Varvaridze, Painting to Breathe

For Alexander Varvaridze, a middle-aged painter, a woman bears a bright orange color. Using mixed media, he is fond of different techniques and approaches. His portraits show him as an emotional painter rather than a realist, which gives him a lot of room for interpretation. And while his works are closer to abstract expressionism, he is open to modern tendencies, too, recognizing photography as an auxiliary part of contemporary art. Having taken more than ten years away from the brushes, he last year returned to his profession, finding it “hard to breathe” without the form of expression. The devoted artist says that one must give everything to any profession one serves. With six solo exhibitions under his belt, he is not lacking in international acclaim. Alexander Varvaridze took time out from the studio to talk to GEORGIA TODAY.

Tell us how you started out on your painting career

I was raised as part of a painter’s family, so I came into this gift naturally and I’ve been painting since my childhood. As for exhibitions, I started participating in them in my student years. My first one-man show took place in 1994 at the History Museum, Tbilisi, followed by a number of group exhibitions. After two years, I made a second solo expo.

Later on, I received offers from a foreign gallery delegation who then took some of my works to the Netherlands, where they saw the walls of a number of prestigious galleries. Most of those works got sold. In 1997, my personal exhibition was held in Le Haag, followed by a group art show in Maastrikh, Holland, and another one in Germany, where I also got an offer and some sales.

Then you stopped painting. Why? And what did you do instead?

At the end of the 1990s, when Internet was a new thing, I got interested in graphic design. Together with my family, I established a design studio and started designing books, web-pages, clips, etc. My background in fine art helped me a lot and I was a fast success in the field. After many years of such work, I realized I couldn’t go on without bringing painting back into my life so I went back to it full-time.

Where do you get your inspiration?

It comes from the mere process of painting, especially if my goal is being achieved. If the painting is a failure, my enthusiasm for it dims, making it harder to get what I want out of it. Right now I’m working on a canvas series that I began in my early period. I’m also working on drawings in which photography is a part.

Is photography a part of modern art for you, or just an auxiliary direction that make art more complete?

I believe that it will be more a secondary means to make my works more colorful.

How much have your artistic messages shifted over the years?

As the years have passed, new opportunities have emerged, as well as new technologies of expression. The artist in general tries to be hand-in-glove with those tendencies, and this might change the messages his/her art conveys.

What is your artistic credo?

I don’t have anything very concrete. However, if a person undertakes something, they should spend a lot of time on it and do their best to get the maximum results. It’s no use doing something superficially. The same can be said about fine art. It takes a lot of labor and time.

How big an influence does your personal life experience have on your work?

I differentiate one from another. However, some people say that there are some links which I don’t necessarily notice.

What are your plans for the future?

I intend to arrange exhibitions in Georgia as well as overseas. I have plenty of invitations, but my limited number of works hampers me due to the artistic break I took.

Keep your eyes open for Alexander Varvaridze’s up-coming group and solo exhibitions. And if you can’t wait to see his works, go to:

Those interested in Alexander’s studio works can see them at


Maka Lomadze

23 June 2016 22:58