My exhibition at the Armenian Museum of America

 

My exhibition at the Armenian Museum of America tork-wall3

 

From May 22 to July 28, 2013, the Armenian Library and Museum of America is featuring a solo exhibition of my work:  Talleen Hacikyan Prints and Illustrations.  This is the first time that  I am showing illustrations alongside of my prints.

 

museum

Armenian Museum and Library of America.

 

The Armenian Library and Museum of America (ALMA) is located in Watertown, in the Greater Boston area.  Founded in 1971, ALMA is home to a major collection of Armenian material culture, comprising over 20,000 artifacts, such as coins, textiles, rugs, religious artifacts, ceramics and illuminations.  The library holds over 27,000 titles. Besides being a repository of artifacts and books, ALMA is a living museum that hosts exhibitions and various cultural and literary events.

 

open-house3

Talleen Hacikyan Prints and Illustrations.

 

My exhibition is in the third floor gallery.  This vast space, with its grand piano and oriental rugs, has a warm and welcoming aura. I visited the museum for the first time on the day before the opening  of my show.  Gary Lind-Sinanian, the curator, had framed and hung my work beautifully.  When I walked into the gallery I felt as if I was stepping into familiar territory.  Yes, my art was there to greet me, however, the fact that I was in a building that treasures Armenian culture had everything to do with my sense of belonging.

 

tork

Talleen Hacikyan. Illustration for Tork Angegh. Acrylic, hand stamping, collage. 34 x 25 cm, 2007.

 

My show features the original illustrations and digital prints from Tork Angegh and Aesop’s FablesTork Angegh is a traditional Armenian folktale, translated into English by my father, Agop Hacikyan and published by Gomidas Institute .  Aesop’s Fables, by acclaimed British children’s author, Michael Rosen, was published by Tradewind Books and has just been released. I used the same technique for illustrating both books: acrylic paint with hand stamping and collage.  The hand stamping is evidence of the printmaker in me.  I  printed a variety of objects, from woodblocks designed for textile printing, to leaves and broccoli.

 

partridge_and_the_fighting_cocks

Talleen Hacikyan. Illustration for Aesop's Fables. Acrylic, hand stamping, collage, 31 x 31 cm, 2013.

 

In order to give an overview of my work in printmaking to this new public, I am presenting three series of prints.

 

icarus

Talleen Hacikyan, untitled, linocut, 38 x 28 cm, 2011.

 

The Icarus series of linocut prints is based on the myth The Fall of Icarus.  In the tradition of hand-drawn typography, each image represents a letter in the name Icarus and Icaro while illustrating my take on the classical story.

 

be-merry-and-go-

Talleen Hacikyan. Be Merry and Go Round, collagraphy, 56 x 76 cm, 2009.

 

The Animal Instincts series of collagraph prints uses animal imagery to create a metaphor of human emotions, where wolves, bears, and dogs symbolize the instinctive facet of human nature.

 

03_lifesaver

Talleen Hacikyan. Lifesaver, collagraphy, 38 x 28 cm, 2005.

 

In the Open House series of collagraph prints I explore human identity as it relates to the experience of home.  Homes are depicted as part of nature.  The experience of home, like the natural world, is subject to cyclical growth, change, destruction and rebirth.

 

On opening night I gave an informal talk, explaining my process with a slideshow, before answering questions from the public.  Susan Pattie, executive director of ALMA, asked  how printmaking informs my illustration work and vice versa.  These parallel artistic  practices are distinctive yet they have common threads and feed off each other.  My approach to printmaking has always been remarked for its narrative element.  The difference between my print based work and my illustration, however, is that the process is more intuitive when it comes to expressing myself through printmaking.  In the Icarus series, I definitely feel that my illustration experience is evident in the theme based images.

 

printed

Talleen Hacikyan. Detail from illustration for Aesop's Fables. Hand printed designs using a woodblock for textile printing.

 

As previously noted, in my illustrations I often use hand printed textures to embellish my images.  Another influence of printmaking is evident in my use of black and white in Tork Angegh.  The careful use of tonality is surely a result of years of printmaking, where the treatment of tones and values can make or break an image.

 

table2

Table with archival pigment ink jet prints of Aesop's Fables. Back wall: Tork Angegh illustrations.

 

Exhibiting my work in a new setting, in a new city, to a new public is an enriching experience.  It opens my eyes, lets me take a step back and objectively see what I have achieved and what I wish to accomplish in the future.

 

Talleen Hacikyan

Thank you Susan Pattie and Gary Lind-Sinanian for this wonderful opportunity.

Photo of  Talleen by Susan Pattie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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