Magazine Jan/Feb 2013 Figurative Mythology

29 January 2013, 02:28
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Figurative Mythology

Scholars, historians, poets, artists and playwrights often utilize the universal and varied tradition of mythology to illustrate the components of human existence; this includes larger than life figures with extraordinary powers and enhanced features with heightened personality traits. Charles Garabedian, an artist of the human figure, constantly attempts to reinvent himself and hopes that each time he enters his studio he can enter as a different person, with a diverse perspective. As an artist, he creates his own mythological sensibility within an ordinary and humanistic persona.

Bubbles rise to the surface as a swimmer exhales in the water enjoying a swim near a canoe-like boat. An ordinary scene, but Charles Garabedian has transformed the piece by adding his own mythological elements, portraying the swimmer as a grand figure within the soft ebb and flow of the water.

Garabedian’s repertoire includes depictions of renowned Greek myths such as the story of Apollo and Daphne, a love that was thwarted by Cupid’s arrow. Apollo, the god of music, prophecy, archery and light, was shot with the arrow of love; he fell in love with Daphne, a nymph. Apollo tried to profess his love to Daphne, but she rejected him and prayed to her father, the river god Peneus, asking for help. Apollo watched with shock and despair as Daphne transformed into a laurel tree. Apollo vowed to wear a laurel wreath in his hair in memory of his love, and the laurel became a symbol for Apollo. Charles Garabedian’s piece titled “Apollo and Daphne” refreshingly captures this story.

The storytelling quality of Armenian manuscripts achieved by the correct placement of image and color connects Garabedian to his heritage; his paintings reflect this sensibility. In the nine-panel series “Prehistoric Figures,” the human figure sat the forefront, a type of iconography with careful placement of a bright blue sky, bodies in motion and a landscape that does not overshadow the composition. The genius behind this series is that Garabedian has taken the elements of Armenian manuscripts and created his own expression.

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