Lucy Hagopian

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Earth Tones

Works of Two Abstract Expressionists

LOS ANGELES--Recent works by two Armenian artists living in Los Angeles, Lucy Hagopian and Narine Isajanyan, are currently on exhibition at the Don O'Melveny Gallery. "Earth Tones" showcases the works of two abstract expressionists who were raised on different continents (Narine from Yerevan and Lucy from Caracas), yet their work reflects on the Earth as environment and universe; their images resonate with the dissonances of modern consciousness struggling against the eternity of nature. Both have painted with soil, sand, rock, metal, wood and tar, mixed in acrylics with a bent toward deep terrestrial and oceanic colors.

Lucy Hagopian closely relates her work to her concern for the environment, as it motivates her, just as nature inspires her. But her work succeeds on its own apart from any social political reference by virtue of an aesthetic that performs a balancing act between representational and abstract impulses. It is as if she allows an instinct to portray a natural scene to transform into a deeper desire to create instead a landscape of her own inner universe, navigating with the aesthetics of abstract form, color, movement, and space.

Perhaps Hagopian's trademark distinction as an artist is her technique of painting with a car: driving wet painted tires over a canvas in repeated and controlled 'brush strokes.' The resulting images are then integrated, if not consumed by an array of other elements painted by hand.

Lucy explains her work best herself: "My work begins with a concept, but it doesn't end there. There is a give and take between chance and planning. I begin with an idea, yet allow the process of work to take its own course. Physical involvement and the action of painting is a constant part of the work. I switch from my mind to my heart, and allow my feelings, my instinct to guide me...The process of work takes its own course... and the end result is often a surprise to me...after its done I feel as I have known the work all my life."

Interplaying layers of paint creating transparencies versus opaque surfaces are used as poetic expressions. Visual images become symbols. She switches between the machine created images and what the human hand can create. The process becomes a reflection of life in Los Angeles. Historical, social, environmental, and personal meanings can be found in the paintings.