Carl’s art career spans three decades and captures the personal and historical turning points that shape the small gestures we select to define ourselves. From expressionistic works on paper to mixed media painting that interweave traditional painting techniques with print making and the written word, Carl has always strived to reinvent painting to reflect the changing world. To move beyond history while capturing the fragility of culture and ideas as they are used in wars and conflict. In the last decade he has researched and explored the cultures which construct our geopolitical conflict, our national identity and our fears of a post-human future.
Outside of exhibiting, which he describes as “small and irregular outbursts”, Carl has been widely published in international magazines and journals of poetry, politics and culture. He contributes ideas and concepts with others in collaborations that help him to better understand his world.
As he explains, “Painting is the antithesis of our current ‘undo ‘culture. When you put down the paint-good or bad -you have to work with it and make it work and accept the temporal nature of that specific time and place in your life and the world you live in. Painting requires little acts of commitment to complete the story. It also needs research and contemplation. I paint even when I’m not painting. I can sometimes fall outside of time, as a painter - as a consciousness - which makes me receptive to the unknown. It's taken decades to learn to ride that current. I find things in my paintings that will appear in the public consciousness months or even a year later after the painting is finished. So painting can enhance your intuition if you let it. Someone interviewed me about it and all I could describe was an idea that I term 'prophetic surrealism'."
Born in the UK, Carl began working as a typographer and designer after studying graphic design in Perth, Western Australia. While working as a designer he continued to paint, but it was not until he worked in a small art gallery in the 90s, combining practical learning from his peers with academic study in sociology and history, that Carl understood that painting was his ‘thing’. After completing a BA in History, and later a First Class Honours in Sociology, he began collaborating between the worlds of academia, art, politics, music and the company of strangers.
This led Carl to presenting at international intervention workshops in the UK in 2012; painting portraits of one of the world’s leading quantum physicists and developing his own ideas on how cultural politics is changing the human narrative. He has delved into the way science and art interact along the way while speaking with geneticists, physicicsts and inventors. He has held 5 solo “outbursts” and along the way discovered a unique space to help global thinkers and researchers to visualise their ideas and feed it back into their work.
In 2017 his cover art for Dr Kyle Grayson's book Cultural Politics of Targeted Killing - On Drones, Counter-Insurgency, and Violence (Routledge, London, UK) will be released. It builds on his work in policy workshops on international intervention, and the role of culture in how political decisions shape our changing world. Carl is currently working on a new series about synthetic genomics and comparative religion titled Original Syn.
"Does art lend itself to polemics? Is there a role for the artist as polemicist? Carl Gopalkrishnan – known in the world of art as Carl Gopal – has no doubt that passion is and should be the heart of an artist’s work. Painting is his way of taking to the audience a strongly worded visual message where passion is essential, controversy is for embracing, and the orthodoxies of the establishment are to be confronted. His politics are imbued in his art. His art is imbued with his politics". [more]
"[Carl] incorporated Kimberly colours from my time running Theatre Kimberly in the north-west and the subtle reference to my my experience with the tsunami in Thailand is there too,...Carl’s interpretation of my careers in the theatre and politics was the most amazing aspect". [JH discussing his portrait sitting, read more]
"Artist Carl Gopal’s interests are expansive, but he is by no means a dilettante. He is gifted with an ability to analyze current events in the context of the “big picture” without getting overwhelmed, weaving together schools of thought as diverse as popular culture and politics, spirituality and quantum physics. He is afraid that amid the exhilaration of rapid scientific advancement, we are losing the sense of humble awe at the universe that spurred our curiosity in the first place." [more]
"Carl Gopalkrishnan is a highly creative and highly skilled fine artist and illustrator. We featured his work “Elsewhere 2″ as the cover illustration for the June 2009 issue of Literal Latte (a journal of prose, poetry and art), and included a large gallery of his paintings, drawings and pen & ink work in the same issue. Carl has a unique and compelling artistic vision, and all of us at Literal Latte very much look forward to seeing new developments in his career as an artist. We are proud to have featured him."
Creative Director, Literal Latte. New York City, USA 2012