Meet the Others: Alexander Randall
The Game Changers. The Rule Breakers. The Innovators. Discover some of the fantastic emerging talent showcasing their work at The Other Art Fair.
The Other Art Fair London exhibitor Alexander Randall explores the boundaries between presence and transience in his mark-making. Read on to find out more about Alexander, his current practice and his previous training that taught him to deconstruct complexity down to its most essential.
Tell us about who you are and what you do. What is your background?
I grew up in South London with a natural passion for art; I have painted in one way or another since I could hold a paintbrush. I started working on commissions and selling pieces while a student at Cambridge, moving from oils to more experimental materials; now, I work primarily from my studio in Surrey.
If you could describe your work in 3 words, what would they be?
Texture. Movement. Light.
Can you walk us through your process? How do you know when an artwork finished?
To me, the most interesting aspect of creating art is the act of mark making, the trace of the human hand on a surface. All my pieces go through two stages. The first is about physicality: I use concrete as a primary medium because of its ability to generate powerful textures. I combine it with the appropriate mix of substrates and adhesives before working it onto canvas or aluminium panels. While I always know how and where I want my marks to be, I allow my hand the freedom to range across the surface, balancing spontaneity of motion with an awareness of formal balance. The piece must then cure over several days. At this point, initial physicality cedes to colour development, which is the most intensive part of the process. It requires layering of colour and a great deal of patience, often with long intervals away from the piece, allowing me to come back to it with fresh eyes. I know an artwork is finished when there is a balance of movement and colour, aligned with the originating impulse. The aim is to generate a sense of motion, capturing something transient – and hopefully, to create something uniquely modern.
Has being in isolation affected your artwork practice in any way?
Isolation over the past year has positively influenced my understanding of what I am trying to achieve with my work. Rather than focus on the external world, I have been forced to examine the inner drives that define my artistic practice, and as a result, I have a clearer sense now of what and why I create.
Of course, this comes at a cost. I have really missed exhibiting and the unique opportunity it affords to discuss art with viewers and other artists. While the textural nature of my work is somewhat lost on a screen, more importantly, art cannot exist in a vacuum. It should be seen and experienced and challenged alongside others, so I am very much missing setting up at The Other Art Fair and all the great conversations that come with it.
What is the best advice given to you as an artist?
The piece of advice that I have returned to again and again is to try to be in action rather than in motion. It is so easy to ruminate over any aspect of art, from the process of painting to tactical decisions about colour, placement, medium, etc. The excuses for thinking rather than doing are endless. But really you cannot know yourself and your process until you do it. You can’t think the path, you have to walk it. Doing something in the studio, even if it is a disappointment, is infinitely more meaningful in terms of understanding where you want to be than sitting in indecision, wondering what the next step ought to be.
Can you tell us something about you that people would be surprised to hear?
I have a PhD in Neuroscience.
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