In the Press
Phyllis Braff, NY Times
"Joseph Haroutunian's paintings suggest plumes of smoke or churning waves and they can remind a viewer of cloud drawings by Leonardo. Mr. Haroutunian is a fine craftsman and a handsome colorist, and the best of his works are quite wonderful. The artist was born in Chicago in 1944, and now lives on the coast of Maine, where sea and rocks and woods may serve as inspiration for his abstractions. This show (at Frank Bustamante in NY) includes watercolors that, partly because of their jauntiness and touch, suggest something of John Marin, something of Paul Klee. But it is with the oils, especially the most densely composed paintings, that Mr. Haroutunian seems most at home. Hundreds of wet, squiggling brushstrokes cover the entire surface of his works. No doubt painstakingly executed, they seem alive and in the midst of metamorphosis."
Michael Kimmelman, NY Times
"It is the energy of a calligrapher's mark that activates Joe Haroutunian's almost frenetically patterned compositions. His paintings evoke many comparisons: the scrawls of Cy Twombly, Arabic script, topographic views, the richly patterned, over all compositions of Oriental rugs as his brush marks have the texture of fiber. The ochres and blued greens, the salt-and-pepper grays, the aquamarines and siennas of the Armenian painter are rich and lush like the wools of old carpets but they can be found equally in the landscape. His abrupt strokes weave a spell for both the artist and the viewers whom he hopes to engage as witnesses to his creative act, but also as participants. The act is only completed when viewers receive the message and understand it through their own experiences."
Karen Chambers, independent curator
"The colors, moods, and forms of the Maine landscape inspire and infect Haroutunian's paintings. If his canvasses do not constitute landscape portraits, they nonetheless serve as persuasive metaphors for the way landscape is experienced. Like the painter, the viewer is engulfed by sensory experience, plunged into fields of flux and flow. The bands of roiling brushstrokes in Haroutunian's color fields are documents not of the natural world, but of the doctrine of flux which underlies it, the time honored tussle between order and disorder within which we are both witness and participant"
Katy Kline, Director, Bowdoin College Art Museum.