‘The devil is in the details’ for American artist Randy Shull

Show opens at La Cúpula in Merida…//

Text and photo by Robert Adams//


American artist Randy Shull’s current exhibition at La Cúpula Cultural Center in Merida is entitled “La Hamaca del Diablo” (“The Devil’s Hammock”).


Shull said in an interview that the title of the 33-work show, his first Mexican exhibition, derives from two sources.


First, in three of the works, Shull has physically placed a hammock on a wood-panel base and covered over it with numerous layers of bright, colorful paint.


The second derivation of the title is the saying, “The devil is in the details,” Shull recounted while leading a reporter on a private tour of the show.


“As a person who makes things, for me the details are the most important and difficult part,” said Shull, who in addition to painting, also designs furniture and restores homes. “Such as how the paint is applied, so I can pull viewers into the work.”


Shull, who has maintained a home in Merida for 12 years, also spends part of the year in Asheville, N.C., where he has lived since 1987. There, he designed the archives building for the defunct Black Mountain College, a tiny but groundbreaking institution that existed only from 1933-57.


Among the most well-known figures associated with Black Mountain College was the German artist Josef Albers. Shull said Albers, who visited Mexico more than a dozen times, has influenced his own work significantly.


Albers, best known as one of the founders of the Bauhaus school, has influenced Shull’s work in various ways, he observed. One of the most important is the simplicity of geometric shapes and colors in the German’s paintings, which is echoed in the American’s smaller paintings included in La Cúpula’s show.


Shull’s larger works, which fuse painting with furniture design, join a table, bench or other piece with a expansive painted canvas or wood panel. The bright, heavily textured paintings draw the viewer into the works, which then reveal more details on closer inspection.


As a homebuilder and restorer, Shull said he manages an average of two projects yearly. His own two homes in Asheville and Merida involved painstaking restorations of mid-1960s houses of Ranch- and Mid-Century Modern styles.


In Asheville, Shull founded an artists community named Pink Dog Creative, which involved converting a 20,000-square-foot warehouse into 25 artists studios. The building, brightly painted to reflect Shull’s love of Mexico, also features a well-known restaurant and a retail shop.


Shull’s show at La Cúpula’s main gallery continues through Jan. 12. It is open to the public during normal gallery hours and by appointment with gallery director Diana Castillo.


La Cúpula Cultural Center

Calle 54 #407B x Calles 41 y 43

Colonia Centro, Merida


999 256 0644


–Robert Adams

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