An artist’s lifelong fascination with birds comes into view on the heels of one of the most miraculous stories of survival from the past decade. The result, is a majestic new gallery show in New York, with one of the best show titles we’ve seen in a long, long time.
Dutch artist Vahakn Arslanian is known for his prolific mixed-media works that revolve around images of birds, candles and airplanes. Deaf since birth, the now 34-year-old Arslanian creates an innocent, yet powerful canvas, centered around themes of demolition, personal spirituality and savage beauty. This exhibition will feature several of the artist’s recent large-scale drawings, along with a select group of paintings and drawings executed since 2001.
Though he’s had little formal training, Arslanian’s work is striking, mixing a surrealist sensibility with obsessive details like burnt paper, shards of glass, and discarded window frames that are used create a unique picture-frame for each work. The show’s title comes from Arslanian’s fascination with birds and airplanes, and his interest in spirituality and religion. Of course, it’s also a nod to the heroic efforts of US Airways pilot Sully Sullenberger, who deftly landed a troubled plane in the Hudson River earlier this year. The plane lost power after its engines struck a flock of birds — one of the main themes of Arslanian’s show. Coincidentally, the show is also taking place at the Maccarone Gallery, just a block from the Hudson.
The exhibition is on view at the Maccarone Gallery on Greenwich Street until May 2nd.