Annemari Vardanyan: Inside My Mind

4619 West Washington Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90016
Mar 25, 2 PM - 5 PM — ends Apr 29, 2023
Lowell Ryan Projects is pleased to present a solo exhibition titled Inside My Mind by Prague-based artist Annemari Vardanyan. The exhibition will feature eight large-scale unstretched paintings on canvas stapled directly to the walls of the gallery, as well as two medium-sized canvas works. Originally from Armenia, Vardanyan’s works depict quotidian scenes of life as a student—at home in her bedroom, with groups of fellow classmates hanging out, or simply a wall with windows in her home. These psychological portraits explore the spaces between uncertainty and place, and between alienation and hope. A recent graduate of The Academy of Fine Arts in Prague this will be Vardanyan’s first solo exhibition.

Vardanyan’s practice has roots in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the ethnic and territorial conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan that has been ongoing since 1988, and which eventually led Vardanyan’s family to flee the region. While Vardanyan was young when her family left Armenia, bringing few worldly possessions and a hope for a better life free of conflict and ethnic persecution, she spent her teenage years not just developing her own sense of self and purpose, but acclimating to a new culture, while attempting with her family to retain vestiges their own ethnic heritage. Vardanyan’s experiences are reflected in works that can appear mundane and almost universal in depictions of young students dressed in clothes influenced by a global culture, the result of years of social media and the spread of the internet. However, her experiences do not go unnoticed as a sense of quietness appears in the works. The artist explains “the title of the exhibition, In My Mind, stems from this idea that behind the curtain of everyday banality, each of us can see a completely different reality.”

The paintings in In My Mind illustrate the artist coming to terms with her own identity. Often the works depict the same figure in different positions in the same room. Vardanyan discusses, “I have always had the strong feeling that a person’s identity should come primarily from their inner individuality, from the realm of the most intimate experience, which gradually has the potential to reveal to us the horizon of broader social, historical, cultural, and political contexts.” As time past living in the Czech Republic, Vardanyan realized that her new home would become part of herself, however through her paintings she depicts subtle references to her homeland. Armenian iconography such as carpet patterns that dissolve into the curtains are depicted in the works. The installation of the unstretched canvases themselves is a reference to a mode of hanging carpets, in addition to a means of envisioning a larger work and expanded narrative. For Vardanyan that expanded narrative is not just one of her own life and continued development of self, but also an acknowledgment that while her personal experience has and can still feel isolating, it is in fact human—reflecting that her emotions have been and are felt by many others.