Calvin Ross Carl’s work balances the humble realities of American life with the unrealistic ideals sold in design and advertising. His work adopts the optimistic visual language and mechanized mode of creation associated with these worlds. The inhumane aspects of design are counterbalanced with imagery and emotionally charged words acting as concrete poetics. His paintings and objects become ambiguous slogans, provocations, and disillusioned statements about one’s self and the surrounding world.

However, there is always some light in the dark. Closer inspection reveals personalized narratives and levity with the artist’s hand being overtly evident in the process. The final result makes room for comfort and introspection within the dualities of hope and fear, love and loss, and our futures and our pasts. This creates confusion between one’s blind optimism for an ideal future and one’s willingness to succumb to the idea where this may be as good as it gets.

Calvin Ross Carl is an artist, designer and former co-director of Carl & Sloan Contemporary in Portland, OR. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Intermedia in 2008 from Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA). He most recently was included in the Portland 2016 Biennial, curated by Michelle Grabner, Out of Sight 2016: A Survey of Contemporary Art in Seattle, WA, and a survey of Northwest abstract painters at The Marylhurst University Art Gym. Carl has exhibited at LVL3 Gallery (Chicago, IL), Cerritos College (Los Angeles, CA), Ditch Projects (Eugene, OR), Lawndale Art Center (Houston, TX), Platform Gallery (Seattle, WA), NEPO House (Seattle, WA), and Clark College Archer Gallery (Vancouver, WA). He has also exhibited in Portland, OR at Half/Dozen Gallery, Gallery Homeland, HQHQ, New American Art Union, Blackfish Gallery, and Tractor Gallery. Carl is represented by SEASON in Seattle, WA.

Photo by Chelsea Spear

Photo by Chelsea Spear