I have heard it said that art is dead that history is dead, and that might well be the truth, that is until one has looked upon the breathtaking and captivating beauty generated by the artworks of Arthur Sarkissian. Because Sarkissian has had such a lengthy and prolific artistic career many things have already been said and written about his artworks, and I’m not one to be in conflict whit such emanate Los Angeles writers as Mr. Peter Frank, whom has said:
“The mediated photographic imagery Sarkissian appropriates, after all, is no less imbued with his passion than are his vigorous, often volcanic passages of the abstract brushwork. It is the passion of Sarkissian’s curiosity, his embrace of the world that prompts him to introduce photographic imagery into his paintings… We even see its textures and practices, as well as philosophical positions, reflected in the work of such disparate predecessors as Warhol, Cornell, Miro, Malevich, and, of course Picasso. Among other things, Sarkissian demonstrates that the “collage aesthetic” – the simultaneously disjunctive and conjunctive qualities that uniquely define modern composition – remains one of the most significant and enduring legacies of 20th century art.” -Peter Frank, Los Angeles, June 2006.
And because of this fact I then think that perhaps I have nothing new to add to the discussion surrounding the artworks of Mr. Sarkissian. But then I look “Between the Images” of antique furniture, columns, figures, books, advertisements, maps, etc, and then I see that perhaps there is allot more that is crying out to be said about these works of such captivating beauty. Such as, these images of the antique are in actuality not just windows into the past they are instead portals that can transport us the viewer into the future. In my opinion this is the case because Sarkissian’s images of the historic touch the past while his use of color that is laid “Between the Images” themselves, is the energy source that is used to propel us the viewer, into the future and into the unknown.
In many respects Sarkissian’s use of paint can be said to be inspired by Jackson Pollock’s “drip style” but instead of Pollock’s depressive and muted tones Sarkissian’s use of vivid color gives the viewer a breath taking vision of ocean waves that continually crash upon the shore, only to be washed back out, then in again, then out again, and then in again. In this way his artworks are not stale or tied to the past but instead are all about movement, even though his artistic shoreline is one that is littered with the artifacts of history. The point that I’m making here is that unlike the shards of history, which serve to weigh Sarkissian’s canvases down, his strategic use of color imbues them with the inherent power to propel themselves forward into the viewer’s consciousness.
As is clear to us all, the past is already known so the only thing left open to us is the future. And Sarkissian allows us to see a glimpse of that future with his amble and vivid use of color, which in its own way serves to signify thoughts of life, regeneration, and hope. In this way, the energy encapsulated within the swaths of color continually bursts forth upon the senses of the viewer in such a way as to carry them away from the staid boring past into the beautiful color-filled future of the unknown.
Concerning my observations about Mr. Sarkissian’s aesthetic, I hope that in some small way they serve to compel you the art lover to seek out his works in order to see for yourself weather my musing possess any merit. Which you can so easily do, by going to Artology 101 Gallery, 3108 Glendale Blvd. in Los Angeles on Saturday, March 27, from 6-10 PM for the opening reception of his new works Between The Images in order to see for yourself the effect his works have upon you. If I may extend a word of caution, remember to prepare yourself for a wild and thought provoking ride into the world of color, and if you are very, very fortunate, into the future of art.
By J.A. Trumpower, Art Historian, Los Angeles, March 2010.