Randal Arvilla is a Costa Rican Australian painter and sculptor.
Arvilla studied Painting at the National Art School in Sydney, and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of San Francisco, California.
Working in oils and encaustics, and utilizing collage and found objects, Arvilla creates striking paintings and sculptures which explore his experiences of the world around him. Nuanced themes of cultural identity, memory, loss and place thread throughout his artworks.
Arvilla’s bold use of colour and decisive mark-making lends his works an expressive and atmospheric intensity. Each work is built-up with mark upon mark, layer upon layer, in a process of addition and subtraction, creating visual depth and physical texture. Arvilla sees his works as contemporary palimpsesto as vestiges of effaced layers remain to influence the overall finished work and map a history of mark-making.
Arvilla uses numerous diverse media in the creation of his works; often combining oils, oil sticks, graphite, encaustic and collage in different combinations.
Encaustic painting is central to Arvilla’s practice and he has become a leading proponent of the technique in Australia. Heated beeswax is combined with a natural binder and ground coloured pigments to create a glossy and translucent liquid palette. After encountering ancient Greco-Roman encaustic portrait paintings on sarcophagi in Egypt and Tunisia, Arvilla became fascinated with the luminous qualities of the medium and its almost sculptural applications for painting. Arvilla handles this ancient painting technique through a contemporary lens of colour and abstraction.
Arvilla moved to Sydney in 2008 and now calls both Australia and Costa Rica home; this dual identity and sense of place often recurs as a motif in his works.
Alongside his art, Arvilla has always held a passion for tourism, and he combines the two as a certified International Tour Director (ITMI) with a Certificate IV in Guiding, and shares his love of culture, art and history through tours across Australia and internationally.
Arvilla was awarded the St. Vincent’s Hospital and National Art School Painting Exhibition Award (2011) and was Runner-Up in the John Olsen Figure Drawing Prize (National Art School, 2011). Arvilla has been an exhibiting finalist in the Fleurieu Food and Wine Art Prize (2016), Chippendale New World Art Prize (2016), Fisher’s Ghost Award (2015), St. George Art Award (2014, 2012), and Waverley Art Prize (2012). Arvilla has exhibited in a number of curatorially selected group shows and has held two solo exhibitions: Point of Departure at Xavier Art Space (2012) and Encáustica Contemporánea at Gauge Gallery (2016). Arvilla’s next solo exhibition will be held at ARO Gallery in October 2018.
Photography by Monica Renaud