Strong watercolor signed and dated by Randall Byron born in Tacoma, WA in 1918. A predominantly figurative artist, Randall experimented with abstraction in the 1940s, and again in the 1980s and 1990s. Throughout his career he produced still- life, portraits, nudes and landscapes, in oil, watercolor, gouache, pastel, and print. He also developed plaster sculpture, and three-dimensional collages on the theme of the sea (a recurrent interest). Randall's concern for social justice ran across his career. It was most explicit in art from the 30s through to the 50s, such as his 1947 'Diabolical Machines' print (held in numerous museums), his Spanish Civil War painting (at Hallie Ford Museum), and his prints of dispossessed Jews from the ghettos of Eastern Europe (at LA Museum of the Holocaust), created from firsthand observation. In the 1960s, Randall satirically explored what was for him the grotesque pageantry of US militarism, using a visual vocabulary of ghastly females, skulls and skeletons that drew upon the folk traditions of Mexican graphic art. As a contrast, he invoked the US's own iconic imagery of liberty and democracy, embodied in Abraham Lincoln, to whom Randall dedicated a series of oil paintings spanning two decades. Randall's art revels in the joyful, sensuous and whimsical aspects of everyday life. It celebrates both male and female nudity, and the hedonistic satisfactions of leisure: surfing, drinking, dancing, lounging, making music. From early on, Randall's love of tools featured in his work, animating his popular 'Philo' oil series of West Coast barns, plows and shovels. Tools and vessels often make their way into his still-life, as do nudes, who are often slyly incorporated into landscapes and still lifes. Randall saw in manual labor the affirmative potential of a non-industrialized life. This led him to unsentimental, international portraits, in paint and print, of working people, as hewers of coal and wood, house painters, diggers, laundry women, cooks, carpenters, farmhands, stevedores, sellers of bread, balloons, and chickens. The landscapes of rural Oregon, California, Hawaii, Canada, Mexico and Scotland stimulated Randall, as a watercolorist, to the use of intensely vivid colors and energetic brushstroke. Urban life also claimed his attention, from his early, gloomy cityscapes of New York, and on to 1950s scenes of Montreal and San Francisco. Randall was an expressionist whose art was strongly responsive to physical environment. Of his paintings he wrote: "the look of them might have been different if I'd grown up anywhere but in Oregon. Brilliant sunlight nursing the green valleys after a long rainy winter . . . there's a powerful bit of environment that would show in a man's work all his life. I've seen that creative communication has a vitality all its own. It's not a refuge from life, but an intensification. It's the practice of humanity. In painting I think the approach that best affirms life is expressionism, and that's why I became and am now an expressionist.
REFERENCE NUMBER: LU65439937472
PERIOD: Mid-20th Century
MEASUREMENTS: Height: 28" Width: 32" Depth: 1.50"
MATERIAL: Paper, Watercolor
CREATOR: Byron Randall (Painter)