Sam Grigorian


Although incidental references to notational factors such as writing and musical notation recur in his work, Grigorian is principally interested in texture, structure, and muted coloration. He achieves a relatively uniform (if still vital) "skin" by layering, treating, and scratching away outer layers. Not preoccupied with qualities of weathering, Grigorian subtly depends on them to achieve tonal balance from area to area. The bigger the work, the more it becomes a map or topography, regions defining themselves and roads and borders emerging to connect them. Color, even in the most decorative arrangements, enters quietly and maintains a respectful subordination to composition.


Grigorian’s Armenian roots become visible through his special relation to paper, which he makes by hand before using it. As the artist strips back layers on the canvas, enigmatic signs begin to appear. These newly arranged signs become elements of a coded language of personal marks blended together with emblems of traditional symbols, making the loss of the oral tradition in the Armenian diaspora visible and tangible. 


Sam Grigorian (b. 1957, Yerevan, Armenia) received his B.A from Art Academy, Yerevan, Armenia, in 1977. Grigoian’s work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions globally including the Musèe du Luxemburg (Paris, France); the Museum of Modern Arts (Yerevan, Armenia); Anna Pappas Gallery (Melbourne, Australia); and Galerie Tammen (Berlin, Germany). His work is in the permanent collections of institutions including the New Orleans Museum of Art (New Orleans, LA); and the Museum of Modern Art (Yerevan, Armenia).