Fine Art PR Publicity Announcements News and Information
Fine Art PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Charles Garabedian Retrospective at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art

Charles Garabedian’s paintings and works on paper explore themes of war, music, the body, dismemberment, heroism, comic pretension, love, and death—all conveyed with a sense of immediacy, intimacy, and poignancy. While ancient characters and tales, including Homeric literature, Old Testament stories, Greek mythology, and European painting are evident sources, underlying the work is the artist’s own elegiac confrontation with the joys and struggles that pervade our daily lives. Exhibition on view April 17, 2011.

Charles Garabedian, “Study for the Iliad (Two Men and Woman),” 1992. Acrylic on paper on panel, 43-1/2 x 80 x 1-7/8 The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Gift of the Friends of the Corcoran Gallery of Art

Charles Garabedian exhibited with the legendary Ceeje Gallery in Los Angeles in the early 1960s, and debuted nationally in the 1975 Whitney Biennial. His fascination with non-traditional materials and the human figure posited him early on as a maverick, a distinction accentuated by Marcia Tucker when she included him in the “Bad” Painting exhibition (1978) at the New Museum of Contemporary Art. Garabedian was the subject of solo survey exhibitions at the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art (now the MCA San Diego) in 1981, and the Rose Art Museum in 1983, by which time it was clear that he was boldly, exceptionally independent.

His work was also hailed as a major force in the revival of figurative painting in the 1993 Corcoran Biennial (curated by Terrie Sultan). While Garabedian’s accomplishments and influence are considerable, he has not been recognized and fittingly contextualized in the form of a major museum exhibition and book in 28 years.

Charles Garabedian: A Retrospective brings together approximately 60 works from museums and private collections across the United States, representing the artist’s entire career. The exhibition analyzes Garabedian’s pioneering individuality, while the exhibition catalogue attempts to place his work within a fresh historical context. Overall, the project sheds light on an artist whose work lies in an idiosyncratic approach to picture making, marked with an intriguing exploration of the unknown. It will also reveal how Garabedian’s persistently individual exploration of figure, landscape, and subject matter paved the way for subsequent generations of artists who have demonstrated a renewed focus on the figure.

Exhibition Catalogue:
This publication represents the first devoted to the artist since the early 1980s. Contributors include historian/critic Michael Duncan; critic/professor Christopher Miles (Department of Art, California State University, Long Beach); author/television and film screenwriter, Nevin Schreiner; exhibition curator and SBMA Curator of Contemporary Art, Julie Joyce; and SBMA Director, Larry J. Feinberg.

[Hardcover, 200 pages, 95 color illustrations, designed by award winning designer Lorraine Wild and Victor Hu of Green Dragon Office]

Available for purchase in the Santa Barbara Museum of Art Store and through RAM publications:

Related Programming:
For more information on related programming including panel discussion, lectures, and dance and theatre performances, go to

Exhibition Support:
This exhibition is made possible through the generosity of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Grace Jones Richardson Trust, Jill and John C. Bishop, Jr., Les and Zora Charles, Jane and Ken Anderson, Marianne and Norman F. Sprague III, LLWW Foundation, and The Broad Art Foundation.

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