Monday, October 27, 2014

In Conversation: Anthony T O'Carroll


Small Studies No. 1 (2014), acrylic and mixed media on board, 35 x 30cm, Copyright courtesy of the artist.

Anthony T O'Carroll was born in 1979 in Sydney, NSW. He studied at St George College and the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales. His first solo exhibition was in 2001 and since then he has been in a number of group exhibitions across Australia. in 2010, he was the recipient of the Moya Dyring Studio Cité International des Arts, Paris (administrated by the Art Gallery of NSW). O'Carroll has been the finalist in numerous art prizes, including the Wynne Prize in 2010, and his works are included in many private, corporate and institutional collections.

We recently fired a number of questions at Anthony to gain a better insight into his artistic practice and the nature of abstract art in Australia.


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Small Studies No. 15 (2014), acrylic and mixed media on board, 35 x 30cm, Copyright courtesy of the artist.

Can you tell our readers a little about your background? Where you come from, how long you’ve been making art, etc? 
I grew up in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs, Coogee beach and had a childhood that was surrounded by sun and the beach. Painting and drawing has been a part of my life from childhood. I had my first group exhibition in 1991 when I was only 12 and was a finalist in the Sydney Morning Herald, 'On this Day Art Award'. 


Direction Now is, in many ways, a celebration of Abstraction in Art. In what ways do you see your work using abstraction? 
Abstraction, to me, is the pursuit of evoking a subject rather than rendering it. In my case the subject matter of my immediate surrounds of walls, sidewalks and surfaces that make up the urban landscape is what I aim to evoke. 


Small Studies No. 10 (2014), acrylic and mixed media on board, 35 x 30cm, Copyright courtesy of the artist.

What drew you to using abstraction? 
Abstraction, separate to a style or to an 'ism', has fundamentally been about the pursuit and discovery of finding a distinct visual language that is unique and highly individual. Using abstraction is a vehicle for me to express things that can not readily take form. It is personal. 


Where they see yourself positioned within the history of Abstraction? 
Following in the footsteps of such practitioners as Elwyn Lynn, Peter Clark, and Thomas Gleghorn, I would suggest that I would be a third generation matter painter. 


Can you tell us what your motivations are for choosing the particular materials you work with in your artistic practice? 
Materiality is key in my practice in the evocation of my subject, the urban environment. I tend to use a mixture of calcite and emulsion that forms the base of my works which I later physically manipulate and force cracks to appear. The usage of oil paint on top of the surface re-enforces the linkage to the subject via the application of a scrapper, like rendering a wall. I also tend to use acrylic paints and aerosol along with conventional pastels, oil sticks and graphite. Separate to this is the way how (process) these materials/medias are laid. I am forever experimenting and changing the properties of paint and how paint can be used in my practice. Currently I am immersing aerosol with acrylic paint via the use of fire and igniting the surface giving yet another impression of a blistered urban surface. 


Small Studies No. 14 (2014), acrylic and mixed media on board, 35 x 30cm, Copyright courtesy of the artist.



What is your favourite artwork in Direction Now and why (and it can’t be your own work)? 
Amanda Ryan's pieces, 'Geometric Compositions' for me are a joyfull celebration of geometric abstraction extended into textiles but yet are still very painterly. I enjoy this extension and the linkage to such iconic Australian painters such as Sydney Ball. 


What’s next for you? Do you have any big projects coming up?
Continuing to experiment and to find new methods of expression. 


If our readers want to find out more information about your work, where can they go? 
Please view; 
Like to keep informed on upcoming projects:


Small Studies No. 16 (2014), acrylic and mixed media on board, 35 x 30cm, Copyright courtesy of the artist.

1 comment:

Cameron Robertson said...

I've not seen this kind of media on the canvas before, not that I'd be able to make anything as nice, but if I were to tinker around with it, I'm just wondering what kind of medium it is and of course its proper care and storage.