Ted Randler approaches painting using aspects of digital imaging combined with acrylic on canvas. Randler creates compositions of figures on ground with a contemporary perspective that also speaks to various genres of art history.
The Rock Beach Sketchbook, 14x11 inches - acrylic on canvas - 2021
It’s pretty easy to spot artists who’ve influenced my work because I’m pretty transparent about referring to their works in my painting. Edward Hopper is one my more recent inspirations.
Hopper’s subject matter was the somewhat existential isolation of humanity that modern life had created. Not really bleak or full of angst like a Edvard Munch scene. Nor do Hopper’s subjects revel in their aloneness in nature as in Wordsworth’s ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’. They are caught up in their internal dramas that we are privy to some, but not all, of the details and we are forced to make our own conclusions.
In my paintings, “King Of Hearts” and “Joey If You’re Hurting So Am I” I take a lot of Hopper’s elements (figures in postwar rooms, urban skylines compressed into slivers of windows, ambiguous narratives) and watch what the couples do.
King Of Hearts, 11x14 inches - acrylic on canvas - 2021
Joey If You're Hurting So Am I, 14x11 inches - acrylic on canvas - 2021
A single figure in a painting is a known entity, a portrait. The minute a second figure enters a scene there is drama. As Hopper does, I can only paint the details that I know, but I can’t to control how the images will resonate with the viewers.
I think painters who are successful are those who take a standard narrative and create their own world. Artists as auteurs—that their personal vision is more compelling than simply rendering a subject.
Henri Rousseau was very much was one such visionary. He based much of his imagery on the idea of jungles and exotic scenes more than the actual places. Yet somehow because of the poetry of his compositions the paintings work.
Last Night He Dreamt Of Rousseau In The Moonlight, 24x18 inches - acrylic on canvas - 2019
As an homage, in my painting, “He Dreamt of Rousseau in the Moonlight” I adapted his stylized flowers and birds. Where typically Rousseau would have a female nude reclining in some nocturnal abandon, I decided my dream would have a 19th-century male basking in the moonlight.
The scene, much like Rousseau’s work, makes no rational narrative except that it makes perfect sense in the painting’s magical moment.
Anytime you have a chance to paint the shimmer and glimmer of moonlight on skin and water you should by all means luxuriate in it.
Falling In Love Again, 30x24 inches - acrylic on canvas - 2020
I’m also fascinated with patterns either man-made like the wallpaper patterns of William Morris or those found in nature as in design of flowers. My whole process of painting is creating layers and layers of single brushstrokes that sometimes create patterns and at other intervals break patterns.
You can’t address decorative pattern in art history without encountering the beautiful and absurd 18th-century Rococo period. In my painting “Falling In Love Again” I’m getting flowers from the period’s wallpaper that includes butterflies and exotic birds.
It’s a pink, yellow and blue opera: over-the-top actors with flamboyant gestures made with arabesque brushstrokes. It’s that pivotal moment when you realize love has tumbled into your day, shattering the normal and when falling feels like flying.
Blue Sparks, 30x24 inches - acrylic on canvas - 2020
I love painting the human form yet I also admire artists who can take the specifics of a figure and render it in way that allows for more poetry than simple reportage. Maybe that’s why I love 19th century photos of circus performers, dancers, athletes and entertainers of where I find a lot of my subjects for my work. There’s a distance of time that turns the dial more towards figures than personalities. And a wonderful timelessness happens when I take their black and white images into contemporary colors.
I Want A Perfect Body I Want A Perfect Soul, 24x18 inches - acrylic on canvas - 2020
I like the ambiguity of images where you aren’t certain — like in my painting “I Want a Perfect Body, I Want a Perfect Soul” — if the figures are wrestling or dancing or something else entirely. To me, narrative painting is really best when it’s telling no story at all—the figures are trapped in between the states of something has just happened; something is about to happen; or something is happening.
The Soloist, 7x7 inches - acrylic on paper - 2021
Bear, 16x12 inches - acrylic on canvas - 2021
Arts by: TED RANDLER