Armen Eloyan Confronting Natur und Kultur
Tim Van Laere Gallery is currently running the final two weeks of their last show from 2018, a solo exhibition by Armen Eloyan. Natur und Kultur is the Armenian artist's third solo showcase with the famed Antwerp-based gallery, presenting a new series of paintings featuring a tree stump as the main subject and theme of the work.
Regularly working with large-scale canvases, creating irreverent paintings of anthropomorphic figures, Eloyan approaches making paintings like telling a joke. His philosophy is that all the pieces have to come together in order for the piece to have the desired effect. Using dark humor, colorful palette, and thick, black outlines, he has created a coherent series of surreal images that are continuing onto each other, creating a comic-like storyline. With references to great pioneers in painting such as Willem de Kooning and Philip Guston, his characters and figures, often associated with childhood, are stripped of innocence and placed in much harsher reality full of vices and wrongdoings.
Built around the tree stump as the main, recurring figure, the notion of quirky, playful main character getting involved with the "dark side" of human culture, is what makes the works so captivating and intriguing. With most of them painted within the same format and composition but using a variety of colorways and additional elements, differing elements such as cigarettes, coffee cups, or beer bottles are directly opposing the consistent grin and wide open eyes of the main subject. The idea of using wood as the main theme is further extended to a smaller series of naughty modified furniture images, as well as a series of sculptural pieces. —Sasha Bogojev