Marc Jancou Gallery Contemporary

Portraits

Vahakn Arslanian
December 10, 2014 - January 31, 2015
New York
Installation View
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Selected Works
image 1

Vahakn Arslanian
Ouattara Watts, 2014
Oil on canvas
48 x 36 inches
121.9 x 91.4 cm
Signed on verso
Inv#  VA 7233

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Vahakn Arslanian
Rene Ricard, 2014
Oil on canvas
48 x 36 inches
121.9 x 91.4 cm
Signed on verso
Inv# VA 7231

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Vahakn Arslanian
Jullian Schnabel, 2014
Oil on canvas
48 x 36 inches
121.9 x 91.4 cm
Signed on verso
Inv# VA 7232

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Vahakn Arslanian

Kenny Scharf Off Space, 2014

Oil on canvas

48 x 36 inches

121.9 x 91.4 cm

Inv#  VA 7234

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Vahakn Arslanian

Arnold Schwarzenegger, 2014

Oil on canvas

48 x 36 inches

121.9 x 91.4 cm

Signed on verso

Inv# VA 7229

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Vahakn Arslanian

Sully of Angel, 2014

Oil on canvas

48 x 36 inches

121.9 x 91.4 cm

Signed on verso

Inv# VA 7230

Press Release

Marc Jancou is pleased to announce Portraits, an exhibition of new works by Brooklyn-based artist Vahakn Arslanian, on view December 10, 2014 to January 31, 2015. 

 

This series marks Vahakn’s first major foray into human portraiture. Between 1990 and 2013, the number of portraits he created could be counted on one hand, with close friends and classmates as subjects. The current series began after the death of one close friend last winter, when Vahakn decided to paint Rene Ricard appreciating—or perhaps biting off—the blossom of a rose bush. From there, the progression from one subject to another followed the artist’s sense of affinity with and admiration for people he knew, knows or knows of.

 

Vahakn has mild prosopagnosia, a cognitive quirk that makes it difficult to recognize faces. About two percent of the population has it to some degree, Chuck Close among them. In Vahakn’s case, the disorder manifests as a tendency not to recognize people he knows unless he is expecting to meet them. The face of a film’s main character may suddenly be a mystery to him over an hour into the movie. Just as deafness has always had a probable but undefined influence on his work, here it is a gap between physiognomy and identity that points the way for Vahakn’s particular approach. Alongside the expected signals of gaze, stance, expression and underlying affect, another language defines these subjects. To Vahakn, this symbol-set of colors, props and talismanic objects complement the physical and define identity as he understands it.