Chris Randolph | Tales of the Psyche
May 20 - June 18, 2023
Opening Reception: Saturday, May 20, 2023, 5 - 7 pm
Close to the End of the World
2022, 20 x 25.5, Acrylic & crayon on paper.
Traffic Stop (In Memoriam for Tyre Nichols), 2023, 20” x 25.5”, acrylic, marker, crayons on paper
Chris Randolph’s work is an unfolding narrative portraying internal characters and their lives, much as in dreams. Dreams and the unconscious are essential to Chris’s life and art. She believes in the power of the unconscious to restore order and bring balance to the psyche. When she draws, Chris’s goal is to enter the unconscious directly. She uses a variety of techniques to do this, such as closing her eyes or using her nondominant hand. In this series, Chris was inspired by DW Winnicott, a British psychoanalyst who used squiggles as a clinical tool to reach the root of children’s psychological dilemmas. Squiggling or doodling is a rich entry into the symbolic underworld of the psyche. All of these drawings were created in pencil through random scribbles. As forms and images emerge, the drawing evolves and takes shape.
Chris’s clinical training as an art therapist and her work with a wide range of psychiatric clients has deeply informed her art. She witnessed countless “untrained” artists create works of great emotional power and spirit. Observing their work without self-consciousness, Chris felt a sense of freedom and personal agency for herself. Often their artistic styles were very stimulating, and she found herself incorporating elements of their work into her own. These artists became Chris’s unexpected “muses,” and she credits them with inspiring and pushing her out of her comfort zone.
From a long-view perspective, these drawings represent her navigation of difficult times and inner struggles. Disparate worlds collide, humor and whimsy are an antidote to despair, and the absurd balances reality. Chris is a voyeur, peering into houses, hospitals, bars, backyards, probing into windows that hold mystery and secrets. Angst is everywhere and so is love. Between the pandemic, the loss of democracy here and abroad, the war in Ukraine and elsewhere, endless racism, new fascistic trends, environmental disasters, and personal internal conflicts, these drawings have given Chris focus, stability, and sometimes even joy or a laugh. They have provided a cathartic outlet for tumultuous and polarizing emotions and kept Chris sane in an insane world.