ArtQuench Presents Carl Randall
A very creative mind is at work here! There is so much in the world around us that
can be invisible to most who walk through life so intensely inhabited by their own
agendas that they miss out on the beauty and wonder of one another.
Carl views the world at a distance yet understanding of how we as humans
move, live and interact with one another.
Please support this incredibly talented artist and SHARE this post.
English artist Carl Randall (b.1975) studied at The Slade School of Fine Art in London and Tokyo University of Arts, Japan. He recently had a display of 17 Japan paintings at The National Portrait Gallery in London, after winning the prestigious 2012 BP Travel Award, followed by a solo exhibition at The Daiwa Anglo Japanese Foundation in London. He also won the 2011 Nomura Art Prize in Tokyo Japan, the 1st prize in the 1998 Singer Friedlander Watercolour Competition, and whilst at The Slade he twice won 2nd prize in The William Coldstream Painting Competition. He has exhibited at The Jerwood Drawing Prize, The BP Portrait Awards, The Royal Society of Portrait Painters and The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in London; as well as Tokyo Art Award, Japan, and Art Taipei, Taiwan. He has work in the permanent collections of University College London Museum, and Tokyo University of Arts, Japan. Upcoming solo exhibitions include at The Ando Hiroshige Museum in Japan, and The Berloni Gallery, London.
With emphasis on upbringing and how it can shape an artists vision, it may be of interest to look at some factors that may have affected him, with particular regard to the atmosphere in his work – a feeling of isolation and of being on the outside – evident in both his early London and recent Japan work.
Born Carlo Lombardi (to a birth father from Naples Italy, who left the family when the artist was young), he was brought up in the North East of England during the 1970’s & 80’s – an area at the time had a predominantly white English demographic, with mixed nationality partnerships and foreign heritage being a rarity. Combined with parental upbringing that discouraged a sense of kinship with the local working class culture and community (instead placing emphasis on intellect and education), and a strong interest in art not always in keeping with the environment, these factors may have engendered at an early age a sense of not belonging, or of being on the outside.
Moving to London for his undergraduate degree at the Slade School of Fine Art, he created large architectural paintings depicting nocturnal London cityscapes, featuring buildings and windows at night, as seen from the outside looking in. The artist and viewer are placed firmly on the outside of the scenes depicted, excluded from the hidden interiors glimpsed at behind lit windows – images heavy with an atmosphere of solitude and alienation. Human activity is suggested through the light in windows, but the viewer is never part of it.
After graduating from the Slade, he spent 10 years living and working as an artist in Tokyo Japan, a country he developed a great affection for, and in which he found a wealth of inspiration (during this decade returning to the UK only twice, testament to the fondness he had for the country). Being the ‘gaijin’ [外人](foreigner) is part of everyday life for Westerners in Japan, involving a certain degree of exclusion from society, and it was from this position that he painted scenes his everyday life in Tokyo – recently received with success in London.
These figure-based works are personal responses to Japanese culture, perhaps not as the Japanese see it, but seen through the eyes of a visiting UK artist – from the outside looking in. Randall stated that not belonging to the culture made it easier to paint everyday scenes, as minor things that Japanese people may often overlook were of interest, and one could see things clearly without being clouded by memory or personal association. He estimates that he met and painted the portraits of over 1000 people whilst in Japan, creating his “crowd portraits” – large canvases featuring hundreds of residents of the city.
His early and recent work seems to communicate this sense of being on the outside, with an atmosphere of isolation and slight melancholy; and through the use of grey in many of his recent Japan works, a feeling of coldness or emotional distance. Viewing his work from this angle, Carl Randall can be placed in a long line of artists as outsider, where the position of not belonging shaped the character of his work.
(source: conversation with Carl Randall, 2014)
For more of his work, visit his website: www.carlrandall.com
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