Renowned NM printmaker’s work on display at RMAC 6/11

June 2, 2011 • Local News, State News

The Roswell Museum and Arts Center will feature the works of Garo Antreasian, a pioneer of New Mexican lithographic printmaking, June 11, in the exhibition Garo Antreasian: Lyrical Geometries.

Antreasian, perhaps New Mexico’s most renowned printmaker, started his work in the state at University of New Mexico in 1970 by founding UNM’s Tamarind Institute. The 89-year-old Antreasian can still recall the story of his introduction to lithography printmaking as a teenager in Indianapolis.

“I was a high school student and my art teacher gave individual assignments to the students in her class. My assignment, along [auth] with my buddy, was to learn the secret of (the) lithography press in the art department. We went to the library to find out whatever we could, which in those days, was very meager,” Antreasian said.

Antreasian said that he draws inspiration from various mediums before creating his prints, including other artists’ works, books and his own personal heritage. The geometrically-inspired prints take days to weeks to create, according to Antreasian.

“Much of my work is sort of geometric. Mostly with straight lines, not so much curved lines. I don’t know what the reason is for that, but I have a fascination for verticals and horizontals and sometimes diagonals,” he said. “And of course, a lot of that also comes from Middle Eastern Islamic art, which also is derivative of geometry.”

Although Antreasian is known throughout the world for his lithographic prints, he is also an author and painter. In Lyrical, several of his diptych acrylic paintings like Anatoyla, Jamporte and Palatine will be featured. Antreasian described his paintings and their seemingly lithographic inspired look.

“There was a time when my prints were derivative of things that I was painting. Later, a lot of times my painting became derivative of what I was painting,” Antreasian said. “After I retired from teaching and no longer had access to printing facilities, I returned full time to painting and drawing.”

Antreasian received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from John Herron Art Institute in 1948. In 1960, he founded the Tamarind Institute in Los Angeles with June Wayne and Clinton Adams. Today, he is an emeritus professor of art at UNM and continues to draw, paint and open exhibitions around the U.S.

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