Randell Henry creates large, colorful, paint collages incorporating Abstract Expressionism, Cubism, and the influence of Kente cloth of the West African Akan culture. He is an African American painter from Baton Rouge, Louisiana and has been a painting professor at Southern University there for over twenty years. His most recent interest is in doing miniature paintings as well as large paintings and exploring how they influence each other.
Henry received a Master of Fine Arts from Louisiana State University in 1982 and a Bachelor of Arts from Southern University in 1979. Since then he has exhibited at museums and galleries throughout the United States and in Ghana and Liberia, Africa. In 2010, he exhibited at the University of Liberia and the U.S. Embassy Residence of Ambassador Linda Greenfield-Thomas. He is currently included in The Visual Blues exhibit at LSU Museum of Art at the Shaw Center for the Arts.
AMY BRYAN: Do you consider yourself an Abstract Expressionist?
RANDELL HENRY: Abstract Expressionism, Cubism, and African designs and textiles are major influences. I call myself a Cubic Expressionist.
AB: Your work displays your intense interest in color. How are you influenced by color?
RH: I learned a lot about color theory from Jean Paul Hubbard. He would paint with students. He used Payne’s gray and other beautiful grays. I learned to mix colors by watching him. He had his students buy high quality Grumbacher paint.
I put colors together that are not supposed to go together. Through simultaneous contrast (the affect that colors being placed with other colors have on their overall appearance) everything works out. I just use the primary colors (red, blue, and yellow) and black and white to make all my other colors. I also got grounded as a kid looking at artists.
I also look at art from African culture, lines in fabric design, [West African, Akan] Kente cloth lines and patterns and East African artists’ fabric designs. I also look at Jackson Pollock. Lines have a lot of personal significance.
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