Born in Edinburgh, Carol Rhodes spent her childhood in Bengal where her parents worked as Church of Scotland missionaries. She studied Fine Art at Glasgow School of Art (1977-1982) and for several years became deeply immersed in the politically active arts scene present in 1980s Glasgow. She was a founder member of the Glasgow Free University (with among others Alasdair Gray, Tom Leonard and James Kelman) and an early committee member of the artist-led co-operative gallery Transmission. Around 1990 she returned full time to her studio, developing her individual voice with small format oil paintings on board that increasingly depicted the not-quite-recognisable landscapes of contemporary edge-lands – airports; industrial estates; brownfield sites; motorway intersections. These works employed a flattened perspective and high viewpoint, in line with the aerial photography that became an important part of her source and study material.
Exhibiting regularly in London with Andrew Mummery from 1997, Carol gained increasing recognition. Solo surveys have been held at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in 2007/2008 and MAC, Belfast in 2017. An exhibition exploring the relationship between her drawings and paintings is forthcoming at Kelvingrove Museum, for Glasgow International, opening April 2020.
From 2012 Carol co-ran an independent curatorial space in Glasgow at 42 Carlton Place. Public collections include: Arts Council, England; Yale Center for British Art; Fleming-Wyfold Collection, London; Tate, London; and National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh.
“Carol Rhodes’s drawings were functional in two ways. She used them to work out the compositions of her paintings by combining elements taken from different photographic sources. Occasionally she would use just one image of an existing place, but more often several were combined and elements would change during a working process that was both intuitive and practical. When arrived at, the final composition was entirely re-imagined. The lines of the finished drawing were then traced onto the primed board for the
painting. Although they were always ‘working drawings’, she considered many to be works in their own right.”