Carl Gopalkrishnan (aka Gopal) began his journey as a painter in 1987 and he has been exploring our waking dreams and our public and private myths ever since.
His art draws inspiration from religion, science, mythology, politics & popular culture and is filtered onto the canvas through his life experiences. His interest in consciousness led him to re-visit surrealism in the context of the 'waking dream' and to re-interpret surrealism in ways that erode the distinctions between our sub-conscious and what we accept as reality.
Most people have come to know Carl's work from his most recent series - The Assassination of Judy Garland (2008-12) - which explores a metaphorical portrait of America. It attempts to make sense of the current global political crisis using a queer cultural lens and builds on a decade long body of work that explores the post 9/11 narrative and includes his 2006 exhibition Sedition and Other Bedtime Stories
Born in 1967 in the UK, he began his career as a typographer and designer after studying graphic design in Perth, Western Australia. He is a self-taught painter, having worked in a small gallery in the 90s combining practical learning from his peers with academic study. Coming from a mixed heritage of Chinese, Indian and British influences has also given him insight into how silent stories and emotions are lost, buried, and resurrected.
"I feel at times, that through my parents, I inherited the trauma of children surviving the brutality of war through the Japanese occupation of Singapore and Malaysia in the 1940s. My father studied anaesthesiology and took his family to London in the 60s and Australia in the 1970s, so we were always migrants and the silences in those early years were pregnant with unspoken stories. Those stories come out all the time on my canvases, even when I am looking at political or scientific stories, it’s always about people surviving change, re-inventing themselves or recycling the truth to make it more tolerable. Humour is also closer to both the truth and its opposite than people in the critical arts imagine. If I sense some levity as I'm painting, I embrace it, even if the topic seems rather dark."
Published in international magazines and journals of poetry, politics and culture, Carl collaborates with people and centres of learning related to his work in progress. As a non-public funded artist he continues to work in other fields to fund his work, appreciating both the difficulties and knowledge this brings.
After completing his BA in History in 1993, and later a First Class Honours in Sociology in 1999 from Murdoch University, Carl began, but later withdrew from, doctoral studies in Melbourne. He made a conscious decision to use his art as his lens and began an unusual journey collaborating between the worlds of academia, art, politics, music and the company of strangers. Since 2014 Carl began to focus on private projects rather than public exhibiting.
Over time Carl has learnt to appreciate Judy Garland’s advice to her daughter Liza: "Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.".
Read more in 'Gallery Histories & CV'