Arshile Gorky a retrospective exhibition banner

Image in Khorkom

In the middle 1930s Gorky loosened his style. His painting became freer, his surfaces rather more encrusted. Famous for the layering of his works, he began to allow glimpses of underlying colours in the depths of his compositions. Shifting away from Cubism, he developed a more biomorphic style of abstraction influenced by Surrealist artists such as Jean Arp and Joan Miró. At the same time he started to incorporate mysterious place-names in his titles, such as Image in Khorkom.

Though it remained unexplained to his contemporaries, Khorkom was the village of his birth and childhood. In this way, the paintings – whose imagery can be seen to have developed from the earlier Nighttime series – seem to allude to Gorky’s Armenian roots and experiences, more than a decade after his emigration.