Through January 28, 2021, the Teer Gallery in our Georgine Clarke Building is bursting with the vivid colors of Lydia Randolph.
Randolph, a full-time artist residing in north Alabama, draws inspiration from her life—scenes from her frequent hikes, people in her life, and even store window displays. Most of the work in Day and Night is based on the forest that surrounds her home.
"I see both a tragic and stunning poetry in our mountains, creeks and canyons. It absorbs me to the exclusion of almost everything else. I paint what I see and when I can share that, when someone else can also see the beauty of a thing otherwise thought of as junk, or a cow, a dead tree, small creek—when I can communicate the magnificence of that, I feel like I've done my job as a poet and artist, a wandering fool left staring into the tide pools longer than is prudent or profitable."
Drawing inspiration from figures throughout art history, Randolph cites the Impressionists and Neo-Impressionists as influences on her work, but credits Piet Mondrian, a leading figure in the De Stijl movement, as directing her most recent work in which simplification is her goal. Although Lydia's work is extremely detailed, her goal is to simplify what she sees so "that other people can see it." Often, it seems to Lydia, people tend to see only the trees, or just the rocks, but never the entire forest.
"Mondrian was super interesting because he was so hated...That ultra simplification of form—amazing. You have form and function; to me, form is what he did, and function is you see a pretty picture of something you recognize. He put it in the garbage can...He simplified it to the point where it's just squares, so once I saw him do that I thought 'I'm gonna be brave; I'm gonna do that. I see those repeating shapes and patterns.'"
"The only way you can really see it is by making it so simple."
When discussing why she chooses to focus on nature, Lydia explains, "Nature seemed to hold the biggest potential to expose the whole illusion...It's just shapes and repeating patterns." By examining Lydia's work, one can surely see the repetition emerge. Lydia's simplification of these idyllic scenes exposes the triangles, squares, rectangles, and diamonds in the water of a creek bed. This beauty has certainly captured Lydia's eye, and, although these scenes seem extraordinarily peaceful, they are not without excitement.
"I liked the quiet of nature and the quiet beauty of it. It has drama, but not like people drama—quiet drama. It does scream 'Look at me! Look at me!' but not so loud."
Armed with a miniature sketchbook and a small tin of watercolors, Lydia quickly captures a study of a scene before returning to her studio. Then, she will make a quick sketch when she gets home to capture "what's interesting" about the scene. If it's a large work, she will do a more detailed drawing to capture the movement and composition before moving to her canvas.
In Day and Night, this exhibition features a few of a Lydia's process sketches alongside the finished pieces, giving the viewer an insight into her process. In the front gallery, is Day, where vivid colors take over the walls, imitating the warmth of sunlight. Round the corner though, and Night takes over. Fluid acrylic and black light paint on canvas illuminates under a black light.
Interested in purchasing a piece of Lydia's? Please contact us at 205-758-1257 or email email@example.com to purchase before January 27, 2021.
Each piece is shown twice; one with blacklight and one without blacklight.
Day and Night will on view in Kentuck's Teer Gallery until January 28, 2021 in the Georgine Clarke building. We encourage you to visit to see this work in person! We are currently open Monday-Friday, 9:30-5:30 and Saturday-Sunday, 12-4. Facial coverings required.