FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Black Maria Gallery Presents
“The Coffin Show: Between Life and Death”
October 8 – November 10, 2005
Opening Reception: Saturday, October 8, 7 PM


Black Maria Gallery
3137 Glendale Blvd., Atwater Village, CA 90039
Contact, Zara Zeitountsian
(818) 613-9090, (323) 660-9393
Web site, <http://www.blackmariagallery.com>
E-mail, <blackmaria_gallery@sbcglobal.net>
Hours, Tuesday – Saturday, 12-6pm; and by appointment



Los Angeles – Black Maria Gallery announced the opening of a new exhibition, entitled “The Coffin Show: Between Life and Death.” Featuring the works of 16 Los Angeles-area artists, the exhibition will open on October 8 at 7:00pm.

According to gallery owner Zara Zeitountsian, each of the participating artists was given an actual coffin and asked to transform it into a work of art and a personal statement.

“Given the diverse stylistic and cultural backgrounds of the artists, their individual points of view, I think we’ll have a quite a collection of creative approaches to the theme,” said Zeitountsian. “In terms of pure functionality, a coffin is certainly one of the most somber, unsightly objects imaginable, meant to be forever buried or tucked away following a funeral service. But redefine it as a work of art, and it springs to life in all sorts of unexpected ways.”
 
Sam Saghatelian (Saga), curator of Black Maria Gallery, continued: “In Western culture and many other cultures around the world, the funeral, and more specifically the coffin, can be viewed as a halfway point between the enigma of life and the mystery of death. As a receptacle for the dead, a coffin is perhaps the only concrete, tactile punctuation mark between the two realms. The works shown in our exhibition represent the artists’ personal take on death – and, as importantly, life – through the prism of the funerary object.”

Participants of “The Coffin Show” comprise both established and emerging local artists, who have used various media for their exhibited works.

Black Maria Gallery also announced that a portion of the proceeds from the exhibition will be donated to the “Caravan of Hope” project, launched by KPFK and Veterans for Peace Chapter 110 Orange County, CA for victims of the recent hurricane that devastated The Gulf Coast.

“The Coffin Show” will kick off on Saturday, October 8, at 7 PM, and will remain open until Wednesday, November 2.

Black Maria is located at 3137 Glendale Boulevard in Los Angeles. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday 12 to 6 PM. For more information, call 818.613.9090.

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ARTIST INFORMATION
 
Mari Araki
’s early influence came from Carlo Mollino, one of the most acclaimed photographers of the early 1960s. When she was 12 she began to dabble with stream-of-consciousness drawing, which she credits as a major element in her art. <http://www.mariaraki.com>

A former resident of Texas, Thomas Lee Bakofsky routinely draws inspiration from his ties to the border town of El Paso. He is currently pursuing his artistic goals in Pasadena, California. During his two-year stay thus far he has had his work exhibited in numerous group shows. He is the recipient of several awards. <http://www.bakofsky.com>

A painter, author, playwright, and actor, Vahe Berberian was born in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1955. He grew up in Beirut in an intellectual milieu. His parents’ home was a meeting place open to friends from the worlds of theatre, literature, and the arts. He later relocated to Los Angeles, where he has been a resident since 1976. Vahe studied art in both Lebanon and the United States, and earned a degree in journalism with honors in 1980. Vahe has participated in more than 30 individual and group exhibitions <http://www.vaheberberian.com/exhibitions.html> throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and the Middle East. His work has made its way into the prestigious homes of collectors <http://www.vaheberberian.com/collectors.html> such as opera director Peter Sellars; actress Mariett Hartley; former director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Ernest Fleischmann; filmmaker Atom Egoyan; and Paris fashion designer Sonia Rykel, among others.  <http://www.vaheberberian.com>

Gregory Beylerian
studied design and photography in New York and Italy. He partnered with Disney’s top character artist to create a new millennium identity for Mickey Mouse, using digital technology. His work has been featured on a P. J. Harvey music video and in the feature film “Thirteen.” Beylerian’s current projects include large-scale public and corporate interior and exterior murals achieved through new processes and technologies. Beylerian’s techniques have been acknowledged in print and television including “The Los Angeles Times” and CNN.  <http://www.gregorybeylerian.com>

Gary Garay uses the homespun vernacular of street vendor advertising, cultural icons, and visual slang to comment on themes such as consumerism and cultural integration. Familiar imagery is adopted and redirected as a new, highly personal language. The results are displayed in expansive, energetic installations which mirror the impact of street signs and the ever-escalating competition for advertising space. <http://www.garygaray.com>

Frieda Gossett
was born in Florida. After savoring the first 37 years of her life, she mysteriously enrolled at the Pasadena Art Center College of Design, and three years later graduated with a BFA. She lives and works in Pasadena. <http://friedagossett.com>

Pamela Henderson’s
work draws from her own life experience, with imagery ranging from object portraiture to narrative scenes that manage to elicit beauty and malevolence at the same time. <http://www.pamelahenderson.com>

Jason Houchen
is a young Midwestern artist with a BFA from the University of Missouri. Upon his arrival in Los Angeles, he found a new world of underground and lowbrow art, which has influenced him greatly. His paintings are a collage of Midwestern antiquity with hints of his new surroundings.
 
Jack Howe lives in Santa Cruz, California. A self-taught assemblage artist, he attended three years of high school where instead of exemplary work he did expellatory work. His works are narrative pieces encoded with antique bits and pieces that tell a story, reflecting his appreciation of decay. “The Los Angeles Times” commented: “…the veneer of time lay heavily over all.” Jack has exhibited in New York, San Francisco, and many other cities. In Los Angeles he has exhibited at La Luz de Jesus since the early 1990s and also at Patricia Correia Gallery, along with the Don O’Melveny Gallery. His work has appeared in major and indie films and is part of numerous corporate and private collections. <http://www.members.aol.com/howedoll>

Tate Mosesian was born into an eclectic household in Hollywood, California in 1967. His father, an actor, and his mother, an artist and printmaker, helped provide an environment full of creative stimulation for an aspiring artist. Tate received a BFA with honors in Illustration from the Pasadena Art Center College of Design in 1991. After college, while continuing to pursue his painting, he worked as an illustrator for clients such as RCA, Giant Records, SST, and Sony Music. This eventually segued into employment as an artist in the rapidly emerging computer entertainment industry. His talents have been employed at some of the industry’s most cutting-edge companies including Disney Computer Software, Capcom, Sony Computer Entertainment, and Naughty Dog. Tate currently resides in Silver Lake with his wife Sophia Gasparian, who is also an accomplished artist, and their son Lucky.

Dave Leamon was born in Guam in 1968. He has been an artist for as long as he has been allowed to play with sharp objects. Dave claims inspiration from a myriad of sources, including high-speed television chases, tabloid stories about five-legged animals, microwave burritos, and 99-cent sake. “I think the challenge is to present subject matter that most people deem unacceptable or unattractive, and make it appealing,” Dave says. “Also, there are more than enough artists painting flowers and bunnies. You need to try to achieve equilibrium by creating a netherworld filled with booze and bums to ensure that the natural balance of the universe is maintained. It’s my job to maintain that balance. <http://www.twistedvisuals.com>

Chantal Menard’s attendance of Catholic School, coupled with constant reminders of her Dutch-Indonesian heritage, has made for a profound fascination with the art and magic of “ritualistic practices.” The daily acts of sacrificial devotion incorporating iconic imagery, relics, and altars are ingrained into Chantal’s core and will continually play a heavy role in her work and her being. A series of Chantal’s “Body Modification” photography and poetry will be released in Europe in 2006. Also forthcoming is her new contribution to the book Hand Made. Chantal is exploring possibilities in performance art and is in a new phase of her jewelry/merchandise line called “BONE AMIE.” Sean Cheetham’s portrait of Chantal Menard holds the prestigious honor of being featured in the National Portrait Gallery of London. <http://www.chantalmenard.com>

Sam Saga (Saghatelian) graduated from Yerevan Institute of Architecture and pursued a career in architecture, until in 1988, at the brink of the collapse of the USSR and Armenia’s independence, he started his journey as an artist. He was one of the artists representing the Armenian Pavilion at the 2001 Venice Biennale, and his works are part of the permanent collection of the Armenian Museum of Contemporary Art. Inspired by the innovative and American art scene, Sam Saga now lives and works in Los Angeles.  <http://www.samsaghatelian.com>

Gin Stevens has been influenced by the deep-southern culture that has surrounded him at an early age. Upon turning 17 he took the Greyhound north, from his hometown of Rolling Fork, Mississippi, for Chicago, dreaming of enrolling at the Art Institute of Chicago. But in the Windy City Gin soon discovered that school was not for him. Instead he opted for the punk rock theory of “doing it yourself.” His work has echoes of the visionaries and hucksters that populate Flannery O’Connor’s Gothic southern landscape or the fevered imaginations that drive Faulkner’s characters, along with the songs of early Delta Blues musicians. His work is done all on scratchboard, where he captures the mood of the dark and mysterious history of the south. Gin now lives in Los Angeles, where he has exhibited his work in numerous galleries and has created album covers and rock posters.

Sev. Born in Armenia, Sev started his career as a writer until he met a group of underground artists and joined their ranks. As a member of the 3rd Floor art group and later as a member of the international art group BUNKER, Sev took part in about 60 exhibitions and auctions in Armenia, Russia, Lithuania, Estonia, France, and Germany from 1987 to 1999. His works are part of the permanent collections of the Modern Art Museum of Yerevan, Narva City Museum in Estonia; Panevezhiss City Museum in Lithuania, and Museum of Contemporary Art of Madeline, Colombia. Sev now lives and works in Los Angeles.

Jaime Zollars graduated with distinction from the Pasadena Art Center College of Design. Jaime has received recognition for her illustrations from “American Illustration,” the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles, the RSVP Illustration Annual, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and “CMYK Magazine.” She also has a photography degree from the University Of Maryland, Baltimore County. Jaime is currently working on her first children’s book, which will be published in spring 2006. <http://www.jaimezollars.com>




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