About Carl Gopalkrishnan

Carl 2018 Melbourne Australia

2020 - Seven!

Like people the world over, I too am now in lockdown, experiencing the new world, and trying to adapt. I am now become a thing of pixles and zeros and ones. Our own minds, hearts and emotions are our best friends and our worst enemies. COVID-19 is intelligent, mysterious, and of our own making - he/she is therefore Us.  Reflection, and looking inside us, is the key to living with and defeating our own demons. So that is where I am taking my queue from wIth my new paintings. I'm painting gateways. This series is titled Seven!

Artist Carl Gopal channelling the 1930s portraits by Amanda Brown 2011

2011 - The Assasination of Judy Garland

Artist Carl Gopal channelling American religious revivalists in portraits by Amanda Brown 2012

2014 Exploring American Religious Revivalists

The 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre ushered in a completely new paradigm of thinking. Not always for the best. As artists, some of us chose to stand against the tide, and as a result, found our expressions of truth didnt fit into the gallery circut - especially in Australia which remains a very conservative visual arts market. These years were systhesis of all my learnings across politics, art, literature, science and spiritualty combining in the unusual choice of using the life of Judy Garland as a political model.

 Carl Gopal portraits by Darren Clayton hanging wth street artists 2007 in Mt Lawley

2007 - We'll Always Have Paris!

Carl Gopal by Amanda Brown 2005 Perth

2006 - Sedition + Other Bedtime Stories

Artist Carl Gopal 1st solo exhibition 1991 Fremantle WA

1991 - Early Years

My galleries from 1991 to 2000 include text which document my journey from my art school days where I studies typography and design initially in the mid 1980s, to my time in the Northbridge arts community working at the Bridge Gallery until 2001. I consider 1987 my beginning as I began to exhibit in local exhibitions then and selling my work from small, experimental (wonderfully alive) spaces in Northbridge. I was never formally trained in the fine arts  it instead learned everything from my peers and through my practice.

Some of the exhibitions and articles from these years are available in the "In Print" page (see manin menu above); but being a pre-internet era and a young artist at the time, my documentation doesnt really kick in properly until the late 1990s. 

Portraits of Carl by Amanda Brown between 1991 and 2012


My full name is Carl Gopalkrishnan but people know me as 'Carl Gopal'.  I'm a UK-born Australian of dual nationality who grew up in Sweden before my family settled in Australia in 1974. My Indian and Chinese parents were from Singapore and Malaysia, so I have family and cultural ties to many different places.

My paintings are inspired by history, literature, poetry, mythology and current events. When I see mythology repeating itself online, in the news, in our choice of leaders, fashion and even new technology - I explore that in a painting.

My spirituality is non-traditional, so I have a belief system that involves symbolic communication between different realities. If a song, image, event or individual speaks to me, then I work intuitively with it.  I also believe in re-incarnation and have studied mythology and culture for many years.

Since 2017 I’ve been exploring how our personal phones have become our shared subconscious, which evolved from my painting “War Porn” in 2010 where the old blackberry became the notebook of soldiers composing videos of their experience.  I thought in a way, we are doing the same thing on the home front.

The internet is now a lot like the Great Library of Alexandria, and it is creating us at the same time we are creating it. A lot of philosophers are writing about this today, because we’re not processing the world peacefully in this Age.

As an independent artist, that means my main art practice isn’t government-funded. Instead, over decades I've developed my writing skills to work in policy in the community advocacy sector. I get to learn a lot about other people's lived experience and how the world is changing in ways I could never imagine back in 1987. This really helps me question what painting is, and what it means, at a time when most people are glued to reproductions on their phones. I'm quite interested in why we don’t look up from our phones. 

These days, we are swamped by other peoples lives so much that it has become our common global language. We are constantly re-authoring ourselves, the world, our relationships. For this reason I go back to history, and am working a lot from 2018 with the classics, and Greek Tragedy in particular.

I find it difficult to define my own work but if I was to try, I would say I'm most comfortable seeing my paintings as allegorical works.  People who read history seem to like my art and I've collaborated with literary journals and collaborated outside the Arts to evolve my work. In recent years I was seeking out the light in the shadows of modern conflict such as how our post 9/11 world affect our freedoms, America's cultural/political role in our imagination and now themes around algorithms and spirituality. At the core of everything is my faith in something beyond, which isn't captured by the word "religion".

I have had an odd and independent career, connecting with fascinating people through little articles and features in magazines and journals of poetry, politics, and culture while exhibiting in Australia and group projects in other countries. I also have a long standing day-job working in policy and advocacy in Australia. Despite many challenges, my art practice still vitalises me.

Stay Safe and Well (wear a mask possums)

Carl

Last updated August 2019 

 

Beyond 2020

During the pandemic I'm working on my next series of canvas paintings.  I won't be uploading new previews of paintings until this project is completed. Until then, you can contact me through my Facebook page if you would like to know more: https://www.facebook.com/carlgopalart/

 

  


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                   

  

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Reflections from others

"Carl's art is profoundly unique, using mixed methods and materials to create arresting images that captivate viewers. Dream-like in their presentation, and often focusing on representing the familiar in unfamiliar ways, his paintings capture moods through Carl's use of colour, symbolism, and light. I was very excited to be able to feature his 2011 painting 'There is Nothing Like a Drone' on the front cover of my recent book 'The Cultural Politics of Targeted Killing'. Feedback I have received about the cover has been excellent and the image has helped to distinguish the book from others. Carl's art work thus not only provided a memorable image that captured the essence of the book but it also contributed to giving it a distinctive identity. People continue to comment about the painting and ask me about its provenance. Such ongoing interest is a testament to Carl's talents as an artist".  (read post)
Dr Kyle Grayson24-12-2017, Senior Lecturer in International Politics at Newcastle University
"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." [Literal Latte Feature]
Tyler Gore,  20-11-2012, Creative Director, Literal Latte NYC
"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] 
Tikkun Daily, Laura Beckman,  18-06-11, Arts Writer, Tikkun Daily [Magazine], Berkley, CA, USA
"Carl Gopalkrishnan is an artist extraordinaire! His work is visually striking, his imagination informs his artwork - splendidly, and his artistry is reflective of his capacity to incorporate political themes into his visual renditions. He works in a timely manner, too - without in any way hampering the visual appeal and depth of artistry. I recommend Carl Gopalkrishnan highly". [more] 
The Hon Jocelynne A. Scutt,  26-012-17, Human Rights Lawyer/former High Court Judge/Academic, Filmaker and Barrister at English Bar, London. UK 26-012-17
"An amazing artist. Incisive and sensitive work. Hope to see more of your work Carl.".
John Hyde,  17-11-2017, UNODC and UNDP Pacific Anti-Corruption Specialist. International Media and Innovation Mentor for the UN, Chair of the Global Organisation of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC)
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All text and images on this website are Copyright © to Carl Gopalkrishnan 2019 unless referenced or credited to other creators