THE GAZE: MARTIN ADALIAN
JoAnne Artman Gallery is pleased to present The Gaze, an exhibition of portraits by Martin Adalian. Referring to the concept of gaze within the confines of visual culture, the title and selected paintings explore how an audience perceives art’s depicted figures. Examining different strategies of the gaze, Adalian implicates the viewer by placing them in the position of both the observer and the observed. Mediating between the sense of invasion and invitation, viewers are coerced into different ways of seeing when they are confronted with direct gazes and personal spaces.
Mining art history, popular culture, and contemporary aesthetics of mixed media and grunge, Martin Adalian creates intense, palpable portraits that shift the gaze with charged relationships between sitter, artist, and the onlooker. Portraying voyeuristic perspectives and mutual exchanges, his compositional subtlety chronicles the nuance of looking. This relationship between subjects is pushed further with the implied psychological power dynamic of being watched, as well as capturing femininity from a male perspective; however, the works remain ambiguous as to the spectator’s relationship with the subjects and the situational setting. Establishing narrative through the positioning of each figure’s eyes, Adalian relays emotion without speech.
Creating mixed media paintings, Martin Adalian’s use of various elements create a multi-dimensional and multi-textual effect that adds a sense of motion and energy to his pieces with the application of thick swaths of paint and tar is concurrently spontaneous and strategic. Devising focal points and redirecting gaze to areas of elaborate detail and the physicality of his mark making process, Adalian further breaches the boundaries of the conventional modes of portraiture. n
MARTIN ADALIAN (b. 1972, Yerevan, Armenia) graduated from the Terlemezian Art College of Yerevan, Armenia before moving to the United States in 1990. He started painting when he was three years old as a result of growing up amongst a dynasty of family artists including his father, uncle, and cousins. Adalian has exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States, Europe, and Russia.
- JoAnne Artman