Charles Garabedian: A Retrospective

In a sweeping career of nearly 50 years, and an impressive array of grand narrative paintings, Charles Garabedian (born 1923) has recreated the epic poetry that he has long admired. He has paid homage to the ancient bards Ovid and Virgil, as well as to early Renaissance painters through his fascination with the human figure, an uncharacteristic trait for a late 20th to early 21st century painter. Garabedian is, in the fine California tradition, a maverick. He is also one of the most gifted and thoughtful artists of recent decades, so the Santa Barbara Museum of Art is proud to present the first major solo exhibition of his works in almost 30 years with Charles Garabedian: A Retrospective.

This presentation brings together approximately 60 works from museums and private collections across the United States, representing the artist’s entire career. While Garabedian may not be a household name, his accomplishments and influence among artists on the West Coast during this time period have been substantial. 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.

Garabedian’s paintings and works on paper explore themes of war, music, the body, dismemberment, heroism, comic pretension, love, and death—all conveyed with a sense of immediacy, intimacy, and poignancy.While ancient characters and tales, including The Iliad, Romeo and Juliet, the Minotaur, and Apollo and Daphne, are evident sources, underlying the work is the artist’s own elegiac confrontation with the joys and struggles that pervade our daily lives. Each painting or drawing creates its own world yet also reflects the turbulent times in which it was made. This exhibition is made possible through the generosity of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Grace Jones Richardson Trust, Jill and John C. Bishop, Jr., Zora and Les Charles, Jane and Ken Anderson, Marianne and Norman F. Sprague III, LLWW Foundation, and The Broad Art Foundation.

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