Visual Arts Program

Friday, September 12, 2014 — Friday, October 24, 2014

Michael Mararian

Kinder Kavalcade

Michael Mararian - <em>Kinder Kavalcade</em>
Michael Mararian - <em>Kinder Kavalcade</em>
Michael Mararian - <em>Kinder Kavalcade</em>
Michael Mararian - <em>Kinder Kavalcade</em>
Michael Mararian - <em>Kinder Kavalcade</em>

Opening Reception
Friday, September 12, 2014, 8 to 11 pm

Artist Talk
Friday, September 12, 2014, 8 pm

Exhibition continues through October 24.

It's not that Michael Mararian's paintings are about children, but children serve as the central protagonists in much of his work. Painted with equal proportions of dark humor and buoyant charm, children function as the most effective dramatic foils for the contradictions, absurdities, and layers of pathos Mararian is fond of exploring. Whether brandishing lit matches and gasoline, wearing inappropriate clothing, wielding knives and guns, or just lying in a drunken stupor upon a field of cell phones, children as characters sharply highlight an array of themes and concerns discussed throughout Mararian's work.

There is an underlying sense of a world run somewhat amok…or perhaps not so underlying. Mararian often sets his figures against decorative or hallucinogenic backdrops, which softens the severity of some of the images while amplifying their lunacy. There is a thin line between earnest guffaw and nervous laughter and it's a space that Mararian repeatedly occupies.

And while it may at first seem ironic (or even cruel, if you're a parent) to utilize the images of children in this manner, Mararian is not mocking his subjects. He has generally painted them in scenarios that elicit great sympathy in the viewer. When he inserts the faces of lost children (most notably, Jon Benet Ramsey) into the packages of Halloween costumes, it is not a gesture of heightened abuse but one of earnest concern. It is immediately apparent that, no matter the absurd, Mararian is rendering his subjects with a thoughtful and loving hand.

In this manner, Mararian is successfully functioning as a classic figurative painter, utilizing his subjects to reflect back to the viewer notions about society, perceived roles, consumerism, violence, and a host of emotional and psychological reverberations.

Michael Mararian is a graduate of the Art and Theater program at the University of Bridgeport as well having studied at the Arts Student's League in New York City. His work has previously been shown worldwide at Corey Helford Gallery and Thinkspace Gallery in Los Angeles, Bristol City Museum in Bristol England, Galerie D'Art Yves Laroche in Montreal, Last Rites Gallery in New York City and the Antonia Fraunberg Gallery in Dusseldorf, Germany. Originally from Andover, Massachusetts, Michael currently lives and works in Buffalo, New York. He attributes his inspiration to his wife Elizabeth and their nine cats—99, Charlotte, Lola, Bridgette, Zoey , Suess, Herman. Lily and Mitty-Rawlings.