I began my journey as a painter in 1987, and over time have focused on exploring our waking dreams and our public and private myths through my art on canvas, paper and mixed media. Outside of exhibitions, I’m also also published in international magazines and journals of poetry, politics and culture. Some of this is about my art, but I also write about the importance of art and creative thinking in the public and private consciousness. In other words, the opportunities and risks that creative energies bring to life, problems and challenges in the world.
Born in the UK, I began my career as a typographer and designer after studying graphic design in Perth, Western Australia. As a self-taught painter, I also worked in a small gallery in the 90s combining practical learning from my peers with academic study. The interface between my art and research is something that has always been there, but I take a lot of my inspiration from personal experience follow where that leads.
After completing my BA in History, and later a First Class Honours in Sociology, I began an unusual journey collaborating between the worlds of academia, art, politics, music and the company of strangers. This happened after 2001 and for a while my paintings became very involved with what was happening in the world politically and socially. That phase lasted about a decade and I am now in a sort of free-fall of the interior again. I call it a hiatus.
This last phase did lead me to some interesting experiences such as presenting at international intervention workshops in the UK in 2012; painting portraits of a quantum physicist and a politician, and more recently exploring the collision between artists and a jurisprudence of new capabilities for the London Progressive Journal in 2013. I became very interested in the way science and art interact along the way. I also continued my experimental nature, mixing media and themes together on the canvas in a way that I hope pushed the boundaries of the painting process.
In 2013 I held my 5th solo exhibition titled The Assassination of Judy Garland (2008-12), in which I showed the results of this phase. I explored a metaphorical portrait of America, and tried to make sense of the current global political crisis using a queer cultural lens. This series completed a decade long body of work that examined the motives behind the post 9/11 war on terror narrative. It included my 2006 exhibition Sedition and Other Bedtime Stories, and various interviews writings and journal articles. While those who both appreciate and dislike these themes anchor my work in politics, I aspire to a broader view that goes beyond politics as an interpretation to what we are experiencing today. My current hiatus from painting involves trying new things like writing fiction and exploring personal projects..
"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]
Arts Writer, Tikkun Daily [Magazine], Berkley, CA, USA 18-06-11
"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
"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]
Jocelynne A. Scutt
Human Rights Lawyer/former High Court Judge/Academic
The Art of the Possible, Cambridge University, UK 03-05-12
"[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]
John Hyde, MLA Western Australia
Out in Perth, Writer: Amy Henderson, 2010