STREET now open! Chicago | Los Angeles | Miami | New York | San Francisco | Santa Fe
Amsterdam | Berlin | Brussels | London | Paris | São Paulo | Toronto | China | India | Worldwide
 
Nowhere
Mimi
Raffi Kalenderian
Black Dragon Society
971 Chung King Road, Los Angeles, CA 90012
March 1, 2008 - April 5, 2008


A Look at Raffi Kalenderian
by Hong-An Truong


Raffi Kalenderian’s solo show at Black Dragon Society consists of portraits of young, disaffected twenty-somethings in an LA jungle of sorts. Painted with rather crude brush strokes, the people in his paintings are portrayed at an alienated distance – they sit or stand in wooden, stiff poses, paying attention but trying hard to come off like they are not.

What makes Kalenderian’s work compelling are the dark and gothic undertones of his portrayal of youth and landscape, interiors and exteriors. In “Rachel” (2007), a thin, angular young woman with dark hair stands awkwardly, her zebra-striped undershirt and shoes matching the zebra stripes that are the trunks of elongated trees behind her, the ironic geometric Chrysler logo on her t-shirt somehow mimicking the grey bricks in the wall. In all of his paintings, patterns on clothes, furniture, walls, architecture, and trees simultaneously collide and become the same thing. Figures blend into their backgrounds, becoming as inanimate as the objects around them; clothing (as style) becomes abstracted, and abstractions (as pattern) become things.

“Highlanders” (2008) is a triptych of three panel paintings, each portraying a person sitting in a plastic lawn chair on a porch overlooking a vast, and oddly green LA landscape. Ominous black clouds hang in the huge sky above them in fat swirls. In Kalenderian’s world, even the sky becomes as tangible and reified as a chair. It’s hard to resist Kalenderian’s cool and self-conscious paintings, especially his portrait of a portrait painting (“Three-headed Dog” 2007). In oval format, like a bad but oh-so-good thrift store painting from the 70s, Kalenderian’s rendition of a three-headed, ghoulish, wild dog tops the show’s dark, vampiric flavor.

- Hong-An Truong

(*Images, from top to bottom: Raffi Kalenderian, Raffi Kalenderian, March 1 - April 5, 2008; Black Dragon Society, Mimi, 2008, colored pencil, pastel, watercolor, graphite on paper; 16 x 12 in, Courtesy of the artist and Black Dragon Society, Los Angeles.  Raffi Kalenderian, Raffi Kalenderian, March 1 - April 5, 2008; Black Dragon Society, Rachel, 2007, oil on canvas, 84 x 48 in, Courtesy of the artist and Black Dragon Society, Los Angeles.  Raffi Kalenderian, Raffi Kalenderian, March 1 - April 5, 2008; Black Dragon Society, Highlanders, 2008, oil on canvas, 84 x 54 in each (triptych), Courtesy of the artist and Black Dragon Society, Los Angeles.  Raffi Kalenderian, Raffi Kalenderian, March 1 - April 5, 2008; Black Dragon Society, Three-Headed Dog, 2007, oil on canvas, 70 x 50 in, Courtesy of the artist and Black Dragon Society, Los Angeles.)



Posted by Hong-An Truong on 3/9/08

Related articles:






Copyright © 2006-2013 by ArtSlant, Inc. All images and content remain the © of their rightful owners.