I experience the rhythm of the Maine coastal environment on a daily basis. The wind, the water, the sky, and their constant interactions are a great source of inspiration. I love the rocks and the blueberry barrens, too. And though I don’t encounter the American West on a daily basis, it remains a big influence on my work. The rhythms and colors are never ending.
I’ve been interested in anthropology since I was inspired by an excellent teacher in high school, Jack Ellison. Megalithic architecture and advanced ancient high technology is a growing interest. I love the physicality of excavating the past as well as the amazing and overwhelming evidence of great and mysterious achievements of “ancient architects.” I am also intrigued by the art of New Guinea’s Asmat people.
I’m not sure how all of this gets digested and expressed as abstract painting, but somehow it works out. It is a challenge to express in words a phenomenon that exists pretty much on a subconscious, nonverbal level. But of course, that is the beauty of it: it just comes out. I am reluctant to overanalyze, lest I interfere with the process.
However, I do have to think about the process. I feel it necessary to set limits on the free flow of the paint, though the boundaries evolve over time . . .
Katy Kline’s critical description of my work is more lyrical than my own: “The bands of roiling brushstrokes in Haroutunian’s colorful fields are documents not of the natural world, but of the doctrine of flux which underlies it, the time-honored tussle of order and disorder within which we are both witness and participant. The colors, moods, and forms of the Maine landscape inspire and infect his paintings. If his canvases do not constitute landscape portraits, they nevertheless serve as persuasive metaphors for the way the landscape is experienced. Like the painter, the viewer is engulfed by sensory experience, plunged into fields of flux and flow.”