Vachagan Narazyan, “Entertainment I,” oil, 29 1/2 x 31-1/2 inches

A Ukrainian artist will soon showcase his hauntingly gorgeous paintings during a solo exhibition in Santa Fe this summer. His work is poetic, rebellious, and enchanting. Find out who the esteemed host is and when the curtain comes down.

“Fantastical oil paintings that evoke a sense of freedom, haunting beauty and enchanting mystery,” is how Meyer Gallery describes the work of Ukrainian artist Vachagan Narazyan. The Santa Fe, New Mexico, gallery will open “Shapito-Circus,” a solo exhibition of the artist’s newest work, on June 30. An opening reception will be held on the 30th from 5-7 p.m.

Narazyan is an important member of the nonconformist art movement of the former Soviet Union, and his paintings are often described as poetic, but also rebellious in “response to the repression he experienced working as a professional artist under Soviet rule,” as the gallery writes. “The artist graduated from the Kharkiv Art and Industrial Institute in 1979 during the height of the nonconformist art movement and began painting in a dissident style to socialist realism, which artists were mandated to adhere to under Soviet rule. Rather than abide by his strictly classical training, the artist risked imprisonment to paint imaginative oil paintings largely themed around his boyhood memories of the circus, which he can recall setting up in the town square just below the front window of his grandparents’ home in Russia. As a boy, Narazyan was fascinated by the romantic lifestyle of the performers who traveled from village to village sharing alluring stories from places unknown to the young artist. Narazyan’s naive intrigue resurfaced as romanticized fantasy when he began his art career. The artist combined his mastery of old world techniques with new age imagery to form a secretive style that was uniquely his own, one that he continues to work in today with renewed symbolism and character models. Narazyan’s storybook scenes are poetic, dreamlike visions with whimsical characters in magical settings, uninhibited by the constraints of a mandated lifestyle.”

The exhibition will continue through July 6. To learn more, visit Meyer Gallery.

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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