been painting ‘intensively,’ as he puts it, for only three or four years, exhibits the promise of becoming an artist of genuine importance. His portraits and still lifes all reflect a discerning eye for composition, a free – but far from licentious – use of color, and the kind of warmth that pervades all really first-class art. In so young and artist, it is surprising to find in his portraits such a profound compassion an understanding of his subjects. He does not merely introduce these subjects to the viewer – he sees to it that they become fast friends.” Yaghjian, Adger wrote, shows “enormous promise of even greater things in the future.”
Participates in a family exhibition at Chaffee Art Gallery in Rutland, Vt., with his parents and sisters Candy and Susy.
Leaves the farm and moves to West Woodstock, Vt., with partner Judie Sloan and a few goats. Rents an old house without electricity or running water. Paints, cuts firewood, hauls water, works odd jobs, milks goats and grows vegetables.
Is represented by Gallery 2 in Woodstock, Vt., and in May provides them with three paintings ranging in price from $50 to $250.
After the West Woodstock farm is sold, moves to Saluda, N.C., to live in an unused inn owned by one of his sisters’ in-laws. Paints, keeps goats in the basement, works as a laborer at the construction of a new school in town and then as a carpenter.
In September – October exhibits with his parents and sisters Candy and Susy at The Gallery in Spartanburg, S.C. Shows three drawings, priced at $25, $30 and $45, and 13 paintings, priced at $50 to $400. Sells several works, to Columbia collectors.
In December participates in a family exhibition at the Art Advocate gallery on Gervais Street in Columbia with six works, priced from $45 to $175, selling two works.
In the next few years, continues to work as a carpenter, rebuilding portions of a large camp structure, remodeling and building houses and working one summer in Birmingham, Ala. Also works as a waiter, plays horseshoes and music, and continues to paint.
Shows at Saluda Mountain Crafts in Saluda, N.C., owned by his friend George McCreery, a retired professional wrestler.
Moves to another house in Saluda without running water.
For the next two years helps George McCreery restore a Saluda home and an old downtown building in exchange for the use of the second floor as a studio. Despite this existence as an “indentured servant,” as he calls it later, gets a lot of painting done.
Teaches drawing at Tryon Fine Arts Center in Tryon, N.C.
In July, his mother dies.
In August, participates in a family exhibition at the Peel Art Gallery in Danby, VT, with his parents’ work and sisters Candy and Susy, showing ten acrylic paintings, priced from $150 to $300, three of which sold.
Sells first paintings to Samuel L. Rosenfeld, director of the future Artists Unlimited Gallery in New York, who first bought two small, late 1970s paintings, Self Portrait and Ransom, from the Peel Art Gallery exhibition. Then sells three more paintings directly to Rosenfeld for a total of $375 after a dealer’s discount.
In September has his first solo exhibition, at the Tryon Fine Arts Center in Tryon, N.C. Shows 28 works, several of them not for sale while others ranged in price from $50 – $400. Sells one painting. Shakes many hands, one reviewer reported, during a Sunday afternoon reception, where he is “the star of the day.” Professes to simply paint “things I like to paint,” which included portraits, landscapes and eggs on a rumpled napkin. All but six to eight paintings are recent, mostly small acrylic and polymer paintings. Asheville (N.C.) Citizen Times reviewer Richard Van Kleeck detected little growth between the new work and the five-to-seven-year-old paintings, speculating that Yaghjian’s three or four year stint as a carpenter might have stunted his growth as an artist. Though he liked several drawings for “their understatement, intentional paucity of detail and apparently planned casualness” that reveal the influence of Baskin, the reviewer took a dim view of much of the work. Renaissance-quality art it isn’t, he wrote, despite Yaghjian’s verbal and other references to Italian Renaissance painters. “From a very Impressionistic distance” Yaghjian’s non-figurative pieces “can be extremely effective” but they “do not stand close scrutiny.” And yet, the reviewer “liked the show. I liked the promise I saw” in an artist “not yet mature in his art” who should strive for “his own style of artfully rearranging nature in a realist mold.” Eugene Warner in the Tryon Daily Bulletin of Sept. 10, on the other hand, saw “an interesting and in some ways surprising art show.” Yaghjian’s more recent work “has more character” than his earlier “Grant Wood in Acrylic” paintings, Warner wrote. Warner detected a little Andrew Wyeth as well as that artist’s “North Carolina imitator, Bob Timberlake.”
Gets caught sketching the butcher shop at Charles Ward’s market in Saluda “lying face down on top of” a six-foot milk cabinet in the back of the store, mother Ward told the Hendersonville (N.C.) Times News of June 3, which never mentioned him by name. “He had a beard that was hanging down over the glass front of the cabinet and whatever in the world he was doing up there, I could see he was dead serious about it.” Portrays “the market in every detail,” the newspaper reported, “put a three-figure price on the painting, took it to New York and sold it.” Had, in fact, gained permission from Charles Ward to paint and took the painting not to New York but Vermont, where it was sold for $150.
Gets commission from Samuel L. Rosenfeld to paint portrait of painter Frank Kleinholz, which Rosenfeld intended to give to Kleinholz.
Early summer goes to New York City to paint portraits commissioned by Sam Rosenfeld of Rosenfeld himself; his wife, June; his son Michael, now of New York’s Michael Rosenfeld Gallery; his father-in-law, Nat Serper; and, through photographs, of Rosenfeld’s friend Michael Schlossberg. They all sit for him, though Michael not still enough to complete the portrait there. Receives $200 to $325, depending on whether they are framed, for portraits of about 16 x 14 inches after dealer’s discount. Keeps up regular correspondence with Rosenfeld, who indicates he’s interested in showing his work once Rosenfeld’s gallery opens. Will tell Rosenfeld later “it always scares the hell out of me to go back and look at portrait commissions.”
Back in Saluda, in June, works more on the portrait of Michael Rosenfeld.
In June has some 150 people come through his studio as part of an open studios event. In anticipation of the event builds racks and shelves for his studio, where it had been almost impossible to sweep the floors.
In November completes another commission for Sam Rosenfeld, from photographs, of Rosenfeld’s cousin, Mel Schweitzer. Writes to Rosenfeld about the difficulty of working from photographs, “as each suggests a different person.” Charges $200, as before, but writes to Rosenfeld that “sometime hopefully we’ll get the price up.” Receives $250 from Rosenfeld for the commission.
Sends Rosenfeld slides of nine paintings, some painted from imagination, others from observation of his Saluda environment. Paintings are acrylics on panel or linen, 8 x 8 inches to 16 x 20 inches. One painting, Conversation, 15 x 15 inches, was sold to a California couple for $400; another, Saluda Roof View, 12 x 14 inches, to a Texas couple for $125. Other paintings include Blackbird, of a dead bird found in the street outside the studio; Ringmaster; Empty Camel Pack; Still Life With Pocket Watch; and T.V. Man.
Works eight hours a week in a restaurant near his studio and is excited about also working with pastels.
In a November letter to Rosenfeld, professes to be working toward an exhibition of “imaginations,” imagined scenes sometimes based on memories.
In December receives letter from Rosenfeld asking whether T.V. Man is finished, and how much it is. Tells Rosenfeld the price is $650. He later renames the painting Evening (see p. 6).
Paints small still life paintings, some for his three sisters’ birthdays. Sells a quick self-portrait to a friend. Sells Lady And Her Dog, 8 x 9 inches, for $300 to buyers who previously had commissioned a large portrait and whose son had purchased Conversation.
In June writes to Rosenfeld about his plans for shows in New York with Rosenfeld and in Los Angeles, where “the fellow who bought ‘Conversation’ had said he would like to arrange something.” Is hesitant about selling certain paintings, as he wants them available for the anticipated shows. Receives letter from Rosenfeld, who expressed interest in having an exhibition of his work in 1983. No New York or California show materializes.
In January receives “Best in Show” for his painting The Escort, 16 x 20 inches (see p. 7), at Tryon’s Upstairs’ Third Biennial Area Artists Exhibition, juried by Ann Shengold, visual arts director of Spirit Square in Charlotte, N.C. North Carolina National Bank Purchase Award winners were Ellen McCown, Elaine Graves, Joyce Roschella and Ann McCown. Others in the show, which presented works in various media, included Jan Ashmore Jackson, Jim Cornell, Doug Dacey and Stoney Lamar.
Finds representation at ceramic artist Michael Sherrill’s Touchstone Gallery in Henderson, N.C., where Evening is listed at $1,200, and The Escort, at $1,500. Most of his paintings at Touchstone range in price from $150 to $600. Has several drawings and watercolors at the gallery, too. Around this time also is represented by Trade Street Gallery in Tryon, N.C., where Evening was listed, presumably prior to Touchstone, for $900.
In July goes to Columbia to finish a portrait of Doris Kahn, who, it turned out after her husband had commissioned the work, didn’t want a painting of herself. Meets his future wife, Ellen Emerson, and decides to move to Columbia. Sublets apartment from Ellen’s brother, John, and rents upstairs apartment, too, to use as a studio. Is somewhat surprised by the city he left in a hurry in 1966, recalling in 1993 in The State newspaper that in 1984 “I found the atmosphere, the charm, the size appealed to me.”
Is interviewed by South Carolina Educational Television.
Teaches summer classes at the Columbia Museum of Art, filling in for his father.
Paints water colors and pen and ink drawings and a fair number of portraits, though not many as paid commissions.
Has a small exhibition at the home of Elizabeth Todd in Columbia, who also commissioned a portrait of herself.
Reports in an October 31 letter to Sam Rosenfeld that he hasn’t had any alcohol in 49 days. “It was starting to get in the way.”
In July, girlfriend Ellen moves to Atlanta to work for Turner Broadcasting.
In April is, again with The Escort, among the winners in the Second Regional Friends of the Arts Juried Exhibition at the Arts Center in Spartanburg, S.C., for which juror Lowery Simms of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art chose 88 artworks out of some 300 entries from five Southern states. The winner was North Carolina’s Jack Ketner. Philip M. Garrett of Greenville, S.C., won third prize. Others in the show included Mike Vatalaro, Steve Hewitt, Doris Turner, Larry Burge, Stephen Chappelli, Christopher J. Cramer, Catherine Dunn and Tom Hammond.
In April, removes Evening from Touchstone Gallery. Sells the painting to Columbia collector Mark Coplan for $650 on a payment plan.
In July has an exhibition at Columbia’s Weekend Gallery, run by the Columbia Museum of Art. Organizes the exhibition with several friends and has 23 works for sale, ranging in price from $75 to $1,500. Sells nine paintings for a total of $1,570, the highest price fetched being $500 for Tugaloo & Waccamaw.
In September, moves to Atlanta to live with Ellen. Has a studio in their apartment and gets a part-time job in a frame shop.
A week after arriving in Atlanta, receives a call from Michael Schlossberg, whose portrait he had painted through a commission from Sam Rosenfeld. Paints a portrait of Schlossberg’s friend, Dr. Cano. Finds out much later that Schlossberg’s wife is Lana Coplan, a sister of Columbia art collector Mark Coplan.
Goes to New York for five days in November to paint a portrait commissioned by Charley Keyes of Keyes’ sister. Keyes was a reporter at Columbia television station WIS-TV.
In April, participates in a group exhibition at Atlanta’s 235 Forsyth Street, where several friends live and have studios. Says in his statement that “painting is my contribution. It restores me and I can only think that its restorative power is communicable.” The others in the exhibition are Evan Levy, Whittier Wright, Charles Keiger, Christopher Cramer and Remi Kurzius. “The group nature of the show,” a group statement declared, “is due to the bi-weekly meetings the painters hold to discuss professional problems, creative process, and artistic meaning … The meetings provoke positive action in painting, accountability that each individual would not enjoy in isolation. While each artist markets his work independently, it is felt by the group that the warehouse show, founded on mutual critique, is a peculiar creative venture.”
In July, starts showing at Frances Aronson Gallery in Atlanta, where The Escort is listed for $2,500. Doesn’t sell anything and moves on to look for a gallery that really appreciates his work.
Shows four paintings at Fay Gold Gallery in Atlanta from May through August but doesn’t sell anything and moves on to look for a gallery that really appreciates his work.
Takes a studio at the Great Mattress Factory in Atlanta.
In April, marries Ellen Emerson.
In July is featured in Atlanta’s Creative Loafing and the Atlanta Journal/Constitution in photographs showing him painting a large mural at the city’s Buckhead Crossing at Piedmont Avenue and Miami Circle. For the project was among six artists selected through a competition held by the Atlanta College of Art to paint murals in the city under the auspices of the Arts Festival of Atlanta and the city’s Bureau of Cultural Affairs. Until this project, the Journal/Constitution reported, “the largest artwork he had ever done was a small billboard.” The mural measures 20 x 150 feet and takes four weeks to complete. The other artists selected for the mural projects were Amy Freeman and Jason Boston from Atlanta, Michigan’s Michael Muse, James Edwards of Columbia, S.C., and David Fichter of Boston.
His Atlanta mural is “a peppy urbanscape” in which “vehicles careen on a caricatured Atlanta cloverleaf,” the Atlanta Journal/Constitution reported on Aug. 28, 1988. “Atlantan David Yaghjian’s Red Grooms-esque vision of Atlanta as a roller coaster of highways and train tracks holds a fun-house mirror to the mural’s site, located along a busy road beneath the MARTA rails. The IBM Tower and Campanile Building lean like Towers of Pisa in the distance. Though spiced with humor, it may also sneak in some commentary on the city whose desire to be going somewhere has overwhelmed it as a place to be. Although it works well in its location, Mr. Yaghjian’s mural suffers from being sandwiched between two very different compositions.” The three murals were sandblasted off six months later after complaints from surrounding merchants.
Is included in “The Great Mattress Factory Show” in Atlanta, a co-op show that took place for several years and included a few dozen artists.
Creates a mural, Little Five Points, 6 x 30 feet, at Inman’s Deli on Moreland Avenue in Atlanta.
In July starts showing at McIntosh Gallery, until February 1991, not selling anything and moving on to look for a gallery that really appreciates his work.
In December buys a house in Atlanta’s Grant Park, selling stock to make the down payment. Has a studio at home.
Paints a mural, Suburbia, 5 x 10 feet, in the home of John J. Burton Jr., in Stone Mountain, Ga.
Takes a job at O’Karma-Jones, framing full time. Would keep the job for a decade, until his 2000 move back to Columbia.
Daughter Clare is born in December.
Paints a mural, Stephano’s, 3 x 20 feet, for Stephano’s Pizza in Lithonia, Ga.
His solo exhibition “Urban Vignettes” is at Columbia’s Morris Gallery in November – December, featuring paintings of Atlanta’s urban landscape, including freeways, mailboxes, newspaper racks, bent street signs and cars. “This is an impressive show with an extremely narrow range of subject and technique,” The State newspaper reviewer Jeffrey Day wrote on Nov. 22. “Even when he’s not on the highway, Yaghjian appears to be looking at the world from a car-seat view. While it might sound as if he’s creating paintings of urban clutter, that’s not the case. Yaghjian understands that even in mid-July, Atlanta can be cold and empty … These paintings can be read on many levels, which only makes their superficial simplicity more rewarding … Yaghjian takes his direction from the masters of isolation and distance: Manet and Hopper.” Prices for the 40 works range from $280 for works on paper to $4,900 for an acrylic on canvas, 53 x 53 inches. Sells 14 works ranging in price from $280 to $840. Later trades a $1,120 painting for a beach house vacation.
“Around Town,” a solo exhibition with some 25 paintings, is at Columbia’s Morris Gallery in October. The work, mostly on paper, depicts railroad overpasses, warehouses, gas stations and diners and such, including locations from his youth in Columbia. “I guess I am drawn to these places because there is a quality to them no matter what their status,” he tells The State newspaper. “They appeal to the eye, but the eye isn’t isolated … Visually it’s fun, and I don’t have to stretch anything to get the tension. It’s humorous; sometimes it’s sad. But the thing is, it’s there regardless. I can put down what’s there, and it is usually sufficient. I haven’t intellectualized it and analyzed it. I haven’t killed it. The pieces that look best are the ones least managed by me.” Prices ranged from $335 to $1,675. Eleven paintings sold, seven before the show opened.
1994 – 1996
Works full time in a frame shop and paints.
In April is in “Point of View,” a group exhibition at the Spruill Center Gallery in Atlanta. “David Yaghjian,” Atlanta Journal/Constitution reviewer Jerry Cullum wrote on April 25, “renders the sweep of barren concrete in the city’s highways and similar urban features. Yaghjian’s vision is bleakly poetic; like Beverly Buchanan’s shack sculptures, of which there is a rich sampling here, his paintings find a rough, angular beauty in places where it is often overlooked.” Others in the exhibition were Lu Steed, Jennine Hough, Kathy Yancy, Greg Benson, Katherine Bleser, Art Werger, Mary Porter, Marshall Smith and Sara White.
In June – August is in “Southern Exposure: Narratives in Painting, Drawing and Sculpture” at the Spruill Center Gallery in Atlanta. His paintings are scenes from his childhood. “I used to think that by painting from memory and/or imagination I would discover what these remembered or imagined scenes meant,” he comments at the occasion. “That was twenty-five years ago. Now when I paint in this manner it’s because the subject matter seems to call for it or because I need or want to change the pace.” Atlanta Journal/Constitution reviewer Catherine Fox wrote on July 18: “David Yaghjian’s small paintings are definitely low-key. Painted in self-effacing brush strokes, quiet colors and shallow settings are scenes at a laundromat, a diner and a down-at-the-mouth apartment building that suggests a sense of isolation reminiscent of Edward Hopper’s ‘Nighthawks.’ Heck, the Atlanta artist turns the purchase of a drink at a fast-food drive-through into a heart-rendering transaction.” Others in the exhibition, all from Georgia, were Tim Arkansaw, Kathy Chambers, Merri Herbert, Steve Hinton, Linda McMullen and Olivia Thomason.
In December, his father dies.
“Observations,” a two-man exhibition, is in May – July at Atlanta’s Right Brain Art Gallery, which recently had been opened by a friend. Shows 15 paintings, mostly urban scenes, on paper and canvas, measuring 7 x 12 to 24 x 29 inches, priced at $450 to $2,000. The second artist, John Borden Evans, showed rural scenes.
Is included in “A View From the Garden,” a June – August group exhibition at the Spruill Center Gallery in Atlanta. Others among the two-dozen participants included Ellen Emerson, Jennifer Hartley and Richard Stenhouse.
“John Borden Evans, David Yaghjian,” a two-man exhibition, is at Atlanta’s Right Brain Art Gallery in May – July. Shows about a dozen works, on canvas and paper, measuring 11 x 8 inches to 30 x 39 inches, priced at $500 to $3,500. The gallery closed soon thereafter when owner Barbara Dobkin died of cancer.
In early summer moves back to Columbia, S.C., from Atlanta. In September shares his enthusiasm for Columbia with the Star weekly: “The State Museum is beautiful; the new Columbia Museum is beautiful. There is sophistication enough for me here … When we came back, I went around Columbia again and slowly breathed it in.” In addition to painting, begins restoring frames.
His solo exhibition “David Yaghjian” is at Morris Gallery in Columbia in September – October, presenting 25 paintings of Atlanta and Columbia scenes of passing cars, overpasses and old, majestic or undistinguished buildings, often surrounded by power lines, parking meters and utility poles, half of which he completed since June. Among the Columbia structures are a white cinderblock house in the Olympia mill village, an old Phillips 66 gas station on Rosewood Drive, the Tapps and Kress buildings on Main Street and Dunbar Funeral Home on Gervais Street. Even distinguished buildings, such as the latter, appear “brutally naked, surrounded by pavement and utility poles,” The State newspaper reported in an article about Yaghjian’s return to Columbia. Sells 11 paintings, ranging in price from $400 to $2,200.
In December, starts showing with Blue Spiral 1 Gallery in Asheville, N.C., providing the gallery with six paintings, measuring 12 x 10 inches to 18 x 18 inches, ranging in price from $850 to $1,600.
In December, his Columbia gallery, Morris Gallery, closes.
In January – February is included in “New 3: New Artists, New Works, New Year,” a group exhibition at Blue Spiral 1 in Asheville, N.C. Others in the exhibition were Barbara Fisher, Joseph McFadden, Randy Sanders, Damon MacNaught and Julyan Davis.
Is selected by the Beaufort Arts Council for a weeklong residency at Pritchard’s Island along with artists Phil Garrett, Janet Orselli, Jeri Burdick, Pam Bowers, Diane Hopkins-Hughs and Fran Perry.
Shows at Rutledge Street Gallery in Camden, S.C., until 2002.
In October, an exhibition of his father’s work, which he helped organize, opens at Hampton III Gallery in Taylors, S.C. Works with his sisters on two more such exhibitions, at the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia and at ACA Galleries in New York City, both in 2007.
Exhibits in January – February for the first time with fellow Columbia painters Stephen Chesley and Mike Williams and Edward Wimberly of St. Matthews, S.C., in the group’s annual “Winter Exhibition” at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios in Columbia. “That these three guys thought I should show with them meant a lot to me,” he would say a year later. “They are, after all, among the most respected artists in this area.”
Has images of five of his urban landscape and architectural paintings published in the Oct. 2 issue of the Columbia Star weekly as part of a story on “Urban Realism,” a exhibition at the Columbia Museum of Art of works by Edward Hopper and others, although his paintings are not in the exhibition. “I grew up around art,” he tells the Star. “My father was painting in New York around the same time Hopper and the other Urban Realists were painting. I don’t remember the first time I knew of Hopper, I was just always aware of him.”
After his Winter Exhibition fellow artist Stephen Chesley had urged him for years to give up acrylics, starts painting in oils.
Is in January – February again included in the annual Chesley, Williams, Wimberly and Yaghjian “Winter Exhibition” at Columbia’s Gallery 80808/Vista Studios, showing one oil painting aside from many acrylics. States in the exhibition’s press release that “painting is necessary for me. Over the years, I have tried not to paint. I’ve tried other professions like carpentry or picture framing, but each time away from painting would turn me into an unhappy, intolerant person. When I am painting, I am calm … Buildings can be seen as echoes, reiterations of their builders and inhabitants. And buildings offer wonderful opportunities for the contemplation of light and color on large planes.” About his paintings in the exhibition, reviewer Mary Bentz Gilkerson wrote in Columbia’s Free Times weekly: “Yaghjian…follows the movement of light across the landscape, but in his case it falls predominantly on the urban buildings that describe the life in a city. The color in his paintings comes both from the angle of the light, particular to the time of year and weather, and from the interplay of that light with the local color of the flat architectural planes. In Two Notch/Gervais, he lights up the local color of the flat urban scene with the warm light of a fall afternoon. The banality of the subject matter disappears in the flood of light and color.”
Is featured in a Feb. 19 article in The State newspaper about Columbia’s Dunbar Funeral Home building, which he painted in 2000. The article includes a portrait of him next to his painting.
“David Yaghjian: New Works” is at Hampton III Gallery in Taylors, S.C., in
March – April, presenting some two-dozen paintings, mostly on canvas, measuring 10 x 8 inches to 39 x 33 inches, priced at $570 to $4,500.
Shows some 20 paintings, including several oils, during the annual Winter Exhibition, measuring 7 x 5 inches to 37 x 33 inches, priced at $650 to $6,000.
Paints Fool for Art #1 and #2 for a March fundraiser for the University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum. After having focused for 20 years mostly on urban landscapes and architectural structures, the two paintings constitute a return to the figure and the birth of Everyman.
Paints Five Points Diner, a small oil painting, as part of “Paint 5ive Points,” a project, including an auction, of the merchant association of Columbia’s Five Points area, for which 10 artists were commissioned to paint a Five Points scene. In the project’s catalogue, recalls childhood memories of the area.
In November wins second place in “The Seventeenth Annual Miniature Art Competition & Exhibition” at the Florence Museum in Florence, S.C., with Roach, priced at $350. Juror Treelee MacAnn of Coastal Carolina University awarded first place to North Carolina artist Bill Gramley while other awards went to South Carolinians Jack Dowis, Errol R. Alger, Miller Getty, Kathleen Pompe and Barbara Moore.
In November, rents the studio vacated by Mike Williams at Vista Studios in Columbia’s downtown Vista district.
In January participates in the annual Winter Exhibition.
Images of several of his architectural paintings appear in the program for “Accessibility Columbia: Making History on Main Street,” an April – May installation exhibition.
Wins third place and $450 in the National Bank of South Carolina’s 24th Annual Oil Painters’ Open Invitational exhibition at the Sumter (S.C.) Gallery of Art, juried by Tom Nakashima, artist in residence at Augusta State University in Augusta, Ga. States in exhibition program: “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 it’s 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.” Edward Wimberly won first place, and other awards went to Ray Davenport, Rob Shaw, Barbara Yon and Laura Spong.
Paints The Barber, a small oil painting, for the second “Paint 5ive Points” project, which included a June art auction.
In September, the Greenville County (S.C.) Museum of Art acquires his oil painting Back Steps, 2004-05, 37 x 36 inches.
In November joins Columbia’s if ART Gallery, which opened its doors that month.
In November is in “New Crop, New Art,” a group exhibition of resident artists at Vista Studios’ Gallery 80808. Others in the exhibition included Jeff Donovan, Stephen Chesley, Laura Spong and Don Zurlo. “The real standouts in the show are David Yaghjian’s paintings of overweight, middle-aged men,” reviewer Jeffrey Day wrote in The State newspaper on Nov. 24. “They are both funny and sad … They show the men in precarious positions or postures – from a man on a trapeze above a dark void to a dejected Joe titled ‘Old White Rapper.’” Reviewer Mary Bentz Gilkerson wrote in Columbia’s Free Times weekly: “Humor is…a major component of Yaghjian’s recent work. In these acrylics on paper, he presents the viewer with a series of autobiographical musings on midlife that feature his own figure as the main subject. Some are farcical, but a number of them have a tension that comes from dark comedy.”
During the annual Winter Exhibition, shows mostly oil paintings, measuring 7 x 5 inches to 36 x 37 inches, priced at $450 to $5,000.
Produces two series of monotypes with master printer Phil Garrett at King Snake Press in Greenville, S.C.
In April – May is in “David & Edmund Yaghjian” at Columbia’s if ART Gallery, showing monotypes produced earlier that year. The exhibition is his first two-person exhibition with his late father. Shows 20 monotypes, 22 x 18 inches, $950 each. Sells five monotypes, 22 x 18 inches, at $950 each.
In April – June is in “Studio Visits,” an exhibition at the Greenville County (S.C.) Museum of Art. The exhibition also included Laura Spong, Alexia Timberlake, Dorothy Netherland, Jay Owens and David Boatwright. Says in June’s At The Museum, the museum’s newsletter: “My paintings in a way are meditations. They allow me to slow down, look around, and bring the world together with what’s inside me. Some of [the men in his paintings] are characters I grew up with. Others are emotional, intellectual products of an almost physical experience that I feel I have to express.”
In May participates in the inaugural Columbia Open Studios.
Joins Vision Gallery in Atlantic Beach, N.C.
In September – November, his painting Evening is included in “The Collector,” an exhibition at Winthrop University, Rock Hill, S.C., of works from the private collection of South Carolina art owned by Mark Coplan, who died in 2002. Others in the exhibition included Leo Twiggs, Edmund Lewandowski, Corrie McCallum and Billy Henson.
In October is included in “The Cultural Council of Richland & Lexington Counties 2nd Annual Founders’ Dinner – Art Exhibition And Sale” at the Summit Club in Columbia. Also included by curator Philip Mullen were Columbia area artists Larry Lefebvre, Brian Rego and Chris Robinson.
In October wins third place and $350 for Cell Phone, 4 x 5 inches, in the “Nineteenth Annual Miniature Art Competition and Exhibition” at the Florence (S.C.) Museum. Juror Jim Boden wrote that Cell Phone reminded him “of the classic pose of Manet’s The Dead Toreador. Here is a cockroach stretched out nobly and colored so wonderfully.” Other winners were Giovanni DiFeterici, Barbara Yon, Dewey Ervin, Denise Greer, Charlotte Foust and Brenda Phelan.
Receives an honorable mention and $200 for Barringer II in the “25th Annual NBSC Oil Painters’ Open Invitational Traveling Exhibition” at the Sumter Gallery of Art in Sumter, S.C. Juror Sandra Rupp, director of Hampton III Gallery in Taylors, S.C. awarded “Best in Show” to Jeff Donovan. Other winners were Edward Wimberly, Marcelo Novo, Ray Davenport and Mary Ann Reames.
Is included, through March, in “The Mark Coplan Collection of Art at the South Carolina State Museum,” an exhibition of works from the Coplan collection, a third of which was acquired by the museum. His painting, Evening, not in the museum’s collection, was added with others as part of a “second wave” expansion of the exhibition.
Is profiled with Stephen Chesley, Edward Wimberly and Mike Williams in the January issue of Lake Murray – Columbia magazine at the occasion of the artists’ “Winter Exhibition.” In Columbia’s Free Times, reviewer Mary Bentz Gilkerson wrote that increasingly his dominant theme is “the tragicomic nature of the latter third of life. He uses himself as a sort of loose model for Everyman. The setting for the pieces has been moving over the last year from the circus arena to water, first in pools and in the last pieces, the ocean.”
Is included in “The Inventory,” an if ART Gallery group exhibition at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios in February.
In April – September is included in the “20th Anniversary Juried Art Exhibition” at the South Carolina State Museum, juried by artist Brian Rutenberg and Lia Newman, program director at Artspace in Raleigh, N.C. Others in the exhibition included Aldwyth, Alice Ballard, Michael Brodeur, Clay Burnette, Steven Chapp, Yvette Dede, Mary Bentz Gilkerson, Susan Lenz, Peter Lenzo, Robert Lyon, Paul Martyka, Phil Moody, Jane Nodine, Matt Overend, Laura Spong, Tom Stanley, H. Brown Thornton, Enid Williams and Paul Yanko.
In May participates in Columbia Open Studios.
In June – July is included in “King Snake Press: Ten Years After,” an exhibition at the Greenville County (S.C.) Museum of Art of monotypes created by 15 artists with Greenville printer Phil Garrett, who organized the exhibition. Others in the exhibition were Garrett, John Acorn, Patti Brady, Jim Campbell, Bob Chance, Raymond Chorneau, Tom Dimond, Mary Bentz Gilkerson, David Hooker, Catherine Labbé, Edward Rice, Katie Walker, Enid Williams and Fran Woodside.
Participates in “Skate and Create” at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios, a fundraiser for a new skate park in Columbia.
Is included in “The Salon I & II,” two simultaneous if ART Gallery group exhibitions in December at the gallery and Gallery 80808/Vista Studios.
His two-dozen paintings in the annual Winter Exhibition, mostly oils, measure 7 x 5 inches to 48 x 48 inches and are priced at $360 to $6,000.
In March helps organize and participates in the “Light the Way Art Sale” at Columbia’s HoFP gallery to benefit a local Homeless Transition Center.
In April – May participates in “View from the Studios,” a group exhibition at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios of resident artists there. “Yaghjian’s Sleep,” reviewer Mary Bentz Gilkerson wrote in Columbia’s Free Times, “is on a new, large scale. The roughly 4-by-5 foot painting depicts a figure stretched out on a table with arms crossed on his chest. The pose and extreme angle recall Masaccio’s series of paintings of the dead Christ. The link between death and sleep are palpable.”
In May participates with three paintings in “Columbia Artists for Women in Politics,” a fundraiser in Columbia for the Southeastern Institute for Women in Politics. Also participates in the organization’s 2011 event.
In October is profiled with his wife, Ellen, in Columbia Metropolitan magazine in an article about artist couples.
“David Yaghjian: Dancing Man,” an if ART Gallery exhibition, is at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios in October, along with “Philip Morsberger: Time Travelers,” another if ART show. His three-dozen paintings, mostly oils, measure 4 x 5 inches to 60 x 42 inches and are priced at $280 to $6,500. Sells 20 paintings ranging in price from $250 to $2,400.
In December is included in “100 Under 1000: if ARTworks for $999 And Less” and “50 Under 500: if ARTworks for $499 And Less,” two group exhibitions of gallery artists at if ART Gallery.
Creates first sculptures, Skateman and Lawnmower, wooden sculptures with crayon drawing derived from cardboard cutout studies.
Commenting on the increased use of trees in his work, tells Columbia’s City Paper in an article about the annual “Winter Exhibition” that trees are symbols of life and of the connection between heaven and earth. About his wooden sculptures, on which he draws with crayon, he says: “Using crayons and chalk is like using kids’ tools,” which allows him to discover new materials and have fun with them. Reviewer Mary Bentz Gilkerson comments in Columbia’s Free Times on his “existentialist themes with a leavening of humor.” His sculptures “are a natural progression from his paintings and prints” while his tree paintings, “usually two or three in a composition,” emphasize “a simplified figure-and-ground relationship … The paint has gotten thinner, applied in washes more like watercolor, with the same quick gestural marks that he uses in his monotypes.” Shows two sculptures in addition to two dozen paintings, more than half of them from his Tree Series. Paintings measure 7 x 9 inches to 24 x 24 inches and are priced at $400 to $2,500.
In February participates in an art exhibition at the annual South Carolina Book Festival in Columbia. Other participating artists included Stephen Chesley, Laura Spong, Mike Williams, Chris Robinson, Tarleton Blackwell, Tyrone Geter, Marcelo Novo, Anne Hubbard, Mana Hewitt, Phil Garrett, Ellen Emerson Yaghjian and his sister, Candy Waites.
Has five black-and-white images of his work on the cover of April’s Carolina Arts, a monthly tabloid now defunct.
In September is an artist in residence at the annual Westobou Festival in Augusta, Ga. Is included in “The Augusta – Columbia Connection: Six Artists from if ART Gallery, Columbia, S.C.,” a group exhibition at the Old Academy of Richmond County in Augusta, Ga, that is part of the festival. Others in the exhibition were Jeff Donovan, Philip Morsberger, Edward Rice, Laura Spong and Mike Williams. The exhibition was a joint production of if ART Gallery and Augusta’s Mary Pauline Projects.
In January, participates in the annual “Winter Exhibition.” Reviewer Mary Bentz Gilkerson, in Columbia’s Free Times weekly, detected the influence of the monotype process on his paintings. “There is more contrast between thick and thin paint, as well as a stronger gestural quality to his marks.” In Brown Robe, a small painting, “the figure of a man fills the picture plane, crowding the edges,” Gilkerson wrote. “With his eyes screwed shut and his mouth wide open, the figure takes on the same psychic presence as Francis Bacon’s seated figures.”
In May participates in the 701 Center for Contemporary Art’s Columbia Open Studios.
His solo exhibition “Everyman Turns Six,” an if ART Gallery exhibition, takes place in August – September at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios, accompanied by a catalogue.