Known for his large-scale, heavily impastoed paintings of anthropomorphic animals and figures, Armen Eloyan’s new body of work draws from 17th and 18th Century portraiture, in both content and format. More intimate in scale, these paintings retain Eloyan’s distinctive blend of humor, storytelling and suppressed discordance.
10 November – 22 December 2017
The forty bust portraits in this exhibition both allude to and subvert the historical practice of portrait painting, extending into an investigation of the physical possibilities of paint, and the parameters of representation and suggestion of form. Through the figures that emerge from thick and loose brushstrokes, Eloyan successfully navigates the “joyously grotesque” - coined by Willem de Kooning in his response to his painting Woman I, 1950-52.
While anchored in portraiture, Eloyan has intentionally employed a quick mode of painting as a means to distance himself from portrayal, instead using brushstrokes to capture a certain character and mood in each image. The resulting block of paintings creates a community of interacting changes in shapes, colors and expressions.
Armen Eloyan was born in Armenia in 1966, where he began his career hand-painting animation onto celluloid film. Eloyan’s work reflects his younger years spent watching American and Russian television and draws inspiration from characters found in street art, theatre, historical painting, cartoons and comic books. Eloyan studied at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam, graduating in 2005; he lives and works in Zurich.
Recent exhibitions include Armen Eloyan: Garden, Timothy Taylor, London (2016); Armen Eloyan & Josef Scharl, curated by Harald Spengler, Kunstparterre, Munich (2014); The Pink Spy, M HKA, Antwerp (2014); Luc Tuymans: A Vision of Central Europe, curated by Luc Tuymans, Groeningemuseum, Bruges (2010); Until the End of the World, AMP Gallery, Athens (2009); Ventriloquist, Timothy Taylor Gallery, London (2009); INVOLVED, curated by Philippe Pirotte, ShanghART Gallery & H Space, Shanghai (2008); and Two Feet in One Shoe, Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art, London (2007).
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