Go to certain parties at the homes of certain people and you're likely to see paintings by certain fashionable artists. David Harouni is often among them. Like George Rodrigue and James Michalopoulos, David Harouni is known for a certain style, and while his vaguely archeological looking heads with seemingly desiccated skin and a slash of crimson like smeared lipstick may seem to possess no more innate appeal than cobalt canines or askew architecture, he's carved a niche for himself with a look that is instantly recognizable. What's it all about? Harouni says his paintings, as well as his life, "can be summarized by the word palimpsest," an art term that means to draw and erase over and over again so the underlying layers can be seen on the surface. It's a process he relates to the circumstances of his life, starting with his birth in Iran and his family's move to Israel when he was a young child. His idyllic life there was interrupted by a move back to Iran, which he found depressing. As a teen he experienced a sense of liberation attending school in Maryland, but nearly became trapped in Iran once again when Ayatollah Khomeini seized power during one of his visits home. He says his life has consisted of "collecting memories and abandoning them, only to start over. The past 40 years have taken me to Iran, Israel, Maryland, New York, Mexico and New Orleans. One cannot help but notice the layers, the texture, the gaze, the stillness, the movement, the palette -- these are, very humbly I might add, all unique to my work. It has been a great journey and through my brush I tell my story."
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