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Paradise Lost

New Paintings by Stephen Aljian
Artist in Residence at Trinity Church

November 17 4-8PM

November 18 11AM - 4PM

Reception November 17th 6-8pm Conversation with the artist 7pm


Trinity Church 503 Asbury Avenue Asbury Park NJ

List of Works

1. Creation Story (Turtle Island), 2023

Paint on Bedsheet


This is a landscape showing an interpretation of the oral tradition of the Lenape creation legend. We see a tree growing on the back of a giant turtle enclosed within a step mountain structure. Each step has a different animal including a man and a woman. At the top of the holy mountain is fire. The central subject is flanked by two mountains of black columnar basalt with waterfalls. The turtle rests on a mound under which water flows.


2. Armenian Genocide 1, 2023

Paint on Hospital Blanket


This painting depicts the heads of Armenian professors killed by the Ottoman Turks in 1915, displayed on shelves. The image is taken from a photograph documenting the Armenian genocide. The heads are superimposed over a map of the region in 1915 showing towns and cities where the greatest number of killings took place, along with the routes of forced marches of Armenian people through Turkey towards the Syrian desert.


3. Dream Catcher - with moon and blood creek, 2023

Paint on Bedsheet


This night scene is a landscape from the vantage point of being inside a cave looking out through the cave opening. Stretched from the inner walls of the opening is a dream catcher (cat’s cradle) hung with ex votos which are wishes or prayers for healing and survival. The evil spirits will be fascinated and therefore caught by the ex votos and stopped from entering the cave, creating a safe zone for people. At the bottom of the picture is a bloody creek suggesting a sacrifice or accident.


4. Armenian Genocide 2, 2023

Paint on blanket


This landscape depicts a standing stone from Karahundj, Armenia.  A prehistoric stone, older than Stonehenge, is carved with faces on all sides. Pushing upwards from beneath are the artists hands and botanical subjects. An Armenian church of the Medieval period appears to the left. At the very top is Mt. Ararat, the biblical land of Noah. In the center of the canvas is a typical Armenian cross of the Medieval period.


5. Silent Hunter (Grey Owl), 2023

Paint on Bedsheet


Here, floating plants are superimposed over cross-sections of heavenly bodies, showing magma chambers and aqua firs within. The plants are connected by floating root systems. At the bottom of the picture is a grey owl with the suggestion of a forest landscape.


The grey owl has a dual symbolism in native American culture, both positive and negative. In many indigenous cultures the owl is seen as an evil spirit and one must avoid looking into its eyes.


6. The World Turned Upside Down- Armenian Genocide 3, 2023

Paint on blanket


This painting has three sections. The bottom section is the real world, showing figures of starvation and death, and a forced march to the Syrian desert.


The middle section shows a model of the Solar System from the Bronze Age found at the bottom of Lake Sevan in Armenia. This model depicts the sun and the planets visible to the naked eye at that time and the earth surrounded by atmosphere and water. I have painted this model upside down as a metaphor for what the Armenian people must have felt in 1915 and the years leading up to the genocide.


The top section shows a mountainous region with three Armenian churches of the Medieval period with a night sky. This section represents the higher consciousness.


The top border of the painting is the title, , written in Armenian.


7. The Oort Cloud, 2023

Paint on Bedsheet


The Oort Cloud is the most distant region of our solar system.It is believed to be a giant amorphous shell surrounding the rest of the solar system. It is like a big, thick-walled bubble made of icy pieces of space debris the size of mountains and larger.


The Oort Cloud might contain billions, or even trillions, of objects. It occupies space at a distance between 2,000 and 100,000 astronomical units from the sun. Comets probably come from the Oort Cloud, which is sometimes described as a "cometary reservoir."


No missions have been sent to explore the Oort Cloud yet, but five spacecraft will eventually get there. They are Voyager 1 and 2, New Horizons, and Pioneer 10 and 1. The Oort Cloud is so distant, however, that the power sources for all these spacecrafts will be dead centuries before they reach its inner edge. Even though Voyager 1 travels a million miles per day, the spacecraft will take about 300 years to reach the inner boundary of the Oort Cloud and another 30,000 years to exit it.


The frozen, comet-like bodies of the Oort cloud are not capable of supporting life as we know it.


About Stephen Aljian

Stephen Aljian is a painter and former director of Christminster Gallery, NYC which was a pillar of the East Village art community in the 1980s. His exhibition history in New York includes notable shows at The Drawing Center, PS1, PPOW, and Feature Gallery. Internationally, Stephen has exhibited at Zellermayer, Berlin, Germany and Horsebridge Arts Center, Derby, UK.

Find out more about International Arrivals

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International Arrivals is a fiscally sponsored project by New York Foundation for the Arts

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