Born in 1923 in Detroit, of Armenian heritage, Charles Garabedian has spent most of his life in Southern California. As a painter, Garabedian created an incredibly personal iconography that deals with subjects like the mythos of creation, the fall from the Garden of Eden, and the nature of men and women, good and evil. He has freely borrowed from, especially, Greek and Chinese mythology in forming his unique vocabulary of pictorial content.
Garabedian was the subject of a phenomenal, large retrospective at the Santa Barbara Museum in 2011. For those who don’t know it, this museum is quite large for a small city, and boasts a collection of about 27,000 pieces, spanning most of the history of art. It has a top notch curatorial staff that puts up significant exhibitions. The scope and quality of its collection put the Santa Barbara Museum just under the top tier of major city institutions. It opened in 1941, in what was formerly a post office.
Unfortunately there were not enough good images available online to show as much of Garabedian’s work, and its variety, as I would have liked. Nonetheless, here is a small selection, to give you a feel for him. I hope you find his original style and attitude as compelling and interesting as I do.
Garabedian continued his education after fighting in the Air Force during WWII. First at the University of California, Santa Barbara, then at USC, and finally at UCLA, over an eighteen year period, he worked his way through his undergraduate and MFA studies. He continues to paint, in his 90th year, in the studio he has occupied in Los Angeles for over thirty years. His “bold, bright, energetic palette”, and love of the nude form, continues unabated.