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William R. Talbot Fine Art opens "Under a Western Sky: Photographs by Craig Varjabedian"
Pete Visits the Martinez Hacienda, Taos, New Mexico, 2003. Photograph © Craig Varjabedian.

SANTA FE, NM.- A sense of the eternal and the ephemeral pervades Craig Varjabedian’s work. Throughout his photographic oeuvre, we perceive the history that infuses the western landscape through the momentary illuminations brought to it by seasonal storms or crystalline light. So too, his portraits reveal the spark of the individual while often representing long standing cultures and traditions. His views of vernacular architecture exhibit similar characteristics—iconic, yet very much alive.

In the West, we are accustomed to temporal layers, and sometimes just the right light has the capacity to transform our awareness. Herein lies the magic of this artist who is joined to his subject and all its intricacies. As Varjabedian states, “Western landscape has long been a part of the American imagination. But rather than focus on a specific imaginative idea, my work communicates directly to the imagination: not the land, but what the land does to us. I look at intimate relationship with landscape and its elements, such as light and texture, to create metaphors. Therefore, the work transcends the boundaries of ordinary perception. It is as much about receptivity as it is creativity.”

While he has made New Mexico his home, Varjabedian’s pursuit of the unique qualities of the American West has compelled him to explore the heights, crevices, and plains of the greater Rocky Mountain region. This exhibition of Varjabedian’s photographs will appeal to anyone who has experienced an illuminating moment under a western sky, as well as anyone who would like to.

“There’s something fresh and now about his work, even though it’s really classical. People can feel like it’s happening today, and to them, right at this place.” —Cathy Wright, Director, The Albuquerque Museum of Art & History

The most recent of Varjabedian’s numerous awards is the 2013 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards prize for Art Book, in recognition of Landscape Dreams, A New Mexico Portrait.

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