E6 Gallery / Robert Berman Gallery Presents

Rob Setrakian


November 11th - December 31st, 2011

Opening Reception: 11/11/11 from 6-9pm

With Special Musical Performance by Sofi Rox from 7-9pm

OCTOBER 2011, SAN FRANCISCO, CA. — The temporal has an illusive, magical quality in art, relating to everything from the amount of time it takes to make a particular work to the sense of time that work creates in a viewer. Pure gestures born of the relationship between painter and materials, Rob Setrakian’s paintings possess timeless characteristics, yet he’s often invoked the momentary in the titles of his solo exhibitions, such as Chronologies, Current Destinations and last year’s show at Robert Berman/E6 Gallery, Present Tense.

In ELEVEN.  Setrakian’s art reaches a new intensity and specificity in terms of time. “Sometimes as you walk down the path you look straight ahead and take in the moment and the future,” he says.  “Then you look back and take in the moment and the past, on all levels. That is how it has felt in the studio this last go-round.” Through three collections of eleven (eleven oils on paper, eleven oils on canvas, and eleven monotypes) Setrakian brings his formidable skills as a painter to bear upon darkness and illumination, vitality and mortality. The result adds to a still-relevant tradition of Californian abstract expressionist painting while relating visually to the revived presence of poetry, particularly lyrical poetry, within the Bay Area.

While ELEVEN. marks a day when the calendar lines up a series of numerical ones — signaling beginnings — the show also collects paintings created by Setrakian since the death of significant loved ones, including his mentor Nathan Oliveira, who had a “profound” impact on his development from the point that they first worked together in Italy in 1986. Fittingly, ELEVEN. arrives in the immediate wake of an acclaimed exhibition of Oliveira’s last canvases (at John Berggruen Gallery), demonstrating that his spirit and influence remains alive. In life and on canvas, his fellow painter Setrakian passes through fatal scenes to develop character and a vivid sense of past, present, and future experience.

Vivid experiences are guaranteed at ELEVEN..’s opening reception, a momentous family affair where the unveiling of Setrakian’s art will be matched with an album-release performance by his daughter, the ukulele-based folk and pop singer-songwriter Sofi Rox. Many of the themes present in Setrakian’s paintings take melodic form in Sofi Rox’s music, which harkens back to Woody Guthrie while incorporating the sort of soulful, expressive vocalization normally found in torch songs. ELEVEN. doesn’t avoid what Setrakian calls the “death scenes” of painting, nor those of daily life. But it passes through them to discover opportunity and scenes of energetic activity. Join the artist and his daughter at a dynamic opening event on Friday, November 11th, or meditate upon his command of matter and light during the quieter weeks that follow