Robert Barsamian's most recent paintings and drawings are allegorical visual representations of the artist’s examinations and reflections of worldwide political conflicts. The works explore the effects of such man made tragedies as the Sudanese child armies, the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan and the war in Afghanistan. The small works use symbolic images of animals and food, along with ornamentation and pattern associated with the various cultures he portrays, to widen experiential awareness for the viewer.
In a time when immigration, cultural heritage, and many in need of refuge are so present in the news, Barsamian’s rich and complex images encourage continued growth in understanding as well as the gravity of confronting history.
Robert Barsamian was born into a close-knit Armenian community in Whitinsville, Massachusetts in 1947, the son and grandson of survivors of the 1915 Armenian Genocide. A studio art major at Massachusetts College of Art, Barsamian went on to receive his M.A. in 1971 from the State University of New York at Albany. Over the past 43 years, Barsamian has continued to maintain an international exhibition, teaching and lecture practice working locally with the academic institutions: Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX; El Centro Community College, Dallas; University of North Texas, Denton, TX and University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX as well as the South Dallas Cultural Center, an African-centered cultural center run by City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs in Texas.
Robert Barsamian has held over thirty visiting guest lecturer or artist in residence positions since 1971. A partial list includes: Southern Connecticut University, New Haven, CT, Visiting Artist (2015); Holocaust Museum, Farmington Hills, MI, Visiting Artist (2011); Annual Scholars Conference on The Holocaust And Churches, University of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, Panelist (2010); Project Row Houses “Art, Community and Culture”, Houston, TX, Lecturer (2009); International Conference on the Arts in Society, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland, Lecturer (2006); Association of Genocide Scholars Sixth Biennial Conference, Boca Raton, FL, Lecturer (2005); Worcester State College, Worcester, MA, Lecturer (2002); Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh, PA, Lecturer (2001); Florida Holocaust Museum, St. Petersburg, FL, Lecturer (2000); University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN, Lecturer (1999); Visiting Artist, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA, Lecturer (1997);
From 1992 through 1995, Barsamian was a design artist for Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s Art Program. He designed the Cityplace/Uptown station, the only underground station in the rail system. This involved designing tile patterns and using historical images from nearby architectural digs in two 300’ tunnels as well as a 100’ drop from grade level to train platform.
Barsamian’s work is held in the public collections of: The Tyler Museum, Tyler, TX; the Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx, NY; the Asilah Art Museum, Asilah, Morocco; the State University of New York at Albany; and Western New Mexico University, NM. He serves as a visual arts consultant for South Dallas Cultural Center, Dallas, TX in the area of printmaking and maintains a working relationship with Project Row Houses as a guest artist.
"Barsamian's three dimensional installations, complete with drawings, paintings and lighting are about imagination, and fantasy, hope and fear, creating space and giving structural form to psychological states of mind. Barsamian's works create his legacy to history, sometimes with oral recorded narrative and music, to bring the past to a new life. His works are a critique on the human condition as it was during the genocide, and the slipperiness of meaning and understanding in the modern world. His "sacred spaces" - rooms that envelope and seduce the viewer to experience visually and sensually the emotions he wants to share from his world with his audience- provides them the wider experience of eliciting their own memories."
The Armenian Church, 2001
Conduit Gallery Exhibitions
- 2023 Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, TX
- 2017 Houston Holocaust Museum, Houston, TX
- 2017 Conduit Gallery, Dallas, TX
- 2015 Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, CT
- 2012 Conduit Gallery, Dallas, TX
- 2011 Rhode Island College, Providence, RI
- 2011 Holocaust Memorial Center, Farmington Hills, MI
- 2009 Project Row Houses, Houston, TX
- 2003 Salina Art Center, Salina, KS
- 2002 Baruch College, New York, NY
- 2001 Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh, PA
- 2000 Florida Holocaust Museum, St. Petersburg, FL
- 1992 Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, TX
- 2014 Rhode Island College, Providence, RI
- 2011 Holocaust Museum, Farminton Hills, MI
- 2010 Annual Scholars Conference on the Holocaust, Philadelphia, PA
- 2006 International Conference on the Arts in Society, Edinburgh, Scotland
- 2005 International Assoc. of Genocide Scholars, Boca Raton, FL
- 2003 University of Texas Arlingotn, Arlington, TX
- 2002 Worcester State College, Worcester, MA
- 2000 Florida Holocaust Museum, St. Petersburg, FL