Contributed by Lisa Taliano / It’s no easy task to determine how many dimensions there are in the string paintings of Eozen Agopian, now on view at High Noon Gallery on the Lower East Side. The artist’s heterogeneous low-relief assemblages consist of scraps of patterned fabric and colorful second-hand threads on soak-stained canvases littered with brushy paint effects. They produce a multiplicity of frayed and contradictory edges that make it hard to situate points in a single position in space. Being in more than one place at the same time synchronizes her nomadic state with her interior worlds.
“Overcrossing,” the title of the show, refers to the similarity between the macro activity of the artist in traveling back and forth between Athens and New York, and the micro activity of the colored threads crossing over the surface of the stained canvases. Agopian collapses and condenses the kinesthetic body moving through space into the movement of the hand threading the string over and into the picture plane. As the needle punctures the canvas, the painting becomes an object of a mysterious sort. It withdraws from the viewer while displaying its interior core, in which one thing is converted into another and the sum of the parts are always greater than the whole.
Each painting is filled with textured and patterned material representations of perceptions and feelings that refuse to recede into the shiny, homogenized artifices of digital capitalism. The tangible thickness of the object resists the insubstantiality of the purely visual image. Fragments of objects in this tactile space give expression to the experience of the “lived-body” in the world. Here, the fabric of the painting is its “skin,” where feelings and impressions are registered. At the same time, the space of the painting changes and takes on the form of whatever inhabits it, as Agopian makes and unmakes the painting with patches, paint stains, tangled splotches, and clustered knots.
For Agopian, overcrossing is an activity, but it is also, by definition, a bridge. Her build-as-you-go process connects knowing and doing, seeing and feeling, moving and standing still. The domestic folk charm and the relaxed, homey quality of this work can be seen as a manifestation of her desire to carry her home with her. In this sense, making paintings is a form of homebuilding. A home in the traditional or archaic sense, where the secular cannot be easily detached from the sacred; the home as the center of the world that bridges together multiple spaces and realities. In a world that is a multilayered, multidimensional field we are in constant need of homes that act as bridges. In the act of bridging together the larger world with the interior world, Agopian replicates the entirety of the world at large, a reality of the visible and invisible, where bodies and places are continuous.
“Eozen Agopian: Overcrossing,” High Noon Gallery, 124 Forsyth Street, New York, NY. Through March 12, 2023.
About the author: Lisa Taliano is an artist and writer who lives and works in New York City.