Unquestionably beautiful and hypnotically complex, Carne Griffiths’ drawings are imbued with his love for the medium. Deploying an endless array of techniques he creates wild and expressive works containing worlds within which to loose oneself. Enviable draftsmanship, an illustrative instinct, a graphic eye and the raw energy of automatic process are joyfully allied to produce unusual and stunning portraits.
“there was something magical to me about the creation of a unique world on a page with simple materials and no boundaries.”
With his Origins series and works such as The Escape, Griffiths treats the physiognomy as topography tracing swirling ordnance survey contours lines across the paper to create the features of the subject. Thus mapping the history and heritage of a life through the lines on the face, tipping the hat to the unalterable effect of time.
The process begins with a sketch of the sitter, then using strata of ink, graphite, calligraphy ink, brandy, tea or vodka Griffiths works the image until it is a nearly unrecognisable version of itself. Varying techniques are then systemically applied, starting with what Griffiths describes as the 'chaos' comprising of weighty freeform automatic marks and scribbles. Then comes the 'detritus' of finely executed doodle like patterns suggestive of foliage, feathers or antennae like strands. 'Structure' come in the form of of ruthless fragmentation of features seen clearly in Refraction and Invisible Lines or graphic radiating lines suggestive of op art, radio waves and lazer beams exemplified in Summon.
Washes of colour are balanced unconventionally, yet the seemingly arbitrary drips, splodges and splashes deepen the perspective and bing a warm and full bodied completion to the compositions. With Fly Me To The Moon and The Void Griffiths takes advantage of the dark surface by drawing with a luminescent spectrum.
“The process involves spontaneity and I enjoy the volatile nature of the work - the fine balance between beauty and destruction.”
His twelve-year London-based career as an embroidery designer, producing elaborate hand drawn designs for prestigious clients, reveals itself in the fine detail and illustrative patterns within his images. His works translate particularly well to print where Griffiths has finally turned, what he refers to as, his own 'clumsy' hand to needlework. Seen at its most simple and striking in The Code or in Diffusion where the sharp lines of the threads contrast the voluptuous pre Raphaelite face of the girl.
Griffiths is an artist with a visible fervour unrestrained by conventionality. His free reigning pen causes the drawings to move, explode, leak and reach out from the core, loosing the distinction between human being or the object and the negative space in which they occupy. There is so much going on in each piece that it shouldn't work, but it does, spectacularly.
Born in Liverpool in 1973, Griffiths studied Illustration at Maidstone college of Art in 1992 and after graduating was made a fellow of the college in 1995 with contemporary Dan Baldwin, which lead to them later curating the ‘Shynola’ exhibition at Islington’s Candid Arts Gallery in 1996. Since establishing his own studio in 2010, Carne has exhibited in the UK at the London Original Print Fair at the Royal Academy, the London Art Fair in both 2011 and 2012, and overseas at Urban in Ibiza in 2011 and Arts After Dark, New Orleans in 2010. Carne also collaborated with the British photographer Rankin for a feature in the 2nd edition of Hunger Magazine early in 2012. He lives and works in London.