Earth Tones

Works of Two Abstract Expressionists

LOS ANGELES–Recent works by two Armenian artists living in Los Angeles–Lucy Hagopian and Narine Isajanyan–are currently on exhibition at the Don O’Melveny Gallery. "Earth Tones" showcases the works of two abstract expressionists who were raised on different continents (Narine from Yerevan and Lucy from Caracas)–yet their work reflects on the Earth as environment and universe; their images resonate with the dissonances of modern consciousness struggling against the eternity of nature. Both have painted with soil–sand–rock–metal–wood and tar–mixed in acrylics with a bent toward deep terrestrial and oceanic colors.

Lucy Hagopian closely relates her work to her concern for the environment–as it motivates her–just as nature inspires her. But her work succeeds on its own apart from any social political reference by virtue of an aesthetic that performs a balancing act between representational and abstract impulses. It is as if she allows an instinct to portray a natural scene to transform into a deeper desire to create instead a landscape of her own inner universe–navigating with the aesthetics of abstract form–color–movement–and space.

Perhaps Hagopian’s trademark distinction as an artist is her technique of painting with a car: driving wet painted tires over a canvas in repeated and controlled ‘brush strokes.’ The resulting images are then integrated–if not consumed by an array of other elemen’s painted by hand.

Lucy explains her work best herself: "My work begins with a concept–but it doesn’t end there. There is a give and take between chance and planning. I begin with an idea–yet allow the process of work to take its own course. Physical involvement and the action of painting is a constant part of the work. I switch from my mind to my heart–and allow my feelings–my instinct to guide me?The process of work takes its own course? and the end result is often a surprise to me?after its done I feel as I have known the work all my life."

Interplaying layers of paint creating transparencies versus opaque surfaces are used as poetic expressions. Visual images become symbols. She switches between the machine created images and what the human hand can create. The process becomes a reflection of life in Los Angeles. Historical–social–environmental–and personal meanings can be found in the paintings.

Narine Isajanyan returns to Don O’Melveny Gallery for a fourth time with work that is expressionist–minimalist–and conceptual by turns. Whether on canvas–paper–board–wood–or actually made of metal–her pieces become abstract landscapes that are as fluid within as they are consistent and organic as a whole.

Her most recent large scale canvases are painted with acrylic mixed with sand–earth–metal shavings (even kitty litter). Reminiscent of Pollock’s free use of space–they create bold unified fields energized by swirling movemen’s of muted color under multiple layers of grays and blacks. Like the universe expanding in every direction without a center–her elemen’s are nevertheless so harmonic as to create a single ‘minimalist’ impression.

Many of Narine’s very latest pieces almost recreate the feeling of lunar landscapes. Yet without intending to represent the natural world–without ‘rational interference’ in the spontaneous building of form on form–her images reflect the processes of nature responding within her. She is not imagining scenes from the some parallel world–she is creating that world.

Included in "Earth Tones" will be two of Narine’s works made exclusively from metal. On one piece–a spiraling steel cylinder crawls across an iron grid like a silver snake. Another shining rectangle of sheer steel–scraped in abstract patterns as if worn down by nature–is focused on a centerpiece of nails–their nail heads projecting out in a rectangle of their own. Thus hard industrial force and its sense of violence are transformed into a still life of beautiful–even serene balance.

Located in the heart of the Avenues of Art Design on Melrose Ave in West Hollywood–CA–the Don O’Melveny Gallery features original modern–contemporary work with a lean to the abstract. From cutting edge to blue-chip–emerging to internationally recognized–the Gallery posses a wonderfully eclectic mix of fine art.

The Don O’Melveny Gallery
5472 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles–CA 90026

Exhibition Dates:December 3-31

Artist Reception: Saturday–December 11–6-10 pm


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