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Meghan Arlen | Obscured Geographies

 January 18 - February 24, 2024

NEW YORK, December 30, 2023—Atamian Hovsepian Curatorial Practice, in conjunction with the Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center, is pleased to announce Meghan Arlen’s Obscured Geographies, her first show at a major New York gallery. The work currently on exhibit was born out of the artist’s curiosity about land use and the monumental changes observed in the span of just one or two generations. Arlen was struck by the new and often surreal aerial geographies created by landscape alterations brought about by modern industrial agricultural farming, natural gas extraction, and large-scale residential developments. These changes of course are now visible to all simply by using Google Earth, or from the seat of a passenger airplane flying overhead. Arlen's anxiety about the large-scale processes that have produced these unnatural landscapes were at odds with the awe she felt about the eerily beautiful curves, colors, and compositions they created.

This collection of work—textural explorations of obscured aerial landforms—plays with movement and tactility. Obscured Geographies is also an ode to the medium of Venetian plaster and Arlen’s desire to use this material in new and creative ways. To observe the interplay of plaster with other materials, she incorporates charcoal, liquid iron, copper paint, gauze, fabric and other found textured and corrugated media. The results are beautifully intricate and wholly original.

Based in Brooklyn, Meghan Arlen studied fine arts as an undergraduate but has in recent years focused her energy on learning skilled trades. These include Venetian wall plaster application techniques, high-end interior design, specialty installation and fabrication, and building sculptural wood furniture. Beginning in 2015, Arlen apprenticed for several years under Justino Guerrero, a Los Angeles master Venetian plasterer. She concurrently worked for LA-based designer Andrea Michaelson, a savant in innovative material design, including metal, wood, glass, plaster, plastic, stingray skin, leather, and fabric. In 2021 Arlen moved to New York, where she undertook training in carpentry, learning to build sculptural, solid wood furniture from milling to finishing. She approaches her art practice as an artisan, submitting to the sometimes physically strenuous efforts that her material demands. Her recent work conveys her love for the historically two-dimensional medium of painting and a desire to explore its capabilities and create works where the wall plaster steps off the wall or canvas and becomes more relief than flat.

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