Gabo

Biography:
Born in 1957 Yerevan, Armenia
1974-1978 Studied at the Panos Terlemezian Arts College, Yerevan, Armenia
1987 Graduated from Yerevan State Institute of Fine Arts Theatre, Yerevan, Armenia
Since 2015 Gabo holds the title of Honorable Artist of Republic of Armenia

Group Exhibitions:
2017 Places Faces Spaces, Ararat Gallery, Glendale, USA
2014 Beauty in the Palm, Beirut, Lebanon
2014 Selected Artworks 2014, Vienna, Austria
2013 Sensual Revelations, Beirut, Lebanon
2013 Selected Artworks, Beirut, Lebanon
2013 10th Anniversary of Arame Art Gallery, Yerevan, Armenia
2012 Symphony of Colors, Beirut, Lebanon
2012 Grand Opening of a New Art Center of Arame Art Gallery, Yerevan, Armenia
2011 Contemporary Istanbul Art Fair, with Galeri 77, Istanbul, Turkey
2011 UNESCO Palace, Beirut, Lebanon
2010 Yerevan, Armenia
2010 Beirut, Lebanon
2007 Rome, Italy
2006 Paris, France
2004 Zurich, Switzerland
2003 Moscow, Russia
2003 Los Angeles, USA
2000 London, England
1999 Sophia, Bulgaria
1999 Damask, Syria
1989 Moscow, Russia

Personal Exhibitions:
2013 National Center of Aesthetics, Yerevan, Armenia
2009 Los Angeles, USA
2005 Yerevan, Armenia
2004 Los Angeles, USA
1999 Sophia, Bulgaria
1998 Yerevan, Armenia
1993 New York, USA
1984 Moscow, Russia
1980 Yerevan, Armenia


Gabo’s art reflects a world of fantasy and magic and tells a compendium of fairytales that are left to the imagination for interpretation. His work can be described as ‘Fantastic realism’ or ‘Fantasy art’, which is derived from both Surrealism and Abstract art movements.

Gabo is one of the most positive and imaginative artists in the panorama of contemporary Armenian art. His paintings suggest an impressive intellect of a man who is well informed about the latest tendencies in Modern Art. Gabo’s kingdom is inhabited by fancy creatures, but these are not some strangers from other planets. They are familiar people of the Earth presented in a strange, unusually exaggerated interpretation. His extraordinary characters represent full of curiosity and joy for life, ready to plunge into the unknown and discover new landscapes and horizons. Gabo is no different. Easily and freely runs his non-verbal dialogue with these fanciful personages. In one single painting he tries to fulfill all the desires of these intense-living creatures, who are no less greedy than himself. He resembles them, he loves them, and they love him as well. This is a positive greed. Irving Stone gives this concept a precise and well-grounded definition: a "Quest for Life".

Gabo's characters either have weirdly shaped fingers or their legs are impossibly stretched, as though made of elastic. What immediately attracts the attention of the onlooker is Gabo's palette. Vivid hues of red, blue, purple, yellow and green form an enjoyable panorama, very different from what we usually see. His style bears some resemblance to certain works by Pablo Picasso, thanks to Gabo's cubistic and disarticulated renderings of the human body.


Review:
      What I remember from geometry is; “Every straight line is shorter than a curve one”. Creativity is the hardest yet the only dignified path in art to follow. Any turns to the left or to the right are equally unacceptable. The background has changed, the decoration and the cast but it has remained unchanged in its essence. Still there is a bunch of gifted young people of art currently working in Armenia. It makes no sense speaking about their welfare as it doesn’t exist at all. Today, an artist has to rely on his own fate. But there are two sides of the coin…
      Lives of the new generation artists have quite a lot in common. Fortunately, this is not true for their works. The training period is usually considered as a preparatory, preliminary stage.
      Gabriel Manoukian has gone through numerous trials and attempts up to surrealism and abstraction. His paintings suggest an impressive intellect of a man who is well informed about the latest tendencies in Modern Art. His shortened name, Gabo, is quite known both in Armenia and abroad. The first impression from his works is a kind of a sudden shock. Are they illustration for some unknown fairy-tales or fantastic stories? However, they are neither. Although, the paintings do sound incredible and fantastic. It is easy to perceive Gabriel’s creations also because he has no forefathers in the national art, and it looks like there won’t be followers either.
      Gabriel is a joyful man and a confirmed optimist. No surprise, one of his series that never halts like a perpetual engine, is entitled “Ha-ha, hee-hee!”. He lives with that very instant, and this is what makes his art so attractive. I have never been present at this instant of creation in his studio. But I have a feeling that when he is left alone to create his images, he is chatting and laughing with them. In other words, he is never alone in his solitude.
      Gabriel’s imagination has no boundaries. The volcanic style of his everlasting creativity is just amazing. His kingdom is inhabited by fancy creatures, but these are not some strangers from other planets. They are familiar people of the Earth presented in a strange, unusually exaggerated interpretation. Easily and freely runs Gabriel’s non-verbal dialogue with representatives of flora and fauna.
      The only thing one might scorn Gabriel for, is his excessive insatiability for dreams, which are never compatible with his possibilities. And this holds true for whatever he does. He constantly reconstructs and re-designs his small apartment on the eight floor. He is just unwilling to accept the reality that whatever “extension” is made the space will never be increased.
      In one single painting he tries to solve all the problems of his imaginative creatures who are no less greedy than himself. He resembles them, he loves them, and they love him as well. This is a positive greed. Irving Stone gives this concept a precise and well-grounded definition, a “Quest for Life”

Henrik Igitian, Art critic