Gail Boyajian

“Travel Alert,” the painting of Gail Boyajian, Instructor in Architecture, makes reference to Turkey and its unique landscape. After traveling there in 2008, Boyajian described it as?“laced with the ruins of past cultures and civilizations.” Inspired by this landscape, Boyajian painted this diptych, which is still a work-in-progress. The birds in the foreground gaze at the doomed landscape with crevice-filled barren ground, while smoke forms dark grey clouds in the air.

Q: What do you strive to find when you are painting?

A: For me, painting is an exploration. I start with a general idea, and it expands and grows through time.

Q: Is there a symbolic meaning or significance to the birds in the foreground of your painting?

A: Typically, I position birds in the foreground. They are the observers, being descendents of dinosaurs and referencing long cosmic cycles. I try to choose songbirds that are native to the landscapes, which [the birds] view.

Q: How did your impression of Turkey influence this painting?

A: Eastern Anatolia, which is now Turkey, is laced with ruins of past cultures and civilizations, and it is a relatively empty landscape now. There are awesome mountains and rivers with ancient associations, such as the Tigris and Euphrates. Many of the inhabitants are horsemen, so when I was there I felt as though I was able to see into history, a pre-automotive age.

Q: Is there a message that you are trying to convey through this painting?

A: There are many claims on it [Turkey] and its history. It is also an active earthquake zone. I am trying to suggest threat with the stormy sky, running rider-less horses, puffs of smoke, cracked earth and collapsed buildings.

Q: Is there a reason why it is a diptych?

A: This diptych is not finished, and I expect to differentiate the two panels. I am interested in sequence, and multiple panels allow for slightly different points of view.

Compiled by Scarla Pan