NEW YORK — The Robin Rice Gallery presents the second solo exhibition of photographs by Haik Kocharian. The opening reception will be held on Wednesday, March 14, 5:30-8:30 p.m. The show runs through April 29.
Kocharian’s work focuses on the interaction of the individual and the surrounding nature: a forest, body of water or urban street. Just as nature transforms the environment, so does the object in the picture evolve, symbolizing an internal shift. The style is reminiscent of photojournalism forefathers, such as Robert Frank and Cartier-Bresson, yet with a Fellini-esque twist.
This exhibition reflects one man’s journey in search of love, vacillating from memories to hope. The collection is a fusion of neo-realism and symbolism. It is the central figure’s relationship to the environment that elevates the images beyond realism, representing the transformational power in nature and within ourselves.
The exhibit includes photographs from Kocharian’s expansive travels — from immersing himself in Montauk during Hurricane Earl to a soul-searching journey to India to a humanitarian trip to Ethiopia.
The invitational image, “Promised Happiness,” was taken at Brighton Beach during a rare dust storm. One gazes at what first appears to be a blinding canvas of clouds but upon closer inspection, an outline of the boardwalk and a lone figure are exposed through the sand, reflecting a brief moment of clarity in the storm.
In “Suffocation,” soft brown hues accentuate the raging hurricane-fueled whitecaps, fighting the power captured in the waves’ unique grainy texture and steel gray tones. In “Forgive Me,” taken in Ethiopia, a cluster of trees is shown with their upper branches almost lost in the clouds. The rich, almost red tone of the soil draws the eyes downward to remind one that the trees’ ancient roots are firmly planted in the ground.
Kocharian, also a filmmaker, brings a cinematic eye to his photography. Walking through the exhibit one gets a sense of movement. For Kocharian, the photographic process is in many ways like the aging of wine. He puts his heart and soul into shooting and then lets the images sit for months until he gets a sudden urge to look at them.