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’11 Steps Ahead: Future Forward Armenian American Visionaries,’ curated by Margarita Simonian
@ 7:00 PM - @ 4:00 PM
Opening Reception: Saturday, July 13, 7-10PM
Exhibition Dates: July 13 – August 3, 2019
Closing Gathering: Saturday, August 3, 2-4PM
While the original Futurists in Italy applied their aesthetics and social practices of technology and the industrial city to diverse artistic mediums in order to emphasize a movement of youth and the “new,” futurism as a term has since been tied to other movements using diverse genres in order to advance thought and artistic output. Notably, Afrofuturism has long explored how aspects of the African diaspora relate to technology by employing philosophy, science fiction among other forms to narrate a history and future that reflects an alternative imagining of culture.
The fate of Armenia and its own diaspora following the 1915 genocide saw a rapid dispersal of Armenians around the world, creating an integration of global influences and experiences in the Armenian people. Generations later, children of survivors of the genocide, born in diverse parts of the world and with wide-ranging cultural and artistic influences, have continued to alter their own histories – and futures – by inserting themselves into progressive artistic and scientific movements, no matter where they established new life.
The artists gathered here represent a shared inspiration from a constant exchange of diverse ideologies and cultures in the diaspora, each having created a unique sensitivity toward a certain future in their works. Their respective mediums – visual storytelling and graphic novels, production architecture, visual art, and design, tell a story of integrating history into a present image of reality in order to serve our collective future. These stories are fabricated both in the visual depictions of their imagery as well as the use of traditional materials and media of our present day.
– Margarita Simonian, resident and curator & Ben Evans, ace/121 Gallery director
Featuring works by:
Visual Storyteller/Graphic Novelist
Ian Dorian is a visual artist and writer who creates stories and characters in the hero and animation genres. Some of the most famous creators today work alongside him on his various creations. His past clients include 20th Century Fox, Marvel Productions, and many others.
He’s taught and lectured in the U.S. and abroad at some of the finest institutions for art and education. His flexible skills call to mind that of the early American illustrators while demonstrating a clear understanding of current trends supported by his intense studies in classical Greek and Renaissance art. Having worked freelance and in house as a creative director he is an avid fan of the collaborative experience.
His background outside of the visual arts includes ballet, modern dance, acting both on stage and in indie films, martial arts. His greatest creative inspirations are Victor Hugo, Edgar Allen Poe, William Shakespeare, Aeschylus, Michelangelo, Peter Paul Rubens, Polykleitos, Rodin and Delacroix.
Alexandre Maroutian, who signs his works as Amar, meaning “Summer” in Armenian, brings a certain soul to the gallery, engaging the future and the past simultaneously as a contemporary artist. Many clients implement his work for their interiors or exteriors with diverse requests, as he adapts the physical world to align with each unique astrological guiding light, leading him to define the characteristic of their personal preferences such as; colors, materials, shapes and themes.
Alexandre has an education of a non-figurative contemporary atmosphere, and he very much is in tune with the human. From acrylic, oil, and watercolor, on paper and beyond canvas. His abstract work uses bright flaming colors while he remains practiced in renaissance medieval sfumato painting techniques. His passions include rendering detailed drawings, illustrating profound or miraculous stories, digital compositions describing infinite backdrops in nature, or supernatural graphic designs, video discoveries of particle science, or depictions of miracles, and tiny decorative world of jewelry and fairy tales. He loves the world of fairy tales, mysteries, and miracles considering himself a servant of Beauty. His skills include a Gamut of techniques and materials. He can design, carve, cast, hammer, transforming materials like semi-precious stones, wood, ivory, bronze and copper into beautiful motifs, motes of history, and bas reliefs.
Alexandre studied art and craft from many different sources, including; art schools, masters, workshops and studying ancient cultures. One great humanist inspiration for him is the master of gestural abstraction, his contemporary, Vigen Tadevosyan; a calligrapher, graphic designer, philosopher, humanist, and an expert of contemporary art.
Award winning production architect Sevak Petrosian, practices a comprehensive skillset in constructing strong concepts, planning, art directing, and thus following through to Schematic Design and Design Development. Above all, he can integrate disciplines throughout the completion of large scale, multi-faceted entertainment, resort, theme park and water park projects in an international business environment. Sevak works very closely with the Show Designer to satisfy the integrity of the design and the story, while accommodating all the technical aspects of the project.
For 20 years Sevak took opportunities as lead designer and production architect in some of the largest companies in the industry such as Landmark Entertainment, Disney Imagineering, Paramount Parks, Universal Studios and Goddard Group. In working with these companies, Sevak contributed to concepts for Disney Shanghai, Six Flags Dubai Land, and for built projects like Star Trek the Experience In Las Vegas (US), Universal Studios (Osaka Japan), Dream World water Park and theme Park (Fushun China), and House of Magic at Galaxy resort & casino (Macau).
After receiving five Theme Entertainment Association (TEA) Awards, throughout the years for various attractions, he opened Nextep Design International in 2011. Sevak envisioned Nextep as a futurist firm where the process would involve design strategies that continuously take the project into the “Nextep”.
Sevak continues to work in multiple countries, aware of their local culture, and expresses initial concepts through his powerful hand drawn renderings. He works closely with his team to pull these concepts into specialized drawings and communicate with various vocational operators. Sevak uses his practical experience from built projects to fuel his ability for rational design, taking into account the entire process, including project limitations and local opportunities. His accomplishments in Entertainment Architecture, project process, efficient design and most importantly, team work, allows Sevak’s insight to provide every project with a unique, successful, reliable and friendly solution.