Charles Garabedian

Docent Researcher_________Marcy Katz

Artist: Charles Garabedian

Dates of birth : 1923
Place of birth: Detroit, Mi of Armenian Heritage
Current residence: Santa Monica
Education: MA University of California, LA 1961
Major Shows/Galleries: most recent show was at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art from
Jan 22- May 1, 2011 representing his entire career of 50 years. His sculpture work was in
the Whitney Biennial
Employment: 60’s to 90’s he taught at UCLA, CalState University at Northridge, the Cal
Institute fo the Arts, the College of Creative Studies and Cooper Union among others.
Other: His mom died when he was two. His father became crippled and was left to raise
3 young children, so Charles grew up in an orphanage until age 9. He then moved to
California with his father, an uncle and his sisters in the midst of the depression. They
bought a chicken ranch in San Gabriel which failed.
A full bio can be found here:


Media: painting and drawing and later sculpture

Techniques Employed

Contextual information

Influences (historical/personal/political) his Armenian roots, the depression years, his tour
of duty in North Africa during WW2. Also influenced by other artists like Ed Carrillo, and
especially Ed Moses

Expressive Qualities (realistic, naturalistic, etc.): “His persistently individual
exploration of figure, landscape and subject matter paved the way for new generations of artists
who demonstrated a renewed focus on imaginative representations of the figure.”

He uses mythology as a reference and a guide for modern and contemporary man. His use of the
Iliad is one example

Subject Matter/ Themes/ Concept dealt with in the work: consistently narrative using figure and
landscape despite trends towards abstract over a 50 year career.

From LA Times, Jan 26,1990 by Cathy Curtis…

“Rummaging around in the rich trove of Charles Garabedian's recent paintings, a viewer finds
dollar signs, antique Greek torsos, square Aztec bodies, Pacific Northwest masks, arrowheads,
artichokes and clenched fists. A rhythmic pulse of images invented, repeated and discarded fuel
the larger, more intricate works. Rows of identical uptilted women's heads part like waves in an
enchanted sea. Clumsy figures the artist calls "mutants" lurch into wild "e" positions in a calmly
classical landscape. A Greek amphitheater looks oddly like a spaceship.”” Sure, sometimes the
artist goes over the deep end and works so nakedly the stuff begins to look corny. In "Man
Tearing His Heart Out," a Pygmy-like fellow reaches into his chest to remove the offending
organ. A nearby Lorelei seems to be the source of the poor guy's anguish. The subject for this
painting was recurring in his work. He did it in different media.

Other Comments/ Information about work or life

Anecdotal Information and Quotes

He was of the period of Art in the 60’s in Los Angeles . At 38 he was the oldest of a group
show, “Six Painters of the Rear Guard” at the Ceeje Gallery in 1962 just after graduating from

Quote from an interview by Anne Ayres, Aug 21-22, 2003:
“Yes, well, I’ve described my efforts in a funny way as the idea of trying self-consciously to
work with the hope of uncovering the unconscious, which is you might call a form of self-
analysis, or accidental self-analysis or a stream of consciousness. I painted with a stream of
consciousness looking for the unconscious, and of course, it shows up in the work where at some
point you hope that your work will mean something. At times you’ll say, “Who cares? I don’t
care; I just like to work, that’s all.” And that may be true, but there’s also the thing that secretly
you say, “I’d like to think that I have done something. And you say, “Well, the thing that I want
done is an uncovering of my soul.”


Books/Magazines/web links to articles

highlight which articles may be worth making a hard copy for the binder and give complete information
on references so that they can be found in the future