Frozen in Time
Sometimes art becomes history.
That’s the case with the new exhibit, “The Artine & Teddy Artinian Self-Portrait Collection,” now on display at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts’ Gallery B in Boone.
Artine Artinian (1907-2005) was a retired professor of French literature at Bard College who, with wife Teddy, spent his summers in Boone. During that time, he collected and consigned hundreds of self-portraits, from both professional artists and serious amateurs.
When Artinian died, his collection of more than 250 paintings, drawings and mixed media works was handed over to Appalachian State University’s Appalachian Cultural Museum, where many of the self-portraits had been exhibited.
When the Appalachian Cultural Museum was permanently closed, the entire self-portrait collection was transferred to the Turchin Center.
“Assembling these Carolina self-portraits has been a labor of love, a heart-warming adventure lubricated by strong doses of persuasion and persistence, not to speak of occasional wile,” Artinian said in an introduction on a brochure from a 1983 exhibit of the works. “For, in every case, these (self-portraits) are more than portraits. They represent…personal relations with intensely interesting, colorful and at times enigmatic personalities.”
Indeed, the names of the artists involved with Artinian’s self-portrait collection read like a who’s who of the High Country art scene from the late 1970s through the late 1990s.
Mary Jane Painter, Warren Dennis, Lowell Hayes, Judy Humphrey, Joseph Barthet and other artists associated with ASU have frozen themselves in time with brush, pen or pencil for Artinian’s collection.
“Some artists responded to the challenge with alacrity, while others seemed to face the same challenge hesitantly, almost reluctantly, as if afraid to expose their private selves to public scrutiny,” Artinian writes. “The image reflected in the mirror is at times serious, at times disarmingly whimsical, as if soliciting the viewer’s sympathy.”
Hundreds of art lovers got their first glimpse in years of the self-portrait collection last Friday during the opening reception for the exhibit at the Turchin Center. Nearly 100 of the 250 pieces are on exhibit at the Turchin Center’s Gallery B.
“However dissimilar these portraits may be in mood, form and content, the message is unmistakable,” Artinian writes. “The artist looking at himself or herself, seriously or playfully, invites our interest in and sympathy with that most fascinating of subjects, himself.”
“The Artine & Teddy Artinian Self-Portrait Collection” is on display at the Turchin Center’s Gallery B from now until March 24. The center, located at 423 W. King St. in downtown Boone, is open Tuesday through Thursday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday from noon to 8 p.m. It is closed on Sunday and Monday.
For more information, call (828) 262-3017 or visit http://www.turchincenter.org.