Randell Henry was born in New Orleans, LA in 1958. As young child he knew that he wanted to be an artist and spent much of his adolescent years studying modern artists from the United States and Europe. During his college years he became highly influenced by artists such as Hans Hoffman, Jackson Pollack, and other artists that apply abstract principles to their work.
Henry received his Bachelors of Fine Arts at Southern University in Baton Rouge in 1979 and his Master of Fine Arts degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge in 1982. He currently teaches art at Southern University in the Fine Arts department.
According to Mr. Henry, he considers himself a "cubic expressionist" which is a combination of Abstract Expressionism and Cubism plus the incorporation of West African cultural influences. His art is largely influenced by Picasso, Hans Hoffman, Jackson Pollack, and many other artists from that era. It wasn't until he began his Masters degree at Southern Universityy that he realized black artists of the expressionist genre existed. From there, he took influence from African American artists such as Jacob Lawrence and Romare Bearden. Henry is famous for using bright colors, collage, and working with large canvases rather than small; although, he has since started to paint smaller works to complement his larger works.
Among this Baton Rouge artists many accomplishments, he claims his proudest moment took place a little before his graduation from Southern University:
The summer before I got out of graduate school in December 1982, I went to look at galleries outside of Baton Rouge in the French Quarter of New Orleans one day. At first every gallery I went to said the work was good, but they wouldn’t show it. They were not looking for new artists. The last gallery I went to was Nahan Gallery on Royal Street. The person I talked to wanted to keep some of the work to show the owner. The next week the owner, Kenneth Nahan, called, and he wanted to see more work. He saw that I went to Southern University and was surprised at the high quality of work coming out of that university. He offered to show my work, and it was the first time he took work by an unknown artist. In 1982 I had a one-man show at that gallery. Seven works sold to collectors from other places. My show followed a Picasso show. After one day of looking for a gallery in New Orleans, I had a contract with the leading gallery. It was a great moment and the beginning of a great relationship with Nahan Gallery.-Randell Henry, interview with Amy Bryan of Artvoices Magazine.
To find out more information about Randell Henry's art check out the links in the Resources box to the right.
Image from the Southern University "Community News" page.