Signs of the Times

Garo Zareh Antreasian (American, 1922-)

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Here, the space between the viewer and the opposite side of the street is condensed and flattened. The buildings push forward, and the canvas becomes a nearly abstract arrangement of rhythmic vertical rectangles and circles in a simplified color scheme. When this painting was created, Antreasian had not yet committed to printmaking, but it shows his early interest in geometry, strong verticals, and abstraction. These elements recur in many of his prints, including those shown in this exhibition.

Antreasian was still a student at the John Herron Art School when he made this painting, from memory, of a building on Washington Street in downtown Indianapolis. It won a top award at L.S. Ayres department store’s 75th Anniversary Exhibition for Indiana artists in 1947.

Indiana

Garo Antreasian was born in Indianapolis, Indiana and attended Arsenal Technical High School where he became involved with lithography. He received his formal art training at the Herron School of Art and studied printmaking at the Art Students League in New York, and at Atelier 17. During the 1950s Antreasian taught at Herron and then became the first technical director of the Tamarind Lithography Workshop in Los Angeles, which moved to the University of New Mexico in 1970. Antreasian’s paintings and prints incorporate innovative materials and techniques such as printing on metal foil, using metallic inks, embossing the print surface, and collage. His paintings intersperse geometric linear configurations with color fields and shapes.

Antreasian was an instructor at the Herron School of Art when he painted Signs of the Times. It shows the Union Title Building at the Southeast corner of Washington and Pennsylvania, where several local artists, including Antreasian had established studios. In this image Antreasian tries to maintain a balance between realism and abstraction. The “One Way” arrow and “Vote Now” pennant reflect the artist’s interest in the random, evocative signs of our civilization. The forms also suggest the hypnotic allure of marks, such as “S” and “13” in the foreground, which have no obvious meaning.

Reference

Garo Z. Antreasian. Garo Z. Antreasian: A Retrospective, 1922-1987, New Mexico: Albuquerque Museum, 1988. ASIN: B0006EQ104.

Object Information

artist
Garo Zareh Antreasian (American, 1922-)
creation date
1947
materials
Oil on Masonite
dimensions
30-1/2 x 40 in.
38-1/2 x 48-1/2 in. (framed)
accession number
51.31
credit line
James E. Roberts Fund
copyright
© Garo Antreasian
collection
Contemporary Art
colors

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