Although artist Michael Mararian resides in Buffalo, his works are normally viewed outside the area for a plethora of reasons. One of those reasons is that he is an accomplished artist, who has built up a following that extends across the country and around the world. Whenever I run into Michael he’s always telling me about his upcoming shows in NYC, and on the West Coast.
Michael has exhibited his works at Corey Helford Gallery and Thinkspace Gallery in Los Angeles, Bristol City Museum in Bristol England, Galerie D’Art Yves Laroche in Montreal, Last Rites Gallery in New York City and the Antonia Fraunberg Gallery in Dusseldorf, Germany, to name a few. It’s highly unusual for this particular artist to show his works in Buffalo, which is why I was so surprised when I saw that he was scheduled to show at Hallwalls.
Michael’s works of art are not for the faint of heart. Most of his works, that I am aware of, deal with the subject matter of kids and babies in highly precarious situations – being chased by a bear, getting caught in machinery, falling from zeppelins. I’ve spoken to Michael about his rather morbid works, and all I can tell you is that he’s got a great, yet disturbing, sense of humor, and is not afraid to take chances when it comes to his topics. The interesting thing is that, for the most part, the paintings are so absurd that they tend to catch the viewer off guard. Yes, we’re looking at a baby falling out of a zeppelin… the fantastically awkward back story is left to your own imaginations. By the time that you even lay your eyes upon his works, it’s too late… you’ve been sucked in to the artist’s world.
According to a Hallwalls’ release, “Mararian is successfully functioning as a classic figurative painter, utilizing his subjects to reflect back to the viewer notions about society, perceived roles, consumerism, violence, and a host of emotional and psychological reverberations.”
Michael’s outlandish views of society are taken a bit more seriously when he dolls up his paintings with the provoking innocence of children. It’s a crazy world that we live in when the viewer can’t help but ask, “What’s next?”
Opening Reception: Friday, September 12, 2014, 8 to 11 pm
Artist Talk: Friday, September 12, 2014, 8pm
Exhibition continues through October 3.